What is fitness? I've been asking myself this question a lot lately. If I take myself for example, I can lift heavy weights. But if you asked me to go run 5k I would find it difficult. I have a muscular physique with low levels of body fat. Am I fit? What if I could run 10k but in terms of lifting weights I was poor in terms of strength. Am I fit? What if I was carrying a little more body fat but I was ok at both lifting weights and running. Am I fit?
We could debate the above questions over and over, ultimately I guess there isn't a right or wrong answer. Personally I think fitness should be judged on some sort of physical ability but again that's my own opinion. Generally when people assume I’m fit it's based on the way I look. I am always quick to remind them that cardiovascular wise I could be a lot better. You can not judge someones “fitness” based on appearance only.
Which brings me to the general point of this blog post. If someone starves themselves to an unhealthy body fat level to a point where they can feel ill, cant't sleep, has hunger pains and even potentially takes drugs to enhance the way they look should they be called a fitness model? Are they really promoting fitness?
I've never stepped on a stage to showcase my physique so I can't really relate or give a personal opinion on it. However what I have been told on show day it isn't uncommon to see people drinking a decent amount of alcohol before stepping on stage. I'm definitely not saying no one should drink alcohol but if we take someone who we would probably all agree is fit, such as Christiano Ronaldo, do you think he would do that before stepping onto the field? Again you cannot be judged on how fit you are based on how you look. It's very easy to make drastic changes to how you look if you know how to, especially on social media.
Social media has become a platform for people to basically model themselves. I see posts of girls posing half naked and the justification for the photo will be something like leg day with fitness related hashtags. Really? What exactly has being half naked got to do with fitness? Why not just post these photos and stop using fitness as justification for them. Especially the ones that have no clue about anything fitness related. I will scroll through their instagram account and cringe at the information and training techniques they are promoting. You are a model not a “fitness” model. Unfortunately so many of instagram users will look at these pictures, read their advice and think they look great, if I do what they say I can look like that too.
The same can be said for some of the male fitness models. You would be very surprised how many of these people take a lot of drugs to look how they do. I understand it's part of the game and you still need to put in a lot of work to get stage ready. But at the end of the day we are judging you on the way you look so I’m not sure what this has to do with actual fitness. Taking us back to the start of this post, fitness cannot be judged on how you look. A motivational quote on your heavily filtered picture doesn't make you fit my friend. You are a model with a good physique.
I know that it takes a lot of dedication and I respect anyone who decides they want to compete. I have friends who have competed and I have seen first hand what it takes and my hat goes off to them. This is not about discouraging anyone from competing or in anyway discrediting anyone's achievements.
So going back to my original question what is fitness and what does it mean to you?