The terms “fitness” and “in shape” are used interchangeably in the gym atmosphere on a regular basis without much thought given to how the two might have different meanings altogether.
Let’s look at the term “fitness” for a second.
Let’s explore the meaning of the term and also how one might become “fit”. Fitness as defined by Webster is; “the condition of being physically fit and healthy”. I think that’s kind of an odd definition considering the word “fit” is used in the definition. Crossfit defines fitness as; “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains”. No other entity has come up with a different or better definition.
Let’s look a moment at what “in shape” means.
Webster defines it as; “in good physical health”. On the surface, it appears that there is not much difference between the two terms. However, the difference is vast and the path to each is considerably different as well.
Someone who is fit; based on the definition given by Crossfit, must vary his/her workouts to encompass time, different modalities, odd objects, and intensity not seen in most gyms. Working out this way provides more exposure to a greater number of challenges. Therefore, allowing a person to at least become familiar with a wider range of movements and activities that your average person going to the gym three days per week won’t experience.
An “in shape” individual is someone who relies heavily on and maybe even solely on what equipment is available in a typical gym. Movements such as bench press, shoulder press, leg extensions, and lat pulldowns make up the foundation of a typical gym workout. Other multi-joint movements like squats, pullups, and deadlifts are also part of a typical workout to get “in shape.”
When it’s all said and done, the “in shape” individual has muscles that look nice, very asymmetrical, and well defined. Take this person out of the gym and ask him/her to perform tasks such as what would be necessary for a firefighter, police officer, or someone in the military, and the “in shape” person may struggle. The muscles look good, but are just that..” for show.”
Take another individual who has constantly changed his/her routine to include running, jumping, crawling, throwing, and climbing; at high levels of intensity and he/she will also have nice looking muscles, also be well defined, but also be able to perform “outside” of the gym at a higher level.