What does fitness actually mean?
Why do people make fitness so damn complicated?
What’s the best way to get fit?
Fit for what exactly?
I sat down with Ambition Athletics Head Coach Anders Rubini to discuss fitness from a big-picture perspective.
We talked about fitness myths, what attributes we consider most valuable for fitness, and how to best achieve them.
A useful way to think about training is to blend the magic of Music and Accounting.
Music is about joy, relaxation, flow, creative expression, and deliberate practice (and more).
Accounting is about record keeping and accountability. Measure the effect, and revise the plan.
If you take the best from each, you’ll land somewhere near optimal process and progress.
With both music and accounting, having a coach or expert to help guide the way can be a priceless advantage.
Or lead you toward a path of misery… it’s very important to choose your mentors and role models wisely.
People base their fitness strategy on the most popular myths from their favorite “expert.”
The most popular myths are those that best grab attention (flashy).
Unfortunately the most popular methods are the worst possible choice for the average person looking to look, feel, and perform well.
People frequently sacrifice health, athleticism, and even happiness in the pursuit of a few highly specialized movements.
They think “IF I _____ then people will love me/give me attention/respect me/fear me, etc.”
You can replace that blank with “get six pack abs,” “do a handstand,” or “bench press 225.”
Of course, none of these are critical for health and athleticism.
Health is about the quality of your life.
Lifespan is how many years you are alive.
Healthspan is how many good years you live.
Healthspan is what I am after–and what I recommend to my students.
The freedom to try new things, the ability to move without fear and engage with your environment effortlessly.
Beyond that, there is another level that Bruce Lee talked about in Enter The Dragon.
The level beyond fast or strong into a place where your movement takes on emotional content.
Though I never met the man in person, he remains one of my biggest mentors and influences.
If one blindly follows the popular exercise myths, there’s little chance of finding that flow.
Stay aware of the big picture so that you do not sacrifice your health and fitness for meaningless measurements perpetuated by an “expert.”
There is actually a term for this: Goodhart’s Law: “When the measure becomes a target, it is no longer a good measure.”
What is Fitness?
The literal definition of Fitness is: able to procreate.
But that doesn’t really describe any athletic movement capacity.
Another definition according to US Health and Human Services describes fitness as 4 specific qualities:
These are certainly valuable attributes to cultivate with your practice–and a great starting point.
I would argue that mobility (ability to create torque in a range of motion) is more valuable than flexibility (simple range of motion).
But in reality, human health services may not even know the difference between flexibility and mobility. Most likely they do not make a distinction between the two.
It’s important to always come back to the question “Fit for what?”
My answer is: “As much as possible.”
Logically, you want to be able to enjoy opportunities and handle emergencies with ease.
Remember that your body will always adapt to whatever you do (or don’t do) with it.
“If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
I believe that athleticism is the closest thing you can get to the fountain of youth.
Being athletic puts a spring in your step and gives you the courage to engage in any physical activity without fear.
This is the mentality that led me to develop Ultimate Athleticism, and evolved into Primal Athleticism.
In closing, I want to share what I consider to be the most critical elements to fitness:
There’s nothing you MUST do, but there are many ways to live better.
Daily movement not only improves your physical health but also your mental health–in more ways than we can measure.
Be careful who you emulate, and what you measure.
PS: I just launched my newest program “Elasticity.” This program helps you develop what I consider to be the ultimate attribute for lifelong health and athleticism. Get it here before the launch discount ends.