There’s a lot of misconceptions in the fitness industry.
We all have a friend who is a coach potato who doesn’t get any exercise, drinks a six pack a day, eats junk, etc. That’s not okay. But it doesn’t make him unfit.
Let’s use a example of a CEO of a big company. He smokes, never exercises and has chronically high stress as a result of his job. Sounds pretty unfit right? Well yes & no… You can’t really say. So let’s go a little further, he is also really good at his job and guides the company effectively with no issues in spite of his high stress level and lousy life style.
I would say that he is fit. You see, fitness is the ability to do a task. Our CEO is fit for the task of running his company. Maybe more fit than another CEO who exercises everyday, doesn’t smoke or drink, and eats healthy.
Fitness is relative. Nobody is more fit to run 100 meters than Usain Bolt. Nobody is more fit to swim 100 meter butterfly than Michael Phelps. The better your body is at carrying out your chosen task the more fit you are. If a major league pitcher can run a sub 3:00:00 marathon is he more fit than another pitcher who can’t finish the marathon? You see my point, MLB pitchers’ salaries are not dependent on how fast they can run 42km so who cares?
When it comes to fitness you need to manage compromises. You cannot be good at everything nor do you need to be good at everything. I believe that’s what many fitness professionals do not understand. If you’re training a power lifting and making them run 800 meter repeats you might be wasting their time… I spoke last week about wasted training capacity. This goes back to that concept. To achieve your fitness goals you need to decide what it is that you want to be fit for and train for that.
An important note here is that I am not saying it’s okay to drink and smoke and eat garbage if you are in a job where it won’t affect your performance. I think everyone should be healthy. Healthy means you eat well, you’re not diseased or ill, you aren’t injured, not overweight, et cetera; every part of your body is functioning the way it should. All that said, the coach potato I mentioned in the beginning is probably fairly fit to watch television all day. It goes without saying that he should probably work on this health. Maybe taking about a recreational sport that he can strive to be fit for would also help him become healthier?
My reason for going through this concept is this: most trainers try to do too much. Look at crossfit, in the crossfit games they crown the “Fittest Man on Earth”. Rich Froning certainly is the most fit to do crossfit. But I don’t think he is fit to compete in weightlifting or sprinting in the olympics. And that’s okay. If you aren’t training for crossfit you don’t need to be good at all the same things that Rich Froning is good at. Don’t do too much. More isn’t better, it’s just more.
If you want to be good at something, practise to be good at it. You also need to manage compromises. Most athletes don’t need to be super great at standing on a balance board or bosu ball to succeed at their sport so it might be time to eliminate that from your program. The more specific your training the more specific the results; cut our everything that doesn’t need to be there.