Finding YOUR “Fit”

by Khushboo on April 23, 2012

Happy Monday Funday !  Mondays are only fun when you know you have a holiday on the near horizon – four days and counting :) .  In case you’re not sharing my sentiments towards Monday, this should make you smile:

I’m suddenly craving popcorn but that’s besides the point.  The other day I had an interesting conversation with a friend who decided to rejoin the gym.  For the past 4 months, she traded in her gym workouts for regular yoga classes.  Her main concern was that her fitness levels would have dropped tremendously i.e. she wouldn’t be able to run as fast (or as long) as she had built herself up to once upon a time.  It got me thinking about my current endurance levels compared to 6 months ago.  For starters, I used to run much more than I currently do. Back in November, 8-12 kilometers used to be the norm for me whereas now anything over 5km seems like a “long run”.  Funny enough I actually feel equally, if not fitter, these days…just in a different way.

I guess that’s the beauty of fitness: it’s so subjective!   There is no “one size shoe fits all” approach. Whether you’re a marathoner, bodybuilder, or gymnast, being “fit” has no boundaries.  Depending on who you ask, the term “fitness” is so broad, and can vary in meaning.  According to Bill Tancred (1995), fitness is made of various components:

  • Strength – the extent to which muscles can exert force by contracting against resistance (e.g. holding or restraining an object or person)
  • Power – the ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movements. The two components of power are strength and speed. (e.g. jumping or a sprint start)
  • Agility – the ability to perform a series of explosive power movements in rapid succession in opposing directions (e.g. ZigZag running or cutting movements)
  • Balance – the ability to control the body’s position, either stationary (e.g. a handstand) or while moving (e.g. a gymnastics stunt)
  • Flexibility – the ability to achieve an extended range of motion without being impeded by excess tissue, i.e. fat or muscle (e.g. executing a leg split)
  • Local Muscle Endurance – a single muscle’s ability to perform sustained work (e.g. rowing or cycling)
  • Cardiovascular Endurance – the heart’s ability to deliver blood to working muscles and their ability to use it (e.g. running long distances)
  • Strength Endurance – a muscle’s ability to perform a maximum contraction time after time (e.g. continuous explosive rebounding through an entire basketball game)
  • Co-ordination- the ability to integrate the above listed components so that effective movements are achieved.

When I look at the members in my gym, there are some who run at lightning speed whereas others dead-lift the equivalent of (or double) my body weight.  Who’s to say which group of members is fitter?

Going back to my friend: while her endurance levels on the cardio front might not be as high as a few months ago, there’s no doubt that her flexibility levels have soared.  In terms of my own goals, I don’t consider my decline in cardiovascular endurance (i.e. running) as lazy or a case of being less fit.  I’ve just found other ways to stay fit (lifting weights) and am focusing on new goals: muscular strength.

Take this as a reminder that life is not static: our preferences and goals are constantly evolving.  Fitness is a goal many of us share…you just decide what “being fit” means to you and then tailor your workouts accordingly!

What does “being fit” mean to you?

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Jocelyn @ Peace.Love.Nutrition April 23, 2012 at 7:03 pm

HAhah those cards crack me up

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Khushboo Thadani April 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm

If you read my blog often enough, you’ll know I’m slightly obsessed!

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Alexandra April 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm

“life is not static: our preferences and goals are constantly evolving.” So true! I can’t imagine how dull not only fitness, but life would be if there were no progress or challenges!

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Khushboo Thadani April 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm

A life without challenges = a life without growth = pointless!

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forgottenbeast April 23, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Being fit for me means NOT comparing myself to others at the gym–a bad habit I have. I’m not a runner, I’m small so I’ll never lift as much as others, but when I’m fit I can run fast–for me–and lift a lot–for me. It’s all about the personal goals rather than the external goals.

And LOVE that popcorn’s getting a shout-out on your blog too ;D

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Khushboo Thadani April 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm

It’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap but like you said, it’s all about personal goals..not what the person next to you can do!

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Parita April 23, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Love your persepctive, K, and I totally agree. Being healthy and fit mean different things to different people. And that’s how it should be. Personally, being fit for me means feeling strong, both externally and internally, and being happy. I find that when I workout and challenge myself, my happiness factor soars! :)

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Khushboo Thadani April 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm

The hardest things in life are definitely the most rewarding…which is what I remind myself everytime a workout seems tough!

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sprint2thetable April 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I completely agree that fitness can look different. I feel that at different points in life I need different types of fitness – sometimes I’m a runner, but sometimes my knees say no and I crave weights. Other times I ditch it all and go to kickboxing like an addict. It’s all about keeping it fun and interesting – that way you don’t burn out!

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Khushboo Thadani April 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm

So true! I defintely feel like I burned out with running at one point! Hope your knee is feeling better!

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Brittany April 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I love this, and I totally agree. Being fit is all about finding what works for you as an individual. Sure I want to be fast and rack up MILES running, but right now that’s not where I am at. I have to switch up my routines to ensure I don’t get burned out too!

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Khushboo Thadani April 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm

It’s funny that as much as I love running, I have no desire (at least not right now) to run a marathon…ever!

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onehealthymunchkin April 23, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Good point! Fitness exists on so many spectrums and you really can’t compare them and say that one is better than the other!

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Khushboo Thadani April 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Each workout has their own “USP” :)

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Honey What's Cooking April 24, 2012 at 3:10 am

although i know i’m not super fit, i feel fit. i hate running, i always go on the elliptical and do my weights. the weights help me feel strong and i also eat pretty healthy. i don’t wanna be super skinny, but not fat either.

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Khushboo Thadani April 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm

It’s about finding a balance and sounds like you have! I’m sure I could have a “rock hard” abs if I ran more or ate even cleaner than I do but truth be told, I rather look the way I do than avoid the foods I enjoy in moderation!

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JoJo April 24, 2012 at 3:34 am

You bring an interesting point out!
My goals have changed after my wrists injury. Since I can’t play beach volleyball, lift weights, do a lot of yoga moves… basically do anything that uses my wrist my goal HAD to change. I still do some strengthening of ab, back, legs and glutes but the things I can do are limited. My “fit” right now is to have and maintain a good cardio endurance, mostly centered around running. But Once my wrists are better, I’m sure a lot of my focus is going to change again :)

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Khushboo Thadani April 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Are you doing physio for your wrists? I hope they improve soon…any kind of injury is painful (mentally & physically) to deal with!

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Errign April 24, 2012 at 5:31 am

I’m basically always craving popcorn.

Fit to me means happy and confident :)

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Khushboo Thadani April 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm
gayatri5 April 24, 2012 at 7:39 am

This is an excellent post. My ‘fit’ sometimes differs on a weekly basis but I make sure I look like hell and feel great after any workout, even if I haven’t run as much as I can.

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Khushboo Thadani April 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm

“Make sure I look like hell”…haahah I won’t even lie: I’m not a pretty site post-workout!

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ritika April 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm

makes total sense, i have been running more than ever now, but kind of feel, my fitness Q is now stuck in the rut, guess there’s no shying away from the weights anymore. so yeah… life is not static.

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Khushboo Thadani April 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm

If you’re still not ready for weights, even spicing up your cardio routine may help you with the rut…have you tried spinning?

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Nada (One Arab Vegan) April 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Very good point K! I think a lot of people become fixated with a certain something (ie. cardio) as an indicator of fitness when it spans so much more in reality. Personally, fit for me means maintaining a balance between cardio and strength training. Like you, I feel a lot fitter nowadays when I devote time to both than a few months ago when I was running 10 milers to prepare for my half.

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Khushboo Thadani April 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I’m glad you feel the same way! Funny enough, my decline in running mileage has translated into a faster pace overall. I guess all those squats and lunges are paying of :) !

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Meg April 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

AHHHHHH :D I love this :D Your posts ALWAYS impress me ;) Can I meet you some day? It’s so cool how there are different types of “fit”!!!! And you NAILED this post! Amazing! I am really focusing on STRENGTH. I was all about MORE MUSCLE before, but ever since I have been lifting and talking with my trainer (Tara) I am so much more motivated to increase in strength not JUST muscle ;)

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Ali Mc April 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I don’t know what being fit means to me – but I work out almost everyday and I feel like crap so I guess eating healthy is important too….which I don’t do.

I have been super focused on strength training instead of cardio and notice a huge improvement too :)

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Khushboo Thadani April 25, 2012 at 10:54 am

I definitely notice an improvement in the quality of my workouts when I eat right!

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Ali Mc April 25, 2012 at 11:13 pm

I’ve been looking into it for a while I know when I find a plan or a book or whatnot that resonates with me then I’ll make the switch :)

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Khushboo Thadani April 26, 2012 at 11:33 am

I definitely think you’re on the right track- there’s no point following something if you don’t want whole-heartedly want to!

Khushboo Thadani April 25, 2012 at 10:53 am

Thanks so much for such a nice comment :) ! I’m glad you enjoyed it! Your goals sound great- and fortunately muscle and strength go hand in hand with each other :)

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Asmita (@FoodieAsmita) April 25, 2012 at 5:18 am

I have become just too lazy these days. Need to push my self to get to thevgym everyday. Being fit for me means getting to the gym and eating right. Being strong both mentally and physically.

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Khushboo Thadani April 25, 2012 at 10:55 am

I couldn’t agree more :) !

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turtlespdrunner April 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm

So true! I remember going back to kickboxing after not having been a few years, but running regularly. I remember feeling SOOO unfit, but I wasn’t – it was just a different kind of fit :) Short quick bursts rather than lonnng endurance type fitness :) Loving the corn picture!!

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Khushboo Thadani April 26, 2012 at 11:29 am

I’m the same with cardio these days- I seem to prefer short bursts rather than longer runs!

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Tessa at Amazing Assett April 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Great post as usual Khushbo… your words are so so true! My fit used to be that I was a hard core runner and lifted weights, was also a lean-mean spinning/cardio kick machine. Now my body can’t handle all of that (for now anyway) so my new fit is to keep exercising but at a lower intensity and also taking care of my body!

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Khushboo Thadani April 26, 2012 at 11:29 am

It’s great you are listening to your body- super important and something which a lot of us seem to ignore :)

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Sig April 26, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Totally agree – I think it’s the same with the word ‘healthy’ – what healthy means to one person may be different to another. My fit right now…errr….I’ll come back to that question later :P

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Khushboo Thadani April 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm

The same definitely goes for the word “healthy”- it ultimately comes down to individual perception!

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