Fitness is so much more than the physical body.
Fitness is not an Instagram post, or abs of steel, big biceps or the lung capacity to run an ultra. It is so much more. It’s a mindset that lasts a lifetime, something that most likely waxes and wanes over the course of your life, from your sparkling indestructible youth to the withering decay of your old age.
It is so much more than your body. It is your mind, your ethics, your diet, your attitude, your spirituality, your sexuality, your reslience and the decisions you make…it is you.
Fitness is not a tangible entity defined by a good rig, but an event, something that is always in motion, that changes as you do. Fitness is basically the ability to perform a task, be that doing a dozen pull-ups or starting a successful company. Your ability to perform tasks as a man is what will define you.
You see, it’s a fact that a man’s usefulness to his society, family, and co-workers is how men are generally defined. He is a good provider and protector; he is good team member, a good father. A man’s usefulness is determined by their ability to make stuff, fix stuff, to produce and to perform. This is what will make you successful, ultimately. Your ability to perform across an array of skills is life fitness for life.
Since your body is the tool that you use to perform day-to-day tasks, it makes sense that it takes the highest priority. Health is the greatest wealth, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re a desk monkey, a suburban dad or a top-flight athlete, getting and keeping your body in good working order should be first on every man’s list of personal priorities.
Secondly, get your head in a good spot and understand yourself. Mental health is a real concern for men, and it should be given the same amount of care as physical health, if not more. Thoughts turn into emotions, emotions turn into actions, and actions dictate the course of your life. Learn to master your mind.
Thirdly is the spirit. There is an imperceptible element to true fitness that doesn’t live in the body or mind, but somewhere beyond, in our connection with others. For example, social awareness, compassion, empathy, judgment and the ability to make good decisions are all part of mental fitness, or as it’s commonly known, wisdom.
The Three-Step Plan to Fitness For Life
Accept that good physical health is the foundation of your life. Your body is the vessel that will carry you through life. It is a pillar of who you are. To paraphrase from the Marine Corps Rifleman’s creed, “This is my body. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My body is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.”
A Strong Mind
Know that you must train your mind as much as you train your body. Just like your body, your mind has different “muscles”, or components. For example, emotional intelligence is as important as cognitive reasoning skills; self-discipline is equally important as anger control. Depression can be mitigated for most men with behavioral and diet changes. Learn to control your mind.
Wisdom is the hardest element of mental fitness. It’s usually acquired over time, and being a good person is hard to quantify or qualify. How to you measure it? How do you measure kindness and compassion? Or bravery for that matter. Or good decision-making abilities? Of course, these things are recognisable in people, but day-to-day they can only truly be self-measured. Are you a better human than you were yesterday? Only you know that, deep down.
Of course, there are many methods, drills, routines, and training regimes you can employ to change all three elements and improve your Fitness for Life, a lot of them are listed on this site.
The simplest way to start getting fit for life is to start exercising. It doesn’t matter if that’s an ultra-marathon or a walk around the block? Get moving. Regularly.