For ages I have been wanting to write on the foundations/elements of fitness an effort to ensure that people structure their training regimens based upon versatility and efficiency.
And rightly so, is the timing to do such a thing.
I have casually glanced at several articles that attempt to cover these aspects, and they are quite lacking. Words are thrown around with partial cognizance of their true definition, in an effort to relate to the reader’s likely misconceptions.
Additionally, body-fat percentage was included as a fitness metric. While this is accurate to an extent, one would not go out and say that starving third world children would have an immediate advantage compared to fat westerners in regards to becoming fit. To a lesser degree, even common untrained folk who aren’t fat would not by no means be considered fit in my book simply because they have a low body-fat.
Being someone with experience in different domains of fitness, each requiring different aspects of fitness to be dominant, it is safe to say that I know what specific nuances comprise the notion of being truly fit, or as close as one can get to being so.
I have identified 5 “main” aspects that are necessary to be deemed “fit.”
While one may think that there are more aspects than this, well every other aspect is simply an amalgamation of two or more of the 5 aspects. While it is true that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, nevertheless these “sub-aspects” couldn’t really exist without having a decent capacity in at least two of the five fitness aspects. I shall visually go over the “sub-aspects” that occur when two or more fitness aspects overlap, but first, here are the 5 aspects of fitness:
II. The 5 Aspects of Fitness
Strength is the capacity to use a large percentage of one’s muscle fibers to exert force on an object, whether that be an external one, or one’s own body. Weightlifting and strongman training are well-known examples where strength is an important factor in regards to performance.
Speed is the capacity to contract one’s muscles rapidly. Sprinting is an obvious activity that requires and cultivates the aspect of speed.
Flexibility is the capacity for the muscles, and to a lesser extent, the tendons and ligaments, to be extended or contracted with little to no bio-mechanical strain. Yoga is an activity known to increase the flexibility of the practitioner.
Endurance is the capacity to work the body for extended periods of time. These proportions of time vary between exercises and exercise types. Cross country, marathon running, high-rep exercises, and cycling all build up one’s endurance.
Last but not least is coordination. Coordination is the ability to displace the various parts of the body (or an external object) in a fine, controlled, and often complex manner. Ballet and other forms of dance are examples of an activity requiring high amounts of coordination. Coordination is somewhat of a necessity to aspects such as strength or speed. Without coordination, these aspects are virtually rendered unusable, at least from an efficiency standpoint.
III. The Final Steps of Fitness
The final steps of fitness are to go beyond the 5 aspects.
Those are just guidelines to build one’s foundation upon.
Once that is built, it is time to move past them, and continue building up until the capstone. After this, one may feel free to inspect the foundations once again. Everything is circular. You may see that your power can be increased if you go back and increase your strength capacity, or hone in higher levels of coordination. It’s a never-ending process.
The aspects that one should focus on when one has developed the 5 aspects to an admirable degree are the “sub-aspects,” or where two or more of the 5 aspects overlap, namely power and stamina. If one possesses power and stamina, then they will be truly fit, as virtually every aspect of fitness exist in these two aspects.
I have done the labor of outlining the core aspects of fitness, elaborating upon them, and highlighting the new attributes that can be formed when one has two or more aspects thoroughly developed.
The next step is for you to implement this information into your training regimen.
Observe other athletic disciplines that focus mainly on one or two aspects of fitness, extrapolate the main principles from them, and adapt them to your training. One need not particularly do yoga in order to become more flexible. Let me know how this knowledge benefits your actions towards achieving true fitness.