How do you define fitness?
Published June 13, 2016
Everyone starts out with a goal some are trying to lose weight, some to gain strength, reducing pain, improving sports performance or just getting healthier. All of them start with, fitness.
We've had over 100 people take our 101 Program and we start the first session with a questions "What is fitness?" We've had dozens of different answers and we've yet to have someone answer definitively. Thanks to CrossFit founder Greg Glassman we no longer have to wallow in the wishy washy world of chasing a dream we cannot measure. Any program claiming to produce fitness had best first start with and observable, measurable and repeatable definition, right? Here it is!
Fitness is: increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Jeez, I'm not really sure what that means... you can join the club of thousands who've said that upon first hearing the definition but lets break it down.
Work Capacity: is the ability to complete work. It is most commonly measured in ft x lbs (foot pounds). If you moved 100lbs 10 feet you would have completed 1000 ft(lbs) of work.
Broad Time: a wide spectrum of time. Small units could be measured by tenths of seconds, large units may be hours or days. A broad time gap would be from 1 second to 2 hours.
Broad modal domains: a wide spectrum of types. In the case of fitness types of work(types of movement). For example we can classify movements as pushing, pulling or squating. Another way would be Monostructural(repetitive movement), Gymnastics (controlling ones body in space) or weightlifting (controling and object). We will say that nearly any movement could be included.
Now going back to the definition of fitness: increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. In terms you can understand: improved the ability to complete more measurable work during short, medium or long efforts that include many different types of movements.
Because it is measurable we can graph it...
What you will find is that if we do a good job testing our fitness that we can find an accurate line that will indicate our physical capabilities. For example if I give my best effort on a 1RM Deadlift and lift 400lbs, we know that I will be capable of lifting anything lighter than that if requested. The same would be true of a half marathon, if you finished in 2 hours then I asked "run 13.1 miles under 3 hours" you could certainly oblige!
What does this improved work capacity mean to you? Well for one you are now capable of more physical tasks, whether that is defeating an opponent, carrying your groceries from the car to your kitchen or being able to clean yourself up after using the bathroom. Our goal is to increase your capabilities so that you get so fit that you have a huge buffer before passing through wellness and into sickness. So whether you are interested in winning the CrossFit Games or just staying healthy increasing your fitness should be paramount.
The next all important question... How do we attain fitness?