What Does It Mean to Be Fit?

by Lance Ekum on · 9 comments

Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept
Creative Commons License photo credit: lumaxart

"The first wealth is health." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

What does it mean to be fit? I’ve been thinking about this recently. There are tests that can be taken (VO2 max, BMI, waist to hip ratio, body fat anlaysis, 1.5 mile run, etc) – the list can go on and on. These can all be useful "tests" to help in determining your fitness level. But what qualifies as being fit?

I see it like a puzzle, with several pieces playing a part.


Nutrition plays a large role in determining how fit you are. This is one of the big factors in the puzzle. We are bombarded by food choices, and it can be very easy to make unfavorable ones. It’s a holiday weekend coming up here in the United States. One of those times when it’s easy to overeat. A splurge here and there is ok, just don’t let that become a habit. The key is to eat in moderation, and eat high quality real foods (vegetables, fruits, quality meats, and quality fats).

Cardio Vascular Fitness

Having a healthy heart comes in part from staying active. One great way to do this is through cardio-type exercises (running, walking, biking, swimming, interval training, etc). These types of exercises elevate your heart rate, which helps to strengthen your heart. They also help to burn calories from your body. Just remember that in addition to burning fat calories, this type of exercise also burns muscle.

Strength Training

Muscle-building exercises are another great way to build your fitness level. Having more muscle in your body will help to reduce the fat stores you have, and will also help to burn more of the calories you are eating. This is an important piece of the puzzle, and one that should not be overlooked.

Family History

Family history can play a role in the fitness puzzle as well. This is an area where someone from the medical field can best help assess the effects family history is having on your overall health and fitness levels.

These are some of the factors that play into determing how fit you are. No one test is going to give you a definitive answer, but they can help in assessing where you’re at.

The key is to remain active, and eat healthy. And don’t forget to consult a doctor or other qualified medical professional with more specifics into many of these areas. Living healthy feels great!

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

MizFit July 3, 2008 at 5:16 pm

and attitude, yes?

a healthy happy optimistic attitude and outlook works wonders.


rebecca July 3, 2008 at 5:39 pm

i just began doing some research on dr. otto warburg, a cell biologist and nobel prize winner that stated that no disease can live in an oxygen-rich environment and because the body needs to maintain a healthy ph balance, it remains healthy by eating alkaline foods like veggies, fruits, leafy greens. too many acidic foods like a diet high in animal products, processed foods and starch leads to acidity which, to make a long story short, in time leads to cancerous cells. according to him, sugar is a tremendous detriment to our health – i knew this on a some level; however, i did not understand the connection on a biological level until i read his findings. look into him, you will find his findings fascinating.


chris July 3, 2008 at 10:25 pm

First, love the quote…2nd I truly believe that eating healthy is probably the most important component of being healthy…3rd self-discipline is most of the time the reason for an unhealthy life-style, which means take it easy on the barbecue this 4th of July.


Barbara Swafford July 4, 2008 at 3:02 am

Hi Lance,

I’ve learned that if WE don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will.

I do agree with Rebecca. Sugar is a culprit, as are white flour products. Apparently they cause inflammation in our bodies, which leads to illnesses.

This post is a great reminder for everyone to tend to their health, including our mental state of mind.

Happy 4th of July to you and yours!


Marelisa July 4, 2008 at 8:47 am

Hi Lance: I do 50 minutes of cardio and lift weights at the gym everyday, Monday to Friday. What gets me is nutrition. I’ve recently changed to whole wheat bread, pasta, and rice,and I’m cutting down on sugar, but I loooooooove eating. I agree with MizFit that attitude is also important. Happy 4th of July!


peter vajda July 4, 2008 at 9:29 am

Hi, Lance,

I think fitness is not about diet alone…or that if I’m “tanned, trimmed and toned”, well, then, I’m “fit.” “Fit” to me means a healthy equlibrium among the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, harmony among these four energy levels.

As a runner, for example, I observe many folks who are “fit” but who are as angry, jealous, envious, frustrated, stressed, overwhlemed, agitated, lonely, anorexic, etc. as ever. They might have the appearance of looking “fit” on the outside, perhaps, but not wholisitically in mind, body and spirit. Fit, perhaps, but certainly not “healthy”.

In my exprience, for one to engage in life in a truly healthy manner, to be “fit”, one needs to experience balance and harmony on these four levels.


Lanceman July 6, 2008 at 1:57 pm

@MizFit – YES! Add another one to the list.

@Rebecca – I’ll check it out. And I’m with you on the negatives of sugar — that’s where I think it’s at.

@Chris – I agree on the importance of diet – now I just need to work on the self-discipline!

@Barbara – Thanks, and I’m with on this too – sugars and white flours. We’ve began to eat mostly whole grains now in place of white flours.

@Marelisa – Great points. You have great determination to get in your exercise every day during the week – that’s awesome!

@Peter – Excellent point – we’ve got to give equal time in all these areas!


Mark Salinas July 7, 2008 at 9:53 am

Yes! An optimistic desire and a strong commitment. Great post!


Lanceman July 7, 2008 at 4:30 pm

@Mark – commitment and desire are definitely important factors, good points.


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