Is a cheetah more awesome than a leopard?

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Is a grizzly bear better than a tiger? A rhino cooler than a water buffalo? A python more efficient than a flying squirrel?

How about antelopes? Is being a meal for the lion king something that devalues their amazing abilities, agility, speed and strength?

So, why do we make similar comparisons to us humans, by judging one person vs another when it comes to fitness (in this topic, since we do it with just about everything)? I posted something about the fallacy of setting up straw men in a previous post, and it would appear that I am trying to do this very thing here, but I will argue my point regardless.

While comparing different species is akin to comparing different fruits (you know the expression), we can certainly make the same argument inside our own species. We are different: height, bone structure, genetics… If we were the same, two athletes that vary in height, weight, leverage, limb length that received the same training ought to technically be equal, right? Somehow, I seriously doubt that a 5’4″ gymnast could dunk a basketball as easily as his 6’6″ NBA counterpart, and vice-versa for a vault routine if both trained equally in modality, intensity and frequency.

Not everyone is built for power lifting, or swimming, or football, or grappling or whatever else you can think of. There may be some crossover (Bo Jackson comes to mind), and that’s still within certain parameters. I don’t think there is enough time spent in many of our current training methodologies to acknowledge those differences. Pound per pound proportions are not equal, neither is limb length (I remember a 6’2″ 155lb fighter vs a 5’4″ fighter of the same weight in an episode of The Ultimate Fighter whose reach gave him a clear advantage). Some folks pull better, some push better. Technique will take you so far, but your genetics will always play in the end. There is a truth to “frame specific” abilities. I think the Russians would line up children and assign a sport to each based on that.

The moral of the story is: do whatever you like to do. If you enjoy a sport you’re not built for, have fun, unless you want to do it competitively. How do you know if you’re built for it? Look at your peers. Frodo Baggins is not joining the NBA anytime soon. Don’t set unrealistic expectations. Have a little Simon Cowell in you and inject a dose of reality into your fun to keep it fun, otherwise you can be disappointed. Acceptance is not defeat. It’s a starting point for smart programming and becoming awesome. And there are many ways to be awesome. Don’t let one person’s training affect you, or let them tell you what you need to do. Find your fit.

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