Nowadays Fitness has become overly sport specific, people tend to think of fitness as “fitness for a particular use”.
I am sure you have met people who run 10 miles every morning with ease but if you ask them to bench press their body weight, you better stick around to spot them because it is not going to go well.
In contrast, when I was younger on a family vacation I met a man who was about to compete in the world body building competition. He worked out 3-4 hours a day and had to wake up in the middle of the night for some chicken and rice to make sure he didn’t lose any weight. This man (who actually ended up taking second place) could not scratch the back of his head!
How insane is that?
He was a young guy in “peak” physical shape yet if his wife ever left him, he literally wouldn’t be able to scratch his head without her.
So… If fitness isn’t running distance everyday, or being massive, What is fitness?
The definition of Fitness is “the capacity of an organism to survive and transmit its genotype to reproductive offspring as compared to competing organisms”
Fancy Talk for- Fitness is the ability to survive the physically harsh conditions of our environment and then have enough down time to impregnate or be impregnated by the opposite sex.
You could take that one of two ways:
1) Nowadays to be fit all I would have to do is have a home to shield me from the harsh environment and have a women to spill my seed into. (or a man to spill seed into me)
2) I need to be physically fit enough to survive if I hypothetically went outside.
To be fit enough for survival there are five necessary skills that I believe all people should learn in at least a basic capacity.
1) Run- The most basic survival skill. A viable solution to problems even in today’s modern world. Say you are on the street and someone with a knife tries to take your wallet, Run. Or the opposite, imagine you steal something and you want to get away, Run. Additionally if you are on foot and you want to simply get somewhere faster, Run!
Pro tip: Until we invent jetpack shoes this ones not going out of style
2) Swim- 71% of the earth is water. That is a lot of places where running is pretty useless, except in helping to build the stamina necessary for swimming. In my opinion every person should know how to swim. It should be taught in schools along with the alphabet. Additionally it is not enough to know how to doggie paddle. Learn the strokes Breast stroke, front crawl, and backstroke. People have been swimming for thousands of years and have pretty much figured out the most efficient way to move through water and it’s easy to learn.
Pro tip: If you are scared of water, start by drinking a glass to conquer the element
3) Climbing- Imagine you are hiking along and you come to a dead end. The path is quite narrow and to the right of you there is a drop off that would result in certain death. To the left of you is a ten-foot rock face with a clearing just past it and plenty of space to continue your adventure. Just to make things more interesting there is also an alligator creeping up the path behind you. At this point in your life it would be good to know the basic principals of rock climbing. Use your legs, keep your hips close to the wall, relax and breathe.
Pro Tip- Pay attention to what you are doing, look where you are going and insure its humanly possible
4) Lifting- The ability to move a heavy object is useful in every aspect of life. From building shelter, to caring an injured person, there are no shortage of hypotheticals where being a proficient lifter is not practical. Later articles will go into great detail on this front but two main points: Learn to deadlift (you should know how to pick things up) and breathe properly.
Pro tip: It appears the opposite gender cares about the resulting ascetic effect it has on the body
5) Fighting- firstly let me say that I personally am not a fighter and have never been one. Although I do practice martial arts because if a fight inevitable occurs and I would much prefer to be the winner. Additionally I find the most effective strategy is running, (see #1) that being said, sometimes you have no other option. If the situation arises it would be nice to feel comfortable, keep moving, tuck your chin, and keep your hands up.
Pro tip: the best fight is one that doesn’t happen. Although if you are not afraid to fight you can bet the other guy will begin to question his decision.
Are these five skills the end all be all of physical fitness? Not at all but in terms of breaking the world done in to five transferable skills that I believe will help you in all aspects of life, this is an excellent place to start!
Disclaimer: If you are training for a sport, practice your sport diligently. If you are working out to gain physical competence, the above are the best tasks to become well rounded. (The above skills are in not in order of importance!)