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By Columnist Michael Meredith – Athletic Coach:

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We all have varying levels of fitness. Plus, fitness has varying meanings to different people.

Working in the health and fitness industry, I hear the question, “What is Fitness?” asked often. But, many people struggle to define fitness.

Aerobic Capacity and Fitness

The most common association with the word fitness is that of an aerobic capacity. An athlete with greater aerobic capacity seems to have a higher level of fitness than anyone else. But is this necessarily true? The term FITNESS can defined by more than just the efficiency of an athlete’s aerobic endurance. The dictionary defines fitness as the state of or condition of being fit through exercise and proper nutrition. While this is true, it does not clarify FITNESS itself.

Crossfit’s Definition of Fitness

Crossfit defines FITNESS with ten essential elements of recognised general physical skills from which the focus of an athlete is competency in each. These are as follows:

  1. Cardiovascular / respiratory endurance – The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
  2. Stamina– The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilise energy.
  3. Strength– The ability of a muscular unit, or a combination of muscular units, to apply force.
  4. Flexibility– The ability to maximise the range of motion at a given joint.
  5. Power– The ability of a muscular unit, or a combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
  6. Speed– The ability to minimise the time cycle of a repeated movement.
  7. Coordination– The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
  8. Agility– The ability to minimise transition time from one movement pattern to another.
  9. Balance– The ability to control the placement of the body’s centre of gravity about its support base.
  10. Accuracy– The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.

The Complexity of Fitness

Fitness is a highly complex term to solely define because for most athletes training specificity in their given sport is the most crucial element as to be the best. Your training must be extremely disciplined and specific. For example, a marathon runner doesn’t need to focus on power when their sport does not require such skills to be the best.

For the everyday individual, though, an emphasis on these ten areas will allow you to increase your fitness. A varied training regime allows you to cover many of the ten defined skills. Plus, it will help to keep you focused on the enjoyment of your lifestyle.

Many of these elements cross over, and a well-rounded athlete should have a competency in all areas. I firmly believe that for the everyday individual, FITNESS can be defined by balancing your lifestyle and focusing on developing skills in all ten elements of FITNESS. Overall, balance your training program around both aerobic and anaerobic capacity.

Thus, defining FITNESS is about improving areas of weakness. In an industry saturated by high expectations, training for everyday athletes should be ability focused. Benchmarking your capability and focusing on consistent training and improvement with continual re-assessment is an ideal approach to improving your fitness.

Micheal Meredith’s Definition of Fitness

FITNESS, for me as a coach, is about improving overall capacity and competency over a broad spectrum of abilities. I don’t like to define one individual to be FITTER than another.

When determining FITNESS by focusing on a balance of the KEY PHYSICAL SKILLS already stated, you improve your competency in each area. However, it’s also important that you don’t compare your ability to some else, but rather that you focus on your continual improvement.

Train smarter, not harder, for better results.

About Our Athletic News and Review Columnist – Michael Meredith

Michael Meredith

Michael Meredith, Master Personal Trainer, Elite Obstacle Racer, Former Sydney A-grade rugby league player, Runner, and all-round health enthusiast, is the Founder of Aussie Athletes Health and Performance. As a coach, Michael’s philosophy is to focus on health and performance. His 12-week training programs for men and women, include strength and fitness, OCR (or obstacle course racing) and recreational running. Micheal aims to narrow the gap between strength training and aerobic endurance so that his clients’ can balance the two effectively to create the fittest, healthiest version of themselves.

“After more than 5-years as a Personal Trainer, I have helped celebrities, recreational athletes make it all the way to an élite level of fitness. In addition, I have annually sponsored two ‘everyday athletes’ as a mentor. This give one male and one female the opportunity to take on certain events throughout the year under the guidance of the #teamaussieathletes community.”

“My major focus as a trainer is to complete an exercise science degree and turn my Aussie Athletes business into a community based-group that operates out of its own head-quarters. Aussie Athletes Health and Performance is now operated via two of Australia’s premier Fitness First Platinum Clubs in Sydney Australia, these being in Park Street Platinum and Bondi Platinum.

Disclaimer: The author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion form the basis of this column. This information and opinion are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.

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7 thoughts on “WHAT IS FITNESS?”

  1. I never thought of fitness like this. In fact, by defining what fitness actually is, I think that I now view it differently. Does that make sense?

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