How fit should you be? How fit do you want to be?
When someone would ask me how fit I am or how fit they should be, I would usually just rattle off what training methods and eating habits work best and offer suggestions and support to put them in a position of success or steer them away from unproductive habits. Or I would direct them to my videos and articles to see what I practice, preach and teach to hopefully give them ideas and something of value to put to use to improve their quality of life.
While I consider the training advice I offered sound and of value, I really wasn’t answering their question of How Fit Should I Be? Instead, I was giving them ideas on how to train and eat which was useful, but was missing the point.
So here’s my new answer to How Fit Should I be?
Strive To Be Just Fit Enough
Now before you think this is some philosophical and new age nebulous answer – believe me, I put a lot of thought into this. I have found that everybody has a different definition of what being fit enough is. It all depends on your specific goals, your lifestyle, what you consider of value, your age/stage of life and how serious you are about self improvement.
I think people expect me to give out a specific universal score to determine an acceptable level of fitness as if it was like an SAT score to compare amongst the masses. Unfortunately total fitness isn’t measured like an aptitude test.
But Mark, Fit Enough To Do What?
I think everyone should come up with a list of what activities and benchmarks are important to them in order to answer How Fit Should I Be? I will share my list with you with what I deem important. Some of the items will resonate with you, while others may not. That’s fine since what you think is important may very well be different from the performance and mileage I expect my body to achieve throughout my stay on this planet. Offer some of your own suggestions as my list is not set in stone.
Strive To Be Fit Enough:
To perform your job or professional career admirably in a confident, strong, capable, and energetic manner projecting a can-do image earning the respect of your colleagues, employer, customers and employees.
To stay in the workforce with productive longevity realizing that career earnings are tied to most professionals’ health and fitness to a large degree.
To move in a strong and smooth manner in multiple planes of motion the way your body was designed to move. How well do you move?
To keep up with, carry and play with your kids and grandchildren without being relegated to the sidelines winded, ailing and left in the dust like some artifact.
To keep up with your pets – playing and moving along with them enhancing their quality of life as well as your own.
To have a body built for show and go. You don’t need to look like a fitness model, but look and feel like you can accomplish things with gusto.
To have a healthy mental outlook on situations and life. Nobody will ever convince me that being fit and healthy has no bearing on our mental well being.
To perform your daily tasks confidently and pain free without feeling like you are worn down holding the world on your shoulders all achy, stiff and creaky
To respond to and handle yourself in an emergency. Are you capable of helping your family or loved ones, friends and pets in an emergency besides having the ability to dial 911? Waiting for others to come to the rescue is fine, but also possess the physical ability to help yourself- it just may save your ass or the asses of those you care about.
To change a tire that goes flat in the middle of nowhere with nobody around to help. Can you even lift that tire out of the trunk?
To have self respect and a positive self image which has a large bearing on how you treat others.
To be able to run out of a building – often down flights of stairs during an emergency and having to navigate through blocked exits and confidently traverse other barriers. Get used to scenarios like this-the world including this country is very unstable and being physically vigilant can save your life and those around you.
To go on long hikes over varied terrain enjoying the outdoors with family, friends and loved ones
To just feel good from head to toe pushing life draining stress and tension out of your body through sound and productive fitness practices
To be a good example to those in your sphere of influence as to the merits of a fit and healthy lifestyle – especially your kids and the next generation
To not look like a frail victim or easy mark when walking through unfamiliar and unattended areas or rough parts of the city. Predators pick up on weakness, poor posture, movement limitations and lack of confidence easily and will single you out if you are perceived as a pushover.
To carry your groceries and packages with good posture and confident strength. If you use your shopping cart like a crutch leaning most of your weight hunched over top of it for support or can’t carry at least a 15lb bag out to your car without difficulty – then your fitness needs serious upgrading. Go to any supermarket and watch the masses shuffling and lurching around – I am saddened every time I witness the movement patterns of the general public.
To get to safety in a natural disaster like a flood, fire, earthquake, storms, etc. Do you have the stamina and strength to help other family, friends and fellow citizens when these events occur? Will you be able to chase down and help a panicked pet?
To dig yourself out of a snow storm without keeling over due to lack of conditioning. Snow blowers and plows are fine, but don’t always count on someone or machines to dig you out.
To move with full ranges of motion in a strong, pain free manner while performing daily activities
To swim through, wade or in some way navigate through water if the situation calls for it.
To carry and move most objects in your home around without being hunched over like a question mark for days afterward and popping Advil like M&M’s for relief.
To do some yard work, gardening and landscaping around your home without putting yourself in traction for a few days.
To wield an axe and chop some wood, but not seize up like the rusty Tin Woodsman
To do spur of the moment and spontaneous activities knowing you are physically capable to instantly participate and travel without worrying about any fitness limitations that would impact the quality and enjoyment of these adventures.
To not be a slave to being resigned to having to take a ton of prescription medications for ailments caused by letting your fitness and health lapse.
To get up and down from the floor by yourself without a monumental effort. Can you even get up and down from the ground while playing with your children and pets? If not, or if you have difficulty, this should tell you something about your fitness.
To come close to realizing your ideal body composition. Everybody doesn’t need to whittle themselves down to 5% body fat, but strive to get a majority of that excess fat off your frame to increase your chances of healthy longevity.
To make your body more durable and less injury prone by possessing the requisite strength, conditioning and mobility to be able to withstand what life throws at you and react in ways that will keep you out of harms way.
To age graceful and powerfully to lead an active life of vitality and robust longevity
That’s my list of what being” fit enough” means to me. I meet or exceed all the items on this list and I’m sure I will think of others, but this works for me so far. Give some thought as to what being fit means to you and share your examples.
How do you achieve just fit enough status?
Believe me, it’s not rocket science – you just need to be armed with the right information and methods to position yourself for success. Incorporate proven tried and true exercises rooted in essential movements designed to accelerate you to your fitness goals.
Make sure that you practice eating habits that are clean, sane and sustainable for maximum benefit.
So decide what is fit enough for you and especially put some thought into
how you are going to achieve getting there. I would suggest doing this
in a safe, sound, and sustainable manner, but remember all actions have
consequences so choose wisely and don’t rush to failure jumping into
flashy, unproductive fitness programs or gimmicks.
I want to be fit enough to lead a life of active vitality and longevity capable of performing my professional tasks and leisure activities in a highly capable and robust manner. I want to have the physical ability to take action in an emergency situation not just for myself but for others. Finally, I just want to feel good physically and mentally ( I’m convinced these go hand in hand.)
I sincerely believe it is our civic duty to be fit and capable – setting an example for our kids and the next generation while striving to be productive members of our community.
I want to get the most active enjoyment from my body as I can get out of it before I have to turn it in to that great landlord in the sky who I am just renting it from. I plan on getting my security deposit back on mine – How about you?
There you have it, now make a plan , take action and be consistent in your efforts and get yourself Just Fit Enough!
Stay Well! Train and Eat Smart! Get Rid of the Drains and Pains in Your Life! Value your loved ones and friends and get out and have some active, safe fun!
Your pal along for the journey,
I Eat T-Bone Steaks, Lift Sandbag and Kettlebell Weights and Enjoy Being Fit Enough!
“There’s a Sparkle in my Eyes and Iron in my Thighs!”
Seven Stars Fitness