Fitness, Health & Wellness
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A Paseo Del Mar jog. (photo: John Mattera Photography)

If this were about preferences, I’d be more understanding. It isn’t. 

Your capacity to move, bend, throw, push, pull, and jump is precisely that — it’s your capacity to navigate the world we live in with physical competency.

We aren’t talking about preferences. Some people like their coffee black, while others enjoy spicing it up with a bit of milk and sugar. Liking or disliking fitness is neither here nor there. 

I think how you spend your time acquiring fitness isn’t a matter of opinion, either. Do you really like your Suzanne Somers’ Toning System Workout at-home DVD set? Great! You can include Titanic, The Usual Suspects, and Caddyshack in the mix as a list of your favorite movies. Are you obsessed with how much you sweat in your local hot yoga class? Awesome! You can put it on the list with windsurfing, cooking, and Sudoku as your favorite pastimes.

If your preferred fitness practice doesn’t make you a formidable contender for life, fine, but don’t stop there. You still have to address that whole fitness thing. None of this replaces, addresses, or remotely relates to the requisite responsibility to navigate our world effectively and independently. You’re either engaged in improving load capacity (how much you can lift/carry), range of motion, and work, or you’re not.

Sure, sometimes we get lucky, and we find something that we like that also covers the bases of health and wellness. But I see a real problem with holding on to, say, cycling as a be-all and end-all training discipline because you prefer it when we need to recognize that we cannot trade in personal preference for glaring failures in the basic capacity to squat, jump, or maintain basic posture under load, for (a hypothetical) example. 

There are not enough fake fitness videos or cheeseball fitness classes on the planet to replace the answers to fundamental questions: Can you move? Are you strong? Do you have the capacity to excel at what life presents you? 

Still can’t find an avenue to capture real fitness? Take an honest look at the practices you’re considering. Are the practitioners of any particular movement style becoming capable humans? Skinny isn’t necessarily capable, either. Furthermore, if one wanted to become remarkable (i.e., the best version of themselves), would this particular practice afford them that opportunity? 

Now, what does a formidable contender for life look like? Parents can play tag for 45 minutes at their three-year-old’s birthday party, fall, roll, and get back to their feet without injury. I’d say it was my 90-year-old grandmother who fell while she was alone at home and was able to pull herself to a chair to call for help and ended up with minor bruises. She preferred not to be in a gym and lift weights but did it anyway with me for the last eight years of her life. She started late, but you know what they say: When is the best time to plant a tree? Seven years ago, and the second best time is today. 

Now, push your preferences aside and start becoming the best version of yourself. spt

Eddie McKenna

Eddie McKenna is co-owner of Heyday Elite Fitness. For more info, visit