Is a triathlete who cannot lift their own bodyweight generally fit?
Is a bodybuilder who cannot run 2 miles without stopping generally fit?
Is a powerlifter who cannot touch his toes generally fit?
No, they are not generally fit. They are specifically fit. They are fit for the thing that they do. Conversely, generally fit is the idea that you are able to do a little bit of everything. When you are generally fit, you might not be able to beat the specifically fit in their area of expertise but you will be more able than them in almost all other things.
For the person who wants to look good, feel good, and be fit and active for as long as possible no matter what life throws at them, general fitness is the key.
So What is General Fitness?
General fitness means that you are able to display abilities in 10 physical fitness attributes.
These 10 Attributes are:
- Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance – your body’s ability to gather and deliver oxygen
- Stamina – your body’s ability to deliver and use energy
- Flexibility – your body and/or muscles to maximize range of motion at a given point
- Strength – your muscles ability to apply force
- Power – your muscles ability to apply maximum force in minimum time
- Speed – your ability to cycle movements quickly
- Coordination – your ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a single, seamless movement
- Agility – your ability to quickly and efficiently move from one movement to another
- Balance – your ability to control your center of gravity in and given position
- Accuracy – you ability to control a movement in any given direction or intensity
Your fitness is reflected in your competency in each of these 10. Increased competency is reflected in your ability to display aptitude in these attributes individually, in different combinations, and under a variety of different stressors. “Stressors” include increased loads, increased complexity, varied volume, different movement combinations, and different lengths of time for exercise (to improve energy deliver over all “metabolic pathways“).
How is General Fitness Obtained?
The 10 attributes are obtained and improved differently and your fitness programming needs to ensure that it takes the differences into account:
- Endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility are obtained via “organic” change in the body. This means you need to consistently train to make your muscles bigger and stronger, blood and oxygen circulation more efficient, heart stronger and more efficient, muscles more elastic with little or no knots, etc.
- Coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy are obtained via a “neurological” change in the body. Improving your nervous system’s ability to connect your brain with your joints and muscles so you have more control over your body. This is done via practice. You do not necessarily need to change the structure of your muscles, joints, veins, etc. but need to practice garnering control over them.
- Power and speed are adaptations that require both organic training and neurological practice.
You fitness program then needs to test and improve you competency in these abilities by adding stressors to the movements, exercises, skills, and drills you will perform. These stressors will come in the form of increased loads, increased complexity, varied volume, different movement combinations, and different lengths of time for exercise.
The key to ensuring your improving overall competency is variety. Variety in everything from weight, difficulty of movement, number of reps, length of time, structure/goal of workout, length of rest period, etc. If you keep your workouts constantly varied, you will not simply show an ability in specific exercises or routines but abilities in movement and body control, which is true competency in the 10 attributes. At this point your body will be ready for whatever it is asked to do, inside or outside the gym.
Please keep in mind that your body we continually adapt. It will create new lean muscle, get rid of excess body fat, increase blood and oxygen circulation, add new mind muscle neurological connections, and much more. As a result, learning, testing, and improving upon the 10 physical attributes are not mutually exclusive of each other but are constantly interchanging. Therefore, what you learn and develop from a drill on Day 1 will likely be different from what you learn and develop from that same drill on Day 100 or Day 1000.
What does this mean? It means that general fitness is an ever changing and constantly progressing ride throughout your entire life. So as you progress now and in the future, you need to adjust and adapt your programming to ensure you are constantly improving your competency in the attributes.
Flex Fitness OT incorporates the above into all of its programming
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