Fitness is a complex term. This is why when you ask someone for a universal definition of fitness you usually get something vague like this, “Fitness is being fit”. Don’t believe me, ask someone (even fitness professionals). But once you understand the true nature of fitness, I’m confident you’ll see why bodyweight training for fitness should be a part of your over-all workout program.
So, let’s begin with my definition of physical fitness!
Fitness is the acceptable and deliberate compromise of competence and ability to perform in all the areas of cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, accuracy and toughness to produce optimum performance results under the greatest amount of circumstances.
You’d better read that again to make sure you get it.
As you can see, fitness is more than being strong. It is more than having powerful heart and lungs. Fitness is the ability to use all your physical abilities simultaneously and seamlessly to overcome physical challenges. And bodyweight training is an excellent method for training for over-all fitness!
Normally, people seeking fitness focus on only one or two of the physical abilities needed to be fit. Or, they base their training on the RESULT of being fit, like burning fat or building muscle. You see, having muscle or being lean does not necessarily mean you are fit! However, being fit usually manifests itself as a strong, muscular, lean body.
There are three types of challenges you’ll face in sport, work and life.
1) The challenge requires you move your body to successfully complete the task
2) The challenge requires you move an exterior object to successfully complete the task
3) The challenge requires you to move your body and an exterior object to successfully complete the task
And to make things more complicated, the challenge can require any of the physical abilities of fitness and in any combination. As you can see, being able to move your own body is needed for two of the types of challenges, and therefore should be trained accordingly. Bodyweight training is that important.
Think of it this way, there are so many abilities to train in order to be fit, you need a versatile tool capable of training them all. And there is no better tool than your own body. Bodyweight training can effectively target all of the physical abilities needed to be fit.
Compare bodyweight training to weight training. Bodyweight training is a much more accessible and versatile form of training. Don’t get me wrong, I like weight training and think it superior for some types of training. I just think bodyweight training has more to offer in terms of improving all the physical skills of fitness.
So, if you want to truly be fit, you need to improve all the physical abilities of fitness. Bodyweight training for fitness should be a part of everyone’s physical training program. Because when you are truly fit, you’ll not only meet the challenges of sport, work and life with excellence, you’ll look great too!