Welcome back, so my last post boldly stated 'I want to get fit', but what is fitness and how will I measure it? (check me out, post number 2, does this make me a blogger yet?)
From what I remember from my A-level sport studies classes at college 'fitness' can be defined as "having enough energy to complete your day-to-day activities, with enough energy left over for emergencies". Brilliant! I'm already fit, in the sense that I can sit on my arse playing Skyrim for 8 hours a day, followed by ringing an emergency Dominoes when I run out of food. That's more than enough energy for my day to day activities followed by a bit left over just in case.
Therefore I think it's important to remember that everyones definition of fitness should be unique and tailored to what their individual needs are. For me, the goals I want to see from improved fitness can fall into four categories.
1. I want to look good
Shallow?! Possibly, but let me defend myself before you judge me to harshly. Doesn’t everyone want to look a little better? I can’t remember a time pre fat, I’ve always had a muffin top, round face and flabby chest (aka the man boob). As a dude, (and I dare say that it's 100X worse for dudettes) we are bombarded in magazines, TV, Films and now even video games* with what real men should like. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need a chiselled six pack or an extra 4” on each of biceps, I just want to look good for my fiancée Helen (FYI I’m getting married next year, another reason to get Fit4Thirty!). I want her to check me out when I’m getting out of the shower or getting changed, rather than dry heaving followed by running for cover.
2. I want to be healthy
Defining health is another woolly topic, just like defining fitness. For my purposes I’m looking at health from a purely medical point of view. I just don’t want to get sick and I want to live longer with a better quality of life in my twilight years. Heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and sleep apnoea are amongst a huge list of disease that I’m at risk of right now, simply by being overweight.
3. I want to be a better runner
In 2010 I decided I wanted to run the Great North Run, a 1/2 marthon from Newcastle to South Shields. That was my first ‘event’ and I’ve done several since, each easier than the last and each more enjoyable. I don’t want to be a sprinter like Usain Bolt or a long distance runner like Mo Farah, I just want to reach my potential and run quicker, stronger and injury free.
4. I want to be stronger
I love that old Charles Atlas comic that advertised his workouts, where a scrawny little guy gets sand kicked in his face while the beefed up guy gets the girl. Cue the workout, which gets scrawny guy to be strong, who then kicks the beefed up guys butt and gets the girl, they all live happily ever after… except presumably the beefed up guy who receives a lesson in humility. I’m a metrosexual kind of a guy, I don’t want or need to kick anyone’s butt, but I do want to be able to look after myself and those I care about. I want to feel safe in the knowledge that I could pull Helen and my dog Mollie from a burning building or take on any new activity without looking like John Waynes and Quasimodos love child the next day.
Well that’s it, my goals for fitness are simply; looking good, been healthy, running better and been stronger. I will post later about how I aim to measure improvements in all these goals.
Again, my first weigh in is on Monday. I’m also going to be providing a very brief overview of my weekly workout plan and what my diet will look like.
*A frivolous look at the changing stereotypes in video games by A. Borthwick:
The 80s were a golden age for male role models within computer games, with realistic and attainable bodies. Pac-Man was released in 1980, he was and still is a round fellow, whose primary aim in life is to eat pac-dots. A year later a portly Italian plumber called Mario debuts as ‘Jump-Man’ in the Donkey Kong game, subsequent games have heavy references to food (Peach and Mushrooms). Fast forward ten years to 1991 and Sonic the Hedgehog is released, a thin hedgehog with an obsession for high intensity cardio – his arch nemesis? A fat doctor! The same year a blonde muscle bound hero who enjoys kicking ass and chewing bubble gum hits the scene in the very first Duke Nukem game. This trend for muscular and physically fit male video game characters continued throughout the 90s and 00s and here we are in 2012, were companies are trying to sell us Wii fit and Kinect Fitness Evolved as legitimate video games. For shame.