OP-ED: Finding Your Fit

by Casey Douglas

Photography by Stephen Vocaturo

In a world that places a heavy emphasis on outward appearance, body composition and proper nutrition, it seems as though there are constantly new ways to “get fit” or “become your best self.”

But it is difficult to define words like “fit “ and “healthy.” While many people strive for fitness and nutrition, the true meaning of those terms becomes unclear because they represent different things to different people.

Before diving into the ever-changing world of fitness, you must first do research and come up with your own definition of fit, as there is no singular way to measure such an abstract concept. There are scales of all varieties, calculators and fitness tests, yet society will never be able to put its finger on exactly what being “the most fit” is, for there are far, far too many ways to define it.

You can’t simply compute a BMI and expect it to define how healthy or unhealthy you are; such measures do not take certain variables such as muscle mass into account. In the same respect, you can’t look at a larger or smaller person and proclaim one as more health-inclined than the other, as you know nothing about their metabolism, nutrition, workout regime, medical history, etc. In addition, different types and styles of exercise have different definitions of fit.

In the running world, the highest level of fitness is awarded to those whose legs can carry them to a set destination at the quickest speed. Sports teams might measure their level of fitness based on technique and specific kicking, throwing or blocking ability. And finally, there is the CrossFit world. CrossFit gets special mention here as it both prides itself on having the most in-shape humans at its helm and hosts a yearly, worldwide competition that crowns its victor the “Fittest Man/Woman on Earth.” However, CrossFit is hugely based around the notion of strength—how much one can lift, whether it’s the weight of massive barbells or their own body. Therefore, if people are not interested in strength training and pumping iron, it does not make sense for them to strive to the fitness level of these types of athletes.

That is why it is important to find your fit. For some people, the answer to their search is high intensity interval training. For other people, more mellow exercises like yoga are where their passion lies. To make this choice, focus on what you would like to accomplish, both internally and externally. If you have a goal to simply become healthier and more active, there is no singular path to get there. If you try a type of exercise and don’t enjoy it, move on and try something else. In the absence of enjoyment, many find it harder to commit to a fitness routine. The avenues of health can be overwhelming, but their vastness ultimately affords us the opportunity to choose our own adventure.

When on the journey to finding your fit, do not let outside forces push you to one vector or another; rather, listen to opinions, get out of your comfort zone, but ultimately go after what makes you feel best about you. This is not simply from an appearance standpoint. Find a way to lead a more energized and invigorated life that makes you excited to get up in the morning and shows you the physical results you desire. After you’ve completed your workout, jog or circuit, you should look at yourself and feel proud. Accomplished. Powerful. You should be overflowing with endorphins after your workout, no matter how big or small. Be impressed with yourself and your step in the direction toward general self-love and wellbeing.

So do your body, mind and soul a favor and get out there today. Be open to new experiences and be fully invested in finding something that makes your heart race and your persona energized. Take a step forward in choosing your goals and defining your fit, not someone else’s. And when you find that channel, that type of fit that makes your day, make sure you pursue it, harness it and chase after it (pun entirely intended).