Fitness Is Defined By Activities, Not Weight

Posted: August 25, 2014 in Problems
Tags: , , ,

I’ve always hated the terms “fit” or “athletic” to describe a body type, though I’ll admit to having fallen into it myself. But the thing is “fit” and “athletic” do not describe a type of body but activities. Fit and athletic bodies can take many different shapes and sizes.

What athlete’s bodies look like.

I’ve written some a little about this before: when Prince Fielder posed nude and got fat shamed for it, my problems with the phrase “strong is sexy” because it ignores strong women who are not conventionally attractive and thin, and a post on the difference between “muscular” vs low body fat. Looking at the athletes mentioned in those posts and you will see that fit and athletic bodies do not all look like fitness models.

Now the other day I came across someone online telling a story. It was a thin woman talking about how a fat friend of hers dared to think she (fat friend) was more fit just because when doing physical activities the fat friend had an easier time doing it. This person was very confused how anyone could think a higher body weight could be more fit than a lower body weight.

Meanwhile I stare at my screen in disbelief that someone could not understand that being better able to do various fitness activities would mean being more fit. Obviously this is not black and white because not all fitness activities are the same, take two athletes and have them compete in a different sport and they won’t do as great at it. If we took all the folks pictured above and had them compete in one athletic activity, it would be an unfair measure because they are athletes in different sports. And certainly it’s possible to be fit in general and have a bad day where it may not seem like it. But still, fitness is activity based, not body size based. Being thin does not automatically make you fit if you aren’t actually engaging in fitness. And fat people can be fit and athletic too. So yes, a person with a higher body weight/BMI/body fat can certainly be more fit than a thin person.

Though I think we should aim for not tearing others down to make ourselves feel better, such as pointing out another person being less fit to feel better about your fitness. But I can also understand that fat people are expected to prove their fitness in ways never expected of thin people, so I can understand why someone would feel good about being able to outdo thin friends in physical activities as a counterweight to the typical message that fat folks are always worse at physical activities than thin people.

  1. obesetwentysomething says:

    I carry 40 more kilo’s up the stairs than the thin chick behind me. I think that means I’m fit!

  2. lozette says:

    Someone (a fellow lifter who I *used* to respect) told me that Holley Mangold couldn’t possibly be fit. That’s Olympic Weightlifter Holley Mangold. Who went to the London 2012 Olympics. Uh-huh.

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