The principle of ‘form follows function’ is associated with 20th century architecture and design; i.e. the shape of a building or object should primarily relate to its intended function or purpose.
Similarly, there is a general understanding of what it means to be ‘fit’. A person’s fitness is defined by the ability to carry out a task. It means being as active as possible in line with your goals. Essentially it means that you are able to do stuff.
What does it mean to do stuff? That is objective and open to interpretation. It means working towards and being able to complete a physical task that has meaning to you. To be functionally able. This again is open to interpretation.
Not everyone is an aspiring marathoner, Olympian or has designs to squat, bench press or deadlift their own bodyweight. But everyone can aspire to be able to run around after their kids or grandkids. To be able to walk up a flight of stairs without being winded. To be able to lift and carry their luggage or shopping and to be able to get off the floor without aid. Actions and goals you can be proud of.
When it comes to health and fitness, you are what you do or not do. Ideally, we do not set out to be “fit and healthy” for a few weeks. In contrast, we do not obtain a level of fitness and expect to maintain it without constant work, focus and dedication.
Your health and fitness is not a temporary project or sometimes thing done at fleeting intervals of motivation. Set your own standards of strength, performance, health and fitness and do meaningful work in line with those standards. Chase personal bests, personal victories and break through plateaus and limitations, physical, mental and social.
By osmosis you will naturally find yourself making better food choices, better lifestyle choices which will lead to long term health and fitness success. By prioritising health and fitness, making it part of your lifestyle, it becomes something you are at your core. Proper nutrition, hydration, adequate sleep, moving your body and managing emotions and external stress. These commitments to yourself are things that stay with you for life. It will have direct correlation to how you feel inside, how you feel on a daily basis. And your outlook on life.
Everyone has their idea of what a functionally fit and aesthetically pleasing physique looks like. Improving performance improves physique. It will be challenging and uncomfortable. Olympians are renowned for their grit, determination, work ethic and capacity in the face of adversity. Those who have run a marathon will know the discomfort and challenge of crossing the finish line.
Having your happiness governed by a number on the scales or having to manage the impact of living with a preventable lifestyle disease such as Type 2 Diabetes (no longer called adult-onset diabetes) will also a challenge and uncomfortable. It is a matter of determining your discomfort and what you will be comfortable with.
For many, weighing themselves causes anxiety, a bad weigh in can ruin their day. These feelings are generally a manifestation of insecurities and acknowledgement of lack of candour and work ethic. When levels of self confidence and self esteem are dictated by body weight, if the soul focus is on the scales, it is guaranteed failure. It removes the connection from that which is most important to success, permanent lifestyle change.
Instead of using the scales as a barometer of success, what would happen if it was just a consequence of physical ability and discipline in and out of training? If it was a by-product of holding yourself to a higher standard and staying committed to lifestyle change regardless of motivation. Achieving through action. Choose your discomfort, choose to become a better version of yourself. Do the work and reap the rewards. The process is the goal.