It can take years for a fitness enthusiast, as well as a fitness professional, to find the right “fit” when it comes to training and fitness (pun intended). It can be a matter of goals or lack thereof, confusion between needs, wants and abilities, or simply varying interests over time, some of which could be in conflict with one another.
One of my clients who likes to engage in triathlon races once mentioned a friend who wanted to train for a triathlon while pursuing a bodybuilding goal. That’s chasing two rabbits and catching neither of them. A certain fitness community may disagree with me based on their daily workouts (I won’t name them so as to not be accused of using them to boost this post by “creating a controversy” and piggy-backing off their popularity). The bottom line is FOCUS: Follow One Course Until Successful.
For others, the fitness quest may simply take years to fine-tune, and as the fitness needs evolve, so does life around you, lest that specific goal has everything else revolve around it. Such a path is usually that of the elite athlete, he or she who competes at a very high level (professionals, Olympians). Everyone else is just a fitness enthusiast. Yup, sorry to call it, but that’s reality. We may pursue a Noble Cause, as my friend Ron Jones would say, and that quest itself makes it the “right fit”. This can be seeking the roots of good movement, training History (as in throughout the ages) with time-tested methods rather than fads. The years of fine-tuning do not mean there is confusion, rather enthusiasm and passion. This is more the path of the professional trainer/coach, and “we” are there to provide our clients with options, education and experience to hopefully shorten that path (only by avoiding costly mistakes or blatant misinformation).
But make no mistakes in comprehending this concept, as there will be mistakes along the way, rather course corrections to individualize that goal. This is why I prefer the one on one training method, or workshop/lectures where I can focus on corrections, form and education. There is nothing wrong with a group class with a common denominator, I’m just not necessarily the guy for it. Doesn’t “fit” my style 🙂
To further develop that concept, I recall a post from Aussie trainer Andrew Read talking about the barbell snatch. If the goal is to get fit, you can get there with drills that are simpler, very effective and with a lower risk of injury, especially when one begins their journey later in life. There is a much better path than learning the skill of Olympic snatching, which can take years and while pursuing that, you haven’t moved the need when it comes to one’s fitness goals (usually weight loss or muscle gain). Awesomologist James Neidlinger turns people into lean, mean fighting machines through education, simple concepts and fun play-based activities without leaving his people in a puddle of sweaty, sore mess that cannot repeat that the next day.
When my peers who are way older than me and move way better than me display feats of strength, agility and with a great visual aesthetic to their bodies, I listen. I learn. I apply. How fit do you need to be? Follow your interests, be realistic and enjoy the journey. You don’t have to do requirements that do not fit your lifestyle or abilities. That competition should only be with you, otherwise you might be disappointed. I am not saying don’t compete also (nowadays you have to explain everything). I am saying you don’t need to lift X amount of weight if it’s at the detriment of your progress. Aim to press a beast, but don’t lose sleep over it if your life doesn’t depend on it. Aim for perfection, but don’t expect to achieve it. However, stay committed to the journey, the process.
Some aspects relate also to your body composition, or structure rather. If you’re a shorter, stockier mesomorph, you may have a natural predisposition for certain moves a taller, leaner ectomorph may not, and vice versa. I can do some gymnastics moves, but I’m not built for it. My wife is tall, I expect my two sons to be tall too, and while I had my four year old learn gymnastics so he can move at ease and maximize his movement development (I now have him in capoeira and soccer), I don’t expect him to grow up a competitive gymnast because genetically, he’s not naturally predisposed for a sport like that. Doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy it.
So, there you have it. Work hard, focus, find your drive and commitment, and enjoy it. But inject a dose of reality into your goals, or root cause analysis of “why” do you really need to do x, y or z. Running is a good example: do it cuz you love it, not because you think it’s the only thing that will get you fit, or because skinny Jane down the street does it.
Fit “fit” into your life!