Relative fitness

Relative – “Considered in relation or in proportion to something else.”

Many of us set out on our fitness journey for all the right reasons. However, not many of us consider whether the direction we take is relevant to our needs.

1. How much fitness?

How fit do you need to be? Understanding your fitness requirements is important. Many people would respond with something along the lines of “As fit as you can be” or “As fit as possible”. Whilst this is not wrong, it is also quite vague and may not be relative to you.

The first problem is what we perceive fitness as being. So for the purpose of this post and to give a baseline to work from we can consider fitness to be:

Competency in the ten recognized general physical skills. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. You are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills. – http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ-trial.pdf

Therefore, if you are trying to be the fittest person in the world then being as fit as humanly possible is the end goal. You’re trying to be fitter than any other human on the planet, so by definition you need to be as fit as physically possible. You would need to be as competent as humanly possible for the above general physical skills.

This is great and whoever it is that manages to attain that level of fitness deserves everything they get from it. However, aside from the small group of people who have the physical capacity to achieve this. Is it really relative to you?

Fitness is relative to the individual
Fitness is relative to the individual

2. Why pursue fitness?

To answer the above you would need to ask yourself this question;

  • Why are you trying to improve your fitness?

If the answer is to become the fittest person on the planet then fair enough, try to be as fit as possible. However, if that isn’t the answer, if the answer is more like;

  • To have a better quality of life
  • Lose some weight
  • Feel better in yourself
  • Improve performance in your sport
  • Be active with your kids

Or, anything else along those lines, being as fit as possible isn’t really relative. You need to be competent enough in the ten areas of fitness to meet YOUR why.

3. When is fitness good enough?

In general, being as fit as possible will allow you to do whatever you want but isn’t really realistic. Is it really a goal that you can relate to, measure and proportionate to the rest of your life?

Those that do need to be as fit as possible have an end point, to win a competition or make the Games. Therefore, they dedicate their life to achieving this, it becomes their job, their sole focus and all they do. As a result everything they do in their life relates to how fit they need to be and is always in proportion to being as fit as possible.

For the rest of us this is just not practical. We are not in the position to dedicate all we do to being as fit as possible. We have jobs, families, commitments and other responsibilities. This means that if we answer “How fit do I need to be?” with “as fit as possible” it is disproportionate to the rest of our life and it is non-relatable therefore it is not relative. Understanding why we are getting fitter is important to knowing how fit we need to be.

Our fitness is good enough when it allows us to hit our reasons for getting fit in the first place.

4. What does this mean for our fitness?

So, all of the above is brilliant but what does it mean and how does it influence our fitness?

Well, if how you’re improving your fitness is not relative to why, then the likelihood is that you will find it much more difficult. Motivation will suffer. If I asked you to learn how to drive a car and to do so made you ride a bike, you wouldn’t do it because it’s irrelevant to the end goal. It in no way is relatable to what you are trying to achieve. Likewise, if I ask you to complete there hours of training a day, but your goal is to be more active with your kids, you wouldn’t do it. It is not in proportion to what you are trying to achieve. It’s not relative to the end goal.

Goals evolve but stay relative
Goals will evolve. Just make sure they stay relative and proportionate

Therefore, what you do needs to be relative to your end goal.

  1. To understand how fit you need to be…
  2. You need to understand why you are trying to get fitter…
  3. From here you need to make sure what you do to achieve this is relative and proportionate to the end goal.

Therefore, if over time this goal evolves over time then that’s fine. Go back through the above and change what you do. However, make sure that it stays relative and proportionate to the new goal. By doing this you will find it far easier to see the relevance of what you are doing and stick to it.

In summary, it will create a balance that fits your life and what you do. Who knows, one day you may end up needing to be as fit as humanly possible.

Comment below with your thoughts and approach to achieve your goals…

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