Written by Beau DeCourcy
At some point in recent history people have become remarkably efficient at devaluing the need, and to some degree, the desire for a fit body. Fitness is simply no longer necessary for the majority of the population. Once again, it seems our brains have out evolved our bodies.
The signs of antiquated fitness are everywhere. People are using their body’s capacity as little as possible. Increasingly, people enjoy going for rides rather than walks, play sports via computers, and undergo adventures vicariously through movies and the discovery channel. The need and desire for a fit body has drastically reduced with the increase of not only medical technology, but leisure technology.
One of the major catalysts for the decline of the fit body lays in the idea of averages. Being average is good, right? Maybe good enough to get by, but certainly not exceptional or even desirable. As Dr. Jack Kruse put it: “Is good the enemy of great?” Be careful of average. Remember that most markers of health are not markers of optimal health. In fact, the very ranges used for lab tests are the AVERAGE of those tested. Who do you think gets tested more often, sick people or healthy people?
In terms of the hierarchy of needs, people simply won’t achieve optimal fitness when average is enough. This means, you must make it at least important, if not necessary for you to become optimally fit. Make your vocation or avocation (at least one) physically demanding. If you’re not feeling the idea of leaving CEO status to become a lumberjack, that’s fine. But find a passion either via sport or hobby that gives you a reason to be fit and optimal. I enjoy practicing Brazilian jiu jitsu and climbing. I enjoy them much more when I can perform at a higher level. The quality of my life has been exponentially improved by engaging in them. Because they are both invaluable parts of my life, I eat, move and sleep better.
Let your passion, whatever it may be, fuel your desire to be optimal. Watch fewer movies about people doing amazing things, and get out and do something amazing yourself. Watch the UFC less and try out martial arts first hand. Tired of paying high gas prices? Walk or bike to work. Optimal fitness makes living exceptional lives far more possible.
There are numerous opportunities to engage the world with a fit and energetic body. Make these opportunities an important part of your life. Eat and move to fuel your passions, rather than to quiet your doctor. Don’t take the easy way every time, take the fun way. In the end, the ‘why’ is always more important than the ‘how.’
When was the last time you questioned average? What drives you to be optimal?