Monday, May 14, 2007

Are you Fit, or are you an athlete?

sport: n.-1. an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature.

In this wide world people have debated the qualifications of many things as a "Sport." Is baseball a sport, or a game that requires athleticism, is there a difference? Are "combat sports" (boxing, wrestling, MMA) sports? Are the different modes of racing sports? What if you're in a boat? On foot? On a horse? In a car? All of these things require athleticism (bowling and poker do not, skill and athleticism are different.. but that's another afternoon's discussion/rant). In all of the above activities contestants are aided by some form of athleticism, some athletic modalities more than others, but which are important, and how much is enough dependence on athleticism?

A powerlifter's VO2 max is generally pitiful. Marathoners generally have trouble lifting spirits let alone weights. They are both athletes, but by my book neither of them are 'Fit.'

Fit is a binary state of being. You either are, or are not. If you can't run a reasonable distance without needing supplemental O2, you're not fit. If you can't do a day's worth of manual labor, if you can't carry a fairly heavy object out of your car and into your house, you're not fit. If you can't reach down and pick something up off the ground without pulling a muscle, if you lack the coordination to get out of the way of (or ideally catch) an object thrown at you, if you can't balance an object while opening the door to get in the house, if you can't climb up a boulder, or tree, or steep incline, you're not fit.

The ambiguities come when you try to define, what's a "reasonable distance?" around the block? 1 mile? 10 miles? how heavy is "fairly heavy?" 1/2 body weight? Body weight? 2x body weight? How much work do you have to do, how far and how fast do you have to climb?

Everyone has an opinion, and people value the things they do well over the things that they do poorly. Our egos get in the way of assessment. I am as guilty as the next person. I never see myself as fit enough, and I am nearly as hard on others. There are always chinks in the armor. Mistress Krista's rant of the month
talks about loving your body, fiercely. I feel like I do. My body for all of its faults listens intently to what I ask of it. To the demands and stresses I place on it. Aesthetically it is mostly a product of genetics, and so aesthetics are virtually meaningless. But it's abilities, those are closely tied to what I have asked it to do, and what I've fed it. It grows and shrinks. It is balanced, or not. I takes in oxygen efficiently, or not. It is strong and weak. It is what I have made it. I still find myself pushing my standards. The fitter I get, the stronger I get, the higher my standards go. Where are your standards?


Code name: 1% said...

Oh man, I am with you and the Mistress Krista. Who hasn't despised their body at some point, for no good reason? I went through a big unintentional weight loss recently and I disliked how I looked. But then, I dunno, I learned to love the new form and I don't want to sound all egotistical but I think I'm beautiful. You're not so shabby either!

J. B. Zero said...

Forebear gentle lady, I'll blush.
Seriously though, the more I think about the function of my body the more I think of it.