Decoding fitness: what does it mean to you?
When fitness seekers come knocking on my door, the conversation typically kicks off with a “why?” The response almost always dances around a single word: “fit”. But, hold up a minute. When we say “fit”, what do we really mean?
The term fitness can be traced back to an old Nordic word meaning “to knit” – a beautiful metaphor for a life interconnected between body, mind, soul, and spirit. In a modern context, it’s been reduced to “the ability to perform a task”. But which task?
That’s where the misunderstanding starts.
The “task” that we associate with fitness varies greatly. For some, it could be managing a full day at a desk, diving into video games, immersing in television shows, or savouring a leisurely stroll. This lifestyle might be just enough to qualify as being “liveability fit” — sustaining a basic level of fitness to meet the demands of daily life.
For some, the term “fit” paints a picture of a life unhindered. Maybe the ability to pursue their favourite physical pastimes or hobbies passionately, without compromise, and with the hope of continuing these cherished activities throughout their lives for as long as possible.
However, it’s worth pondering: is “liveability fit” truly sufficient? While this may not prioritise the broader spectrum of health and longevity, it’s a choice unique to each person. But I invite you to reflect: is your current level of fitness truly aligning with your personal goals and the life you aspire to live?
To me, a fit person is someone who balances work, family, friends, hobbies, nutrition, and maintains a healthy body weight. They are fit for a fulfilling life.
Let me clarify, before we start idolising the gruelling fitness bootcamps or treating the latest fad diet as our nutrition gospel, let’s hit the pause button. Remember, a six pack that forbids you from savouring an impromptu hamburger might be more of a fitness prison than a fitness goal. After all, isn’t the point of fitness to enhance our lives rather than clip our wings?
Fitness can be less about glory and more about life’s practicalities. Shooting hoops with your kids or carrying a couch upstairs can become a different ball game.
I coach people to be better in these moments.
Prime40 is rooted in this concept. I emphasise clarity on health, fitness, longevity, and diet. We work on the basics: disciplined nutrition, an active social life, mastering essential human movements, and maintaining regular exercise.
To be strong, not tired. Be the person a friend will call in emergencies or to help carry a couch up some stairs.
Be fit, stay fit, fit into your clothes, be fighting fit, fit as a fiddle, fit like a glove, fit the bill.
Be fit to do the tasks of life for as long as you can. Be a knitted person.
So, let’s rethink. What does fitness mean to you? •