You may have noticed that in some sports competitions, the top athletes do not seem to have a particularly defined body and look quite average. This does not mean the athlete is unfit. It is essential to be fit in order to excel.
You can find more examples of strong people in the martial arts world who do not have a body that fits the stereotype, but they are more than capable of giving you a black eye.
Advertisements largely exaggerate the wonders of protein powder and portray weight-pumping models with well-defined bodies as the epitome of perfection. The truth is, a body that looks perfect doesn’t signify anything. There are a lot of people who may impress you with their appearance but their real state of fitness is revealed when a flight of stairs leaves them breathless.
True fitness goes deeper than just physical appearance. It is a comprehensive package that covers different aspects of your being. For example if you can run really fast, that is just one part of your overall health. It could prove handy if you face a situation where you have to run for your life, but is running enough to make you capable of wearing your pants without needing to sit?
If that isn’t the case, you are lacking flexibility. What if, while running to safety, you face a hurdle you have to jump over? With inflexible and tight hamstrings, you won’t be able to save yourself and you will realize you weren’t fit enough after all.
The criteria to help you determine whether you are fit or not consists of five aspects which sum up true fitness. You need body composition, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and flexibility to be fit.
Your body composition is how much of your body is made up of lean body mass versus the amount of fat present. Lean body mass is comprised of all body tissue, including muscles, bones, skin, hair, fluid, organs, teeth and nails, except the fat. Ideally there should be a high percentage of muscle and low amounts of fat in your body.
The ability to do multiple repetitions of any exercise using light weights is called muscular endurance. A trip to the gym reveals many people doing reps of dips, pushups and lunges without weights to improve muscular endurance. If you are able to perform at least 15 reps with ease, your muscular endurance is satisfactory.
If you can do any cardiovascular exercise for long periods without losing form, you have good cardiovascular endurance. This could be anything from running, biking, rope jumping, and stair climbing to walking.
The definition of muscular strength is quite obvious. It is your level of strength, which is determined by how much weight you can lift with ease.
Flexibility involves moving through the full range of any motion and holding yourself in that position for some time. Since hamstrings were mentioned earlier, a quick measure to determine how flexible you are is to bend forward until your fingers touch your toes. If you have to bend your knees for this action, you need to work hard on your flexibility.
With the five parameters for fitness all set in your mind, take a look at martial arts experts again. They may not look like total “hunks”, but they still fit the bill perfectly as far as real fitness is concerned. So remember never to judge good health only by appearances.
Lastly, what do you want to achieve by exercising and how do you want it to improve your life? Get this FREE publication on “Fit For Life” here.