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Thread: How do you define fitness? page 2

  1. #11
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    Primal Fuel
    Fitness is a measure of adaptation to environment.

    Think about the word... "fit", like a key fits in a lock, like a nut fits a bolt. Fit makes no sense unless you have something to fit to. In the case of animals, what we fit to is our environment. If you are able to thrive in your chosen environment, you fit that environment, and you are fit. If you struggle, if you can't get by, you don't fit and are unfit. It is subjective in that environments differ and can overlap (so my fitness may not be the same as my neighbor's, even though we live in the same city), but objective in that it can be quantified using standard measures of success for a particular environment.

    E.g. I am quite fit for my predominant environment, as measured by the fact that my income is decently north of median. Of course, my predominant environment does not place high demands on a body, physically. As long as I can sit in a chair and use my eyes/fingers/brain and especially mouth I'm good. Lose those and my fitness would fall dramatically.

    If, on the other hand, my success (at least from a self-evaluated perspective) included periodic marathon runs, well, my fitness by that measure sucks because I can't run marathons and never will.

    There are no one-size-fits-all fitness standards. The US Army may have a standard. An NFL team may have a standard. An office job in Reseda may have another standard. Those standards can be mutually exclusive even, but they are all valid measures of fitness.

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    I thought about it once while riding a jeep in Death Valley National Park with my parents. The jeep had a mechanical failure. I realized that I could leave the jeep behind and walk however long it took to get to civilization (it was winter thank goodness) but they could not. To me, that is fitness.

    People sometimes respond to the question with "fit for what?" Well, I'm fit for not being dependent on an automobile to save my ass in the desert, but maybe less fit for sprinting and squatting 110 pounds on my back.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    I can squat 180lbs, press 72.5lbs and deadlift 185lbs

  3. #13
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    I will settle for my blood pressure in the normal range, unmedicated.

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    As I suspected, being fit means differnt things to different people. Which, I find, is strange as it's used as something definable that we are all supposed to understand, as 'I'm gonna join a gym and get fit'. Maybe just joining a gym makes you fit

    I totally agree with Him and Philosopher Dan that that 'Fitness' really means fit for purpose, in the UK we use Fit in the same sort of way you use cute in the US, though I get the feeling it a bit more base, meaning for shaggable than good-looking We are a crude people in the working classes

    For this though I really want to stick to physical fitness in terms of moving your body and other masses through space and time.
    You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

  5. #15
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    mark put up a great post a while back with some definitions/numbers to go by:

    Physical Fitness Standards | Mark's Daily Apple

    he also points to a couple of references about saving your own life. completing most of these use to be a goal for me; now they're just a decent workout...so i guess i'll always have my own moving definition of fitness.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by EagleRiverDee View Post
    Fitness is multi-faceted to me.

    I'm a 39 year old woman, FWIW.

    I want to have functional strength. I want to be able to carry my own groceries, push a car that's stuck, shovel the driveway, carry the vacuum up and down the stairs, etc. I can do all these things right now, but I want to be able to do them until I'm 80 and beyond. I have seeing elderly people that get so weak they can't do the most basic things. I don't want to have that happen to me.

    I want bone mass. Lifting weights and impact exercise both build bone mass. As a woman, and with my family genetics, I am prone to osteoporosis. Again, I don't want that. So I make sure to do strength training (heavy weights, low reps) and impact exercises (jumping, jogging) to try and build bone mass.

    I want energy. This is where my weight comes in. Clearly I am overweight now, although I've lost 47 lbs. But I'm still carrying an extra 50 or so pounds. That uses a lot of energy, not to mention stresses my joints. I want to lose that weight so that I can use my energy to move a much lighter body much further! I love hiking. I love backpacking. I love kayaking. I want to be able to do these things longer.

    My primary winter activity in Alaska is back country snowmobiling. We call it sledding up here. Anyway, sledding in the back country has us square in avalanche terrain. My biggest fear is that if I witness an avalanche that my own poor fitness will prevent me from being able to adequately help. I am avalanche trained, and I'm very fast at finding burials (using an avalanche beacon and probe). But getting to the location and then digging is very intense, very hard work. I don't want someone to die because I was in too poor a shape to get to their burial site quickly enough, or to dig fast enough.
    Quote Originally Posted by Neckhammer View Post
    Fitness is....

    For me its transformed from athleticism to something that enhances my daily life and longevity. I use to do whatever it took to be the strongest, fastest...ect. that I could be. After a lifetime of escalating injuries (I'm now mid thirties) I began redefining what I do in terms of risk/reward. I'm no longer interested in risky behavior or exercise to make incremental gains. I go for the biggest bang for the buck and then just kick back and enjoy life.

    As to my own fitness level, well I developed a great deal of strength early in life....so I'm still kinda riding that out. All that hard work doesn't just disappear . I ran a 5k in under 25 minutes without training for it. Play basketball and jump on the trampoline with the kids after a full days work. Yeah, I feel fit for life.
    I think you both make the same point but from coming from it from different ends of the fitness spectrum, one getting fit and one maintaing fitness after being (IIRC) a professional athlete. put most suciently as 'enhances my daily life...' I think that is very true.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha the Cat View Post
    I have two benchmarks for what I consider "acceptably fit" to be for me.

    1) Being able to go about my ordinary life activities without getting winded. To include climbing multiple flights of stairs, hauling heavy grocery bags home from the store on foot and wrestling suitcases into and out of overhead bins.

    2) Being able to have INSANE amounts of fun without my body getting in the way (getting winded is completely acceptable). I should be able to jump into a 5k, a climbing gym, a trampoline play-scape, a hike or a bike ride without thinking twice and without my body telling me, "No, you can't do this, you need to stop." Doesn't mean I have to be GOOD at any of those things, just that I can have fun playing around with them at any given time!


    I think point 2 nails it for me without putting any specific targets on it, and I definitatly feel that I am not as able as I would like to be, but that could be as I want to be able to do mad stuff like parkour and mov-nat.
    You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by primalrob View Post
    mark put up a great post a while back with some definitions/numbers to go by:

    Physical Fitness Standards | Mark's Daily Apple

    he also points to a couple of references about saving your own life. completing most of these use to be a goal for me; now they're just a decent workout...so i guess i'll always have my own moving definition of fitness.
    That will keep me quite for an hour or two
    You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

  8. #18
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    So before I read mark's post, I suppose I should put some of my thoughts down before I change my mind.

    When I look back 12 months when I started primal I am a hell of a lot more fit than I was. I could barely dead hang and can now do 7 pull-ups, if I tried to do a dip I would feel like my sholders were going to break, can do 10 now. Considering I
    weigh over 200lbs I recon that makes me stronger than most people and able to lift most things I would need to.

    I used to take the car to the local shop far to often, it was a 10 min walk, now it's a 5 min walk and I never take the car even if it is throwing down and blowing a gale.

    I was out of breath and sweaty walking more than 10 mins, now I reckon I could hike all day if I needed to, probably without food like primal rob if nessisity dictated, though I think that's more down to being 'fat adapted' than being fit. I can certainly walk fast on trails for 6 miles without feeling like it's a workout, with a 14 month old baby strapped to me who weighs at least 16lbs, probably nearer 20.

    I can even run now, though not as far as I could due to an injury, I can cycle on as far as need to at a moderate pace, 30 miles on roads wouldn't phase me, and I reckon in a full day I could cover 100 if push came to shove.

    So I feel like I am moderatly fit.

    I would like to master my body weight more, and be able to do more gymnastic stuff like vaulting over things and muscle ups, I guess for most poeople it an long journy with ever changing and evolving goals

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tribal Rob View Post
    So before I read mark's post, I suppose I should put some of my thoughts down before I change my mind.

    When I look back 12 months when I started primal I am a hell of a lot more fit than I was. I could barely dead hang and can now do 7 pull-ups, if I tried to do a dip I would feel like my sholders were going to break, can do 10 now. Considering I
    weigh over 200lbs I recon that makes me stronger than most people and able to lift most things I would need to.

    I used to take the car to the local shop far to often, it was a 10 min walk, now it's a 5 min walk and I never take the car even if it is throwing down and blowing a gale.

    I was out of breath and sweaty walking more than 10 mins, now I reckon I could hike all day if I needed to, probably without food like primal rob if nessisity dictated, though I think that's more down to being 'fat adapted' than being fit. I can certainly walk fast on trails for 6 miles without feeling like it's a workout, with a 14 month old baby strapped to me who weighs at least 16lbs, probably nearer 20.

    I can even run now, though not as far as I could due to an injury, I can cycle on as far as need to at a moderate pace, 30 miles on roads wouldn't phase me, and I reckon in a full day I could cover 100 if push came to shove.

    So I feel like I am moderatly fit.

    I would like to master my body weight more, and be able to do more gymnastic stuff like vaulting over things and muscle ups, I guess for most poeople it an long journy with ever changing and evolving goals
    that's a hell of a progression for one year. call yourself physically fit. but, keep setting new goals.

  10. #20
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    At this point in my life, I'm really concentrating on flexibility. I injured myself last year and can no longer touch my nose with my toes (just one benchmark I use).

    All around fitness to me includes being alert enough and fit enough to jump out of the way of an oncoming car or other danger. Being able to go about my every day life without my body hindering my efforts. I've always been a fan of weights, so lifting stuff (I believe) helps just about everything (cardio, strength, flexibility). It also includes being calm enough to deal with both everyday small stresses and the (hopefully not too often) big stresses life sometimes hands out.

    So, for me, fitness has both a physical and for lack of a better word, spiritual component. If I look good on the outside, but I'm an emotional wreck then even though I may be able to climb mountains, I may not be able to enjoy it, and that would be sad and unfit.
    "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

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    Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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