Couch Potato or Fitness Freak?

Couch Potato or Fitness Freak?
Photo by Alora Griffiths / Unsplash

Years ago (in my youth) when I used to work in the restaurant industry, life had a certain flavor to it. Late nights and early mornings flowed into care-free days next to swimming pools filled with friends and beach balls. We worked hard and we played hard as only young people can do.

It was during this time that my vocabulary grew, almost daily. I often refer to my 'restaurant days' as my 'university of life' days. One of the phrases I remember vividly was one that I picked up from a fellow waiter and friend, Robbie. When clients ordered steak, he did not ask them if they preferred the meat raw, medium, or well done, no, he adopted the lines from the movie 'Pulp Fiction' where the waiter asked Uma Thurman if she wanted her steak burned to a crisp, bloody as hell or somewhere in between?!

Fast forward to today my question to you is: "How would you describe your fitness level? Couch potato, fitness freak, or somewhere in between?"

Irrespective of your answer, I want to bombard you with another question: "What is your definition of 'fitness'? How would you suggest measuring a person's fitness?"

I am sure that there are numerous different answers and versions of measuring the above, but surely you cannot give the same fitness test you used for a 20-year-old to an 80-year-old? I assume not.

A quick 'google' search and the screen tells me that fitness = 1:'the condition of being physically fit and healthy.' 2: 'the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task'.

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Wikipedia proclaims: 'Physical fitness is a state of health and well-being and, more specifically, the ability to perform aspects of sports, occupations and daily activities. Physical fitness is generally achieved through proper nutrition, moderate-vigorous physical exercise, and sufficient rest.'

But what is the formula? How do you measure a person's fitness? Back to 'Google':

5 Components of Physical Fitness:

• Cardiovascular Endurance.

• Muscular Strength.

• Muscular endurance.

• Flexibility.

• Body Composition.

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Great, now we have a framework to work from, a base, I love it. However, I'm sure that you will agree with me that it is very difficult to pinpoint an exact standardized 'fitness test' that you can use across age groups, body types, and people with different types of height and weight. Again back to old faithful, 'Google', and he tells me that there are standardized tests but the results are filtered through to reflect age groups from teens to 60-year-olds. Now we are getting warmer.

An assessment coach will use your BMI (body mass index) to determine if you are underweight, overweight, or hopefully, have a healthy weight. This will be their base info before asking you to start with the above exercises and then record the number of repetitions you can do. Let's take a step back and view from the side. To complete a fitness test, the fitness coach will use the following categories before he can 'put you in a box'.

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Your height, your weight, your age. The number of repetitions you can do for specific Cardio endurance, muscular strength, and muscular endurance exercises. Your flexibility, mobility, and stability are also taken into account. And remember the assessment coach is working according to a flow chart depicting average results from different age groups recorded over years.

So, my original question was valid and I was wrong in assuming that you cannot give the same fitness test to different people especially from different age groups, you can. The results are categorized according to their age groups and judged according to 'average' results from thousands of others from the same age group.

According to the website , the five health assessments for general health are Health Evaluation, Body Composition, Cardio Endurance, Strength, Joint Flexibility.

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Where does that leave you, my friend? Are you a couch potato, fitness freak, or somewhere in between? Is it time to go to your Dr and do a basic fitness assessment? Is it necessary to become a fitness freak or is it enough to achieve a basic level of fitness? In my humble opinion, it is enough to achieve a basic level of fitness because if you can do that it will be more than what the majority of the global population can say.

Maybe you are lying on the couch while you are reading this and thinking to yourself: "Maybe it's time for me to start. Maybe it's time for me to take that leap of faith and run around the block!" You are right, you should.

The key is to embark on short, but consistent exercise routines.

Go on, you can do it.

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