The way I see it, looking fit does not mean being fit.
…is an image and in many cases, it is a temporary goal one sets and once they achieve it, they may fall off the bandwagon and convert back to their old ways. Looking fit also depends largely on a clean diet so being lean can actually be achieved with minimal exercise.
…means that exercise is truly part of one’s lifestyle— it is a permanent attitude and mindset that they embody each and every day. There are multiple definitions of being fit but that’s for another entry.
Looking fit AND being fit
…is an exclusive club that many are not in as it requires maximum dedication and discipline.
When you train purely for looks, you will eventually burn out because you’re in this lifestyle for vanity and not because you love it.
When you train to be fit, it becomes a part of who you are and what you stand for. It becomes a part of your life. You may not exactly look like the media’s stereotype of a fit person, but you will end up looking pretty damn good in the process.
Let’s look at the some of the definitions of fit:
- Fit can mean you are strong.
- Fit can mean you have amazing endurance.
- Fit can mean you have one or all of the above.
Fit comes in many shapes and sizes but the media has skewed our perception of what a fit person looks like. When most people think fit, what do they see?
- Lean, thin and muscular body.
- A well-defined 6-pack.
- A perky and tight butt.
- A really low body-fat percentage.
But when you see someone with all those traits, do you automatically assume they can run a marathon in record time or finish a plyometric workout faster than anyone else? All because they LOOK the part? Yes and no. It could just mean that they maintain a strict diet, since we all know the equation goes something like this: 80% diet and 20% exercise. Bottom line is, just because you have a 6-pack, it doesn’t not mean you are more fit than the person next to you with no 6-pack. It means that you just have a stricter diet and amazing discipline. That’s definitely not a bad thing though!
On the other hand, not having a 6-pack does NOT mean you are not fit. I know people who has all the attributes of a stereotypically fit-looking person but they take 20 minutes longer to hike up the Grouse Grind than someone with only some of those attributes. I know people who are bigger, thicker or have no visible muscle tone but they have better endurance and are stronger than those with a 6-pack! They just don’t maintain a strict diet whether by choice or not.
Some people only specialize in strength. Some only in endurance. Some in both. But your diet will largely dictate how fit you look because a clean diet leans you out and makes your muscles more prominent. Some professional athletes need to consume more than others, thus their outer appearance may not define them as stereotypically fit-looking.
And then there are those who go in the extremes to look fit but they aren’t fit at all. Such as people who starve themselves to be “thin” enough to get their abs to show. I mean we all have abs, but your diet really controls if they show or not… not exercise.
Being fit does not mean having 6-pack abs. Being fit means living and loving an active lifestyle that challenges your physical endurance and pushes you to the limits.
At the same time, being fit does not mean being healthy but that topic is for another entry.
So the next time you judge someone’s fitness by how “fit” they look or if you think you are fitter than someone because you have a 6-pack and they don’t, think again!