What is Fitness? Part 2: Answering the Question for Yourself

Yesterday, I talked about moving through the stages of learning from unconscious incompetence towards unconscious competence, and how this has allowed me to propose some questions about what fitness is.  Today, I want to talk about answering those questions for yourself. Today’s blog builds off of yesterday’s, so if you haven’t read that yet, please start there.

What is Fitness? Part 1: Defining the Question


Answering the Question for Yourself

If you are going to pursue fitness, don’t you think you ought to know what it is you are chasing?  If you are trying to achieve or capture something, the first step is to know what that something is.  Sadly, though, there is no universally-satisfactory definition of what fitness is.  There are a lot of ideas floating around out there that get close.  There are various definitions of evolutionary fitness, moral fitness, reproductive fitness, and physical fitness.  They all have value, but they may not be exactly what you mean when you say “fitness.”

Like any goal, the more specific you can be, the better you will be able to achieve it.  You really have to define it for yourself.  You have to say, “I want ____ because of ____.”  Then, you’ll have a target in your sights that you can aim at.

So, at this point, I would encourage you to pull out a scrap of paper and write down your own ideas about what fitness is and what you would like to achieve in your own pursuit of fitness.  For some people, this may be the ability to do challenging tasks, or it might be looking more physically attractive, or feeling really good every day.  There are no wrong answers.  Process your own thoughts, feelings, and opinions on the topic.  Trust me, this is a valuable exercise.


Answering the Question for Myself

Now, I will tell you how I answer this question for myself.  It might help you work out your own answers.  What fitness is to me begins with my concept of what I am and what we are as human beings.

I see all human beings as one person, with a very long lifetime going back well beyond memory and going forward into eternity.  You have to use your 4th dimensional vision for this one.  Remember Doc Brown in Back to the Future?  “Marty!  You’re not thinking 4th-dimensionally!”  Fourth-dimensional thinking is when you visualize time along with visualizing the X, Y, and Z axes of the physical world (width, height, and depth).  In my 4th-dimensional vision, the human race is like one great big tree with roots going far back into time (our ancestors), a massive trunk (the 7.8 billion of us here today), and branches reaching far into the future (the coming generations).

Then there is the matter of impacts.  These are the fruits on the tree.  First, there are the impacts we have on the rest of the human race and the human future.  You could think about your legacy in the works you do, the way you raise your family, and the things your loved ones will remember you for when you’re gone.  Then, there are our impacts on the lands we dwell upon, the neighborhoods, towns, cities, biomes, and climates we human beings populate.

So, in my view, fitness is not just about survival, but about being worthy to survive.  Our survival perpetuates the growth of this “tree” (the human race), but our way of life also determines whether we will bring forth good fruits or bad.  So, caring about the whole, we must care for the part (ourselves).

Fitness, therefore, is about being your healthiest and most physically vital and mentally acute, but also about making the most positive impact on those around you and the world around you.

Fitness, in my definition, is being your best self, for yourself, for others, and for the future.


Published by nicnakis

Nicholas |nik-uh-luhs| n. a male given name: from Greek words meaning "victory of the people" John |jon| n. a male given name: from Hebrew Yohanan, derivative of Yehohanan "God has been gracious" Nakis |nah-kis| n. a Greek family name derived from the patronymic ending -akis (from Crete) Amha |am-hah| n. an Ethiopian given name meaning "gift", from Geez Selassie |suh-la-see| n. Ethiopian name meaning "trinity", from Geez

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