Which Fit?

What kind of fit are you / do you want to be?

Fit: in good health, especially because of regular physical exercise.


Note: our expanded definition of fit also includes moving your own body through your environment and being able to perform physical tasks.

Being Fit

In the early 19th century, physical education started sprouting across Europe, primarily born out of the need for preparedness and readiness for war.

Early depiction of gymnastics in Germany

During the many centuries before, physical education was limited to royalty and the military. Physical education was predominantly used to prepare men for war, but as we entered the industrial revolution and the age of democracy and civic duty, the entire populous became possible candidates for military duty and military support duties.

A few varieties of gymnastics / calisthenic systems were being developed across Europe and later the United States of America and even though they all differed in some way, they generally had a similar goal: developing the person to be physically capable and useful, thus, being fit.

Looking Fit

With the advent of the 20th century, the age of quick fixes, aesthetics and the free market would send fitness down a different path. The driving motivation for working out changed from being fit, to looking fit. To successfully open commercial gyms around the world, the fitness industry would need a different model for training their customers.

Even though the idea of a gym machine had been invented almost 200 years earlier, the gym machine would become the answer to this question. Commercial gyms could now simply fill a gymnasium with lots of machines with instructional pictures on them and people could “train themselves” to look fit…and yes, be fit to a lesser extent.

At roughly the same time, the aesthetic sport of bodybuilding took off and became the marketing vehicle to drive people to commercial gyms. The age of isolating and sculpting muscles had been born and being fit had taken a back-seat.

Functional Fit

As with most things, everything seems to come full-circle eventually. The age of commercial gyms and gym machines seems to have already come to an end, barely 50 years (a grain of sand in time) after its rise.

Although commercial gyms with their machines are still alive and well, the age of functional fitness seems to have arrived. The focus: being and looking fit.

Here’s the thing:
You can look fit but be far from it.
You can be fit and as a consequence, you’ll look fit.

So, at least we’re moving back in the right direction! Just be aware, not all functional training systems are equal and it’s a term that’s thrown around quite loosely these days.

So, which one would you like to be?