In this world of fitness, there’s always this struggle of starting their journey because they want to look fit, and some having the simplest idea of being fit. Looking fit and being fit are not always the same thing.
Our body is a a huge system made up of individual “modules”. Looking fit and being fit is really a case of training each “module”, to visually look awesome on a certain body part, or training the system to be one awesome, kick-ass tool.
For example, you could train your biceps or your entire arms so they become big, or starve yourself and come out looking like that Piolo Pascual you’ve ever dreamed of, but the moment you ACTUALLY need to do something, you will instantly understand why a lot of fitness models (who look absolutely great) don’t really win Olympic medals. Simply put: it’s not their job to perform at that level, it’s their job to look good.
Have you seen Olympic athletes that are doing off-season? They look absolutely ordinary. But why? Because it’s not their job to impress you with their muscles, it’s their job to be exceptional at what they do when they are competing. But during off-season, they look just like any other person who trains.
You can take a body part, your arms or your abs for example, and work on it and make it look extremely good, and it will!
If you won’t work on your body as a whole you and get each part to harmonize with the rest, you won’t be able to run faster or jump higher and you certainly won’t have greater endurance. You won’t be fit, you’ll just look like you’re fit.
Athletes themselves define fitness between what looks good on the beach and what really allows them to “get the job done”. Similarly, each and every one of us get to decide what it is we want from training: do you want to LOOK like the hero or BE the hero?
Hey! No judgment, and there are no wrong answers here, just like there are no wrong answers in how you want to live your life. We all get what we want as long as it what we really want and that applies to the kind of training you engage yourself onto. I am proud to say that at my current journey, I am really trying to LOOK FIT rather than being fit. And no, there’s nothing wrong about it.
Bodybuilders know this very well, I’ve seen a lot of amazing physique competitors on Facebook (I follow a lot of them like my huge list of #fitspiration) who cut carbs for months and they shape their bodies for the day they will go out there and show what they have achieved. And it gives us awe not just because it represents the beauty of the human body but the resolve of that person inside it. We understand that he or she gave up a lot to look like that and they have worked on that body the same way a sculptor would have. In many respects it’s simply a work of art, but unlike with stone creations these results are temporary because no one can continue to push their body indefinitely. We are all slobs off-season, watch your idols slack it off at some point.
That’s another very, very important aspect of fitness. We see all these breathtaking images of muscled, beautiful men and women all around us, TV, Facebook, Instagram and in magazines… and we feel like we have failed, asking ourselves why don’t we look like that and what can we do to look like that?
The answer is: just go on a quest! If you’ll work hard and stay consistent, and that’s all it really takes, you will look exactly like it for a time. You will look exactly like it for a time because it is a quest and it is an ultimate prize, that “achievement unlocked” moment, but it’s not something you get to keep unless that’s all you do for the rest of your life – and very few people can do it… even when it is their FULL TIME job.
Low body fat and that chiseled starved look don’t last, it can be achieved again and again through tremendous discipline and sacrifice, but it’s not going to stay and it’ll eventually become harder and harder to achieve not just physically but mentally too.
The same goes for performance fitness, if you don’t use it – you lose it, but unlike visual fitness it is a lot more permanent, it extends and improves your quality of life and it can be maintained indefinitely provided you call upon it regularly.
All you have to do is train, consistently. That’s all it takes to be fit, capable and strong. You don’t always have to starve or count calories, you don’t have to give up on the food you love – you just have to work for it.
Because I Am Not Choosing Either Permanently
The two sides of fitness, the physical look and the practical sides of it, are not necessarily exclusive to each other but in this modern world they are more often are. You can go from performance to visual fitness and then back, but you can’t go from visual to performance as easily – it’s going to be a whole different journey. Visual fitness is actually a trick, a promise of performance and strength when there isn’t much of either, it’s an illusion but since anyone looking good is not automatically expected to perform, we are led to believe that it’s the same thing.
So How Do You Begin Your Fitness Journey Now?
To get started either way, identify your goals first: whether you want to look good now or for the rest of your life, whether you want to just look good or whether you also want to be able to do anything with your body and have complete control over it. You have to understand what it is you want from fitness to train right and get the results you want. The main difference between getting the look and being the real deal is the results being permanent, and the quality of your muscles.
You can be fit for life or you can be fit just for the summer. It’s all up to you.
In your OWN fitness journey, remember: there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s simply a choice, and YOUR OWN choice.
So, do you want to LOOK FIT? or BE FIT?