Everyone knows what Fitness means right? Fitness is being Cut aka being Defined, aka Getting in Shape aka Getting Shredded aka Getting Jacked aka Getting Ripped (not in a drunken sense).
Fitness, as something that we must strive for physically to improve our aesthetic appearance, and by virtue our internal functions and overall health, is a relatively recent concept. Here in the United States, circa the 17th-19th centuries, our country was an agricultural nation, with the vast majority of its residents involved in farming. Most everyone worked hard on the farms, and thus most everyone was in shape or fit in some way or another.
The relatively recent societal technological innovations have served to make us a society where convenience and expedience is the norm; the rapid rise and advances of technology have also led to an explosion of population migrations from the agricultural heart lands to our cities, transforming them and leading to a consequent rise much of what we know of today including concentration of wealth and humanity in centralized hubs of wealth and industry and in effect, office jobs where we sit around all day staring at a computer monitor (and smartphone/tablet screens). This has lead to more and more of our citizens becoming much less fit, due in large part to the sedentary nature of our jobs and our home lives.
Thus, we now have a majority of our citizenry that is out of shape and not at all fit by any person’s definition. As a result of this, a need for an industry to meet the needs of our out of shape and overweight citizens was created and continues to adapt and flourish. This is of course out of necessity – our population is aging, our children are increasingly out of shape, and their parents are obese.
Today, when we see someone who is in shape or fit, we marvel at them, mainly because they are more the exception than the rule. As you can see, the idea that everyone starts off fit and in shape, as would have been the case at least a century ago, is contrary to the norm that is today.
Old Rules of Fitness
Our old “modern” rules of fitness would have you simply eat less and exercise to achieve a semblance of fitness, or at least a modicum of weight loss. The mantra would be to eat 3-5 meals per day, workout at least 1-2 hours per day, performing 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions at some sort of weight for single muscle groups. Very formulaic, generic, and inefficient. The old rules were not bad – they just were too generalized and accomplished only the basics. They were decent guidelines to form a foundational understanding of exercise and offered a simple glimpse as to the work it takes to achieve a certain standard of fitness. Not a bad start – That was then.
The New Rules of Fitness
Welcome to the new rules of fitness, where there is a focus on achieving maximum results as efficiently as possible. There is much less focus on “general standards” for sets and repetitions and a greater focus on intensity and duration, as well as the incorporation of multiple dynamic modes of exercise such as plyometrics, yoga, pilates, resistance training, dancing, and other aerobic and anaerobic modes which can be used and blended to promote maximum muscular recruitment in effect causing more energy to be utilized in a more compact time frame. This is a much more effective and efficient way of getting things done. Indeed we are in a golden age of invention and achievement as it pertains to creation and adaption of exercise systems for fitness. Everyone who is embracing this movement should be applauded.
Today is an era where P90x, Insanity, and other similar type of fitness approaches are being attempted and embraced on a large scale. Why is this? There really isn’t only one simple reason – it is because they are dynamic, fun, and most importantly these methods produce results – and not just simply standard results, timely, efficient results.
As exercise evolves, changes, and becomes adapted by practitioners and participants alike, the practice and promotion of nutrition as a partner with fitness will adapt to meet the needs of athletes and participants. Of course biologically nutrition won’t change one bit, a calorie will still be a calorie, etc., however the ideas and principles of when someone should eat in relation to exercise, how much should they eat, and how often throughout the course of the day, will become variables of understanding and concepts of teaching that everyone will start to consider and incorporate as they start to embrace these higher intensity bouts with more frequency. Practitioners and participants alike will HAVE to incorporate both aspects since they are two sides of the same coin – you cannot be considered fit if you solely rely on exercise or nutrition, one in absence or to the exclusion of the other, to get you to your ideal aesthetic and internal goal since it is imperative for optimal results to understand and incorporate both. As activity increase, the need for (quality) nutrition/energy spikes as well, especially post activity/exercise.
Here’s to the new rules of fitness and those practitioners and participants that have embraced them, and to those that will embrace them in the near future.
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