39020738 - sexy young girl resting after dumbbells exercises. fitness woman resting in gym.

By Carmella Lieras, NASM-CPT

The word “fitness” makes me cringe most days.
I used to love everything fitness related when I was in my twenties and had all the time in the world to work out, but as I got older, had a child and way more responsibilities, I have realized that fitness does not mean as much to me anymore, but health does.

For some people, “true fitness” can mean any of the following:

  • Shredded abs and bulging biceps
  • The ability to lift a certain amount of weight
  • Being able to do X-amount of pull-ups
  • Eating super clean all the time
  • Getting drenched with sweat after a strenuous workout
  • Running a full or half marathon a few times per year
  • Competing in Spartan races

While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these, it has to be said that one person’s meaning of fitness is not the same as another’s.
So, Person A believes they are fit because of their 6-pack abs, while Person B might believe they are fit if they can walk two miles without being in pain. Unfortunately, industry marketing leads Person B to believe that they are unfit if do not meet any of the bullet points above.
Fitness does not have to mean any of those points if you do not want them to. Your fitness level is not indicative of how many push-ups you can do or whether you can run a mile under ten minutes.
Look at the actual definition (from Miriam Webster) of ‘fitness’, which is: the quality or state of being fit. Looking at one of the many definitions of “fit” gives us: (adj) adapted to the environment so as to be capable of surviving; sound physically and mentally: healthy.
I choose to look at the definition of “fit”, because that one has to do with survival.
Fitness does not have to be horrible. You do not have to kill yourself in the gym every day in order to get the body you want, and you most certainly do not have to buy in to all the marketing tactics out there telling you true fitness is being able to do 50 burpees non-stop.

Hold onto whatever fitness means to you. If being fit means being able to survive your current environment, then walking around your house without knee pain means you are fit.
Doing a yoga class a few times per week so you can decompress from life’s stressors means you are fit.
Waking up in the morning and doing a workout class on your tv or computer (because you are not ready to go back to your gym) consistently throughout the week means you are fit.
Keep doing those activities that you enjoy, that bring you joy (even if they make you work harder than you might want) and that make you feel good and healthy; especially the ones that keep you thriving and surviving!