Real Fitness

Training and completing an event does not make you a better person. You can find out a lot about yourself by challenging yourself. You can improve certain skills and attributes. You can use all this to work on changing certain things about yourself. It isn't the event itself that does it. Sometimes working towards a big event can be detrimental to other areas in your life. Time taken away from family or other responsibilities is an obvious example.

Do I define myself as a triathlete? I used to, but gradually over the last few years I have moved away from doing so. Triathlon is now simply one of the things I enjoy. It is the same concept as defining yourself by your job. For me I enjoy my work as a Paramedic, but again it isn't all that I am. Now I prefer to keep away from labels.

It feels good to believe that I have a long way to go. That I have so much more potential in many different areas. What would happen if you reached your peak in everything? Personally I believe there would be an enormous amount of satisfaction, but that it would be short lived. I feel there is a need to always be working towards improving myself. Maybe true satisfaction simply comes from the journey towards so-called perfection. Even if this cannot be truly achieved.

This line of thinking has brought me to consider the role fitness has to play in life. How does fitness help my contribution to life? It could be argued that by being fitter then my health is improved and therefore I can function better at work and at home. That sounds kind of okay to me, but it just doesn't cut it. Maybe looking at some definitions of fitness, or being fit can help.

The Macquarie dictionary offers the following:
  1. well adapted or suited
  2. proper or becoming
  3. in good health
  4. to be adapted or suitable for a purpose, object, occasion etc.
  5. to conform or adjust to something

Again health is mentioned. Maybe being fit can be regarded to be at the positive end of the spectrum of health, with sickness being at the negative end and wellness in the middle. This suggests that fitness is more than just physical attributes.

Being adapted, suitable, suited, able to conform or able to adjust to a purpose or occasion strikes a cord with me. This means you to be fit you need certain capabilities. It also suggests that there is a need to be adaptable. What exactly these capabilities are appears to be dependant on the demands of the purpose or occasion. Therefore these need to be defined.

This is a concept I have been thinking about quite a bit recently. So many individual tasks have crossed my mind. These have included:

  • To complete a marathon in under 3 hours
  • To run 10km in under 35 minutes
  • To be able to swim 200m of butterfly well
  • To remain injury free at work
  • To maintain good health
  • To have enough energy to devote to the chores at home
  • To have more than enough energy for fatherhood
  • To respond well to the unexpected

As I worked through these ideas and many others I noticed I moved further away from the sporting arena. Yes sports performance is still important to me, but definitely not at the expense of the rest of my life. Maybe I needed to change towards thinking in a broader context. Come up with something that encompassed all the individual tasks.

This is what I did. I cannot claim with coming up with the terms myself. Others before me have used these, or similar phrases. They come from a few sources. Exactly who came up with them I am not sure, but in my various study, reading and experiences they are phrases that speak strongly to me. I want to achieve real fitness.

Fitness to be useful.

Fitness to excel in life.


  1. Interesting concept Jason. I've never wanted real or useful fitness. I've only ever wanted to be fit so I could race well! I like racing.

    With you list of tasks... if you run the sub-35, I reckon you'll nail the sub-3 marathon.


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