What does it mean to be in shape?

July 27, 2021

I'm an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor Personal Trainer & Yoga Teacher who specializes in helping you live a cyclical life to help you heal your hormones. 

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Hi, I'm Andrea

    What does it mean to be in shape?

    This was a question posed by one of the podcast listeners and I thought it would make a great podcast topic. Let's dissect what it means to be "in shape."

    What does be in shape mean?

    When I did a quick Google search the Oxford English dictionary was the first definition to pop up here is what it said..

    • In good physical condition.
    • To play this game well you need to be in shape.

    Basically not much...

    Perceptions about what we think  when we say we are in shape

    • You have to be an athlete
    • Being in shape means you're in a smaller body frame
    • Your age plays a large factor of how in shape you can be
    • We can do x amount of pushups in a minute, we can hold a 10 minute plank, or do a pull-up and run a 6 minute mile

     

    What does it mean to be in shape

    Who decides who is in shape?

    A few articles I read said your personal trainer, doctor or physical therapist will let you know how "in shape" you are... Well I'm here to tell you I've been a personal trainer for 14 years and I've never read a manual that said this is how we can tell how in shape someone is.

     

    It's different for everyone

    I know not the answer you might want to hear, but it really is a personal answer. I've worked with some of my clients for almost 10 years now. I know what level is their baseline and how far I can push each individual client. I've also worked with numerous clients after giving birth and know they don't feel like their highest athlete selves and its my job to help them workout in a safe manner but also get them back to the level they feel most comfortable at.

    What does it mean to be in shape

    Think about your own fitness through the years

    • Middle & High school- Were you an athlete did you have sports practices? Did you workout outside of sports? Did you have a 6 pack? I think many of us get stuck with the 18 year old version of ourselves not taking into account we might be in our late 30's now with a kid or two, possibly married, working full time, and a lot more stress on our plates. We have the 18 year old us stuck on our brain thinking we need to look like her...
    • College-This can be a time we weren't feeling our best. Even if you were in athlete odds are you didn't have much money, you ate cheap food, you drank one too many beers, or had one too many shots on the weekends, you had a sporadic sleep schedule and maybe never even knew where your college gym was located.
    • Early adult life-I will say from personal experience I was living very much like college Andrea. I still went out on weekends, didn't have much money, worked from sun-up to sun down and still got my workouts in but really didn't fuel myself well nutritionally.
    • Becoming a parent- This can throw another wrench into things. Now we have a sporadic sleep schedule, another human being to take care of, and our bodies feel like they don't belong to us.
    • Life after your done having kiddos- You get to know your body again. Your done having kids so you're trying to find what does in shape mean for me? I've had many women have this section of their life feel the most in shape. After kids are a little older, you might have more time on your hands. You start to sign-up for races, you pickup a new exercise routine, you might start a yoga teacher training, play the sport you loved to play as a kid. You really start to push your body and possibly feel more comfortable in your own skin.
    • Menopause- I cannot speak from personal experience but from clients opinions this can be a trying time again. You start to feel like you're going backwards with your health goals. You might have more trouble losing weight, you feel like you gain weight looking at a bag of chips. This can be a mentally trying time. It still can be a time where you improve your health. You still can reach new fitness goals. You can lift heavier weights, and still push your body to try new things. I don't think we as women here this enough after menopause doesn't mean we need to never play tennis again, or lift weights in public again. We need to reduce the stigma of women pushing themselves not for the sake of a banging body, but because they really enjoy movement. They like to tell their friends they can lift 20 pound weights. They can do a headstand in yoga class.
    • 65+ age group- This age group is changing up the way being in shape at this age looks like. I've worked with this population for 10+ years now. I've had more 90+ year olds in class lifting 10 pound weights still, they are able to stand up and squat down to their chairs without using their hands, they are trying yoga class. They go on 30 mile bike rides. This to me is being in shape really at any age but in particular for the population we often deemed as having trouble walking without a walker.

    So what does it mean to be in shape?

    In my opinion it's something different at every stage of life. We never know what curveballs life throws at us. My neighbor for example is in a wheelchair from taking too many steroids at a young age. He still works out regularly. What he considers in shape now is different.

     

    For others being in shape is can I get off the floor without using the couch or a chair to get up. While others can I balance well enough to walk at my grandsons baseball game in uneven grass. While some of us to be in shape means can I run a 7 minute mile. It's very different and with each decade we have more mileage on our bodies. Our in shape goal might change. If you used to run a 7 minute mile and you're now at a 8:30 minute mile, but your knees feel good, & your lung capacity feels great. Why is the 7 minute mile the bar for you? If you're running a race and you want to place that's one thing but if it's because that's what you did 20 years ago, maybe it's time for a new standard, or you have grace with yourself as you work towards being the fastest you, you can be.

    The Reality everyone's "in-shape" is different.

    • Running a 8 minute mile so they can place in the 5k race for their age division
    • Being able to go up and down stairs without being winded
    • Being able to touch your toes easily
    • Not having joint pain
    • Getting up off the floor after playing with grandkids without needing to crawl to a couch to do so
    • A 92 year old lifting weights so they can hold their newest great grandchild
    What does it mean to be in shape

    Conclusion

    Ask yourself why you think that is what in shape means to you? Is a 6 pack a signal in your body or was that 18 year old you which was 20 years ago..

     

    If you want a few landmarks of what to look at for being in shape from a personal training perspective-

    • Flexibility/Mobility- How easily can you move your body.
    • Cardiorespiratory Endurance- Can you run a mile easily, or walk 3 miles for example?
    • Muscular Strength- Can you do push ups or lift 10 pounds or more?
    • Muscular Endurance- Can you hold a plank for 30 seconds, or wall sit.
    • Body Composition- How much body fat do you have? See below for the numbers.
    What does it mean to be in shape

    Body Fat Percentages

    Women                 

    Athletes -  14-20%

    Fitness-  21-24%

    Average-  25-31%

    Obese-   32% plus

     

    Men                 

    Athletes -  6-13%

    Fitness-  14-17%

    Average-  18-25%

    Obese-   26% plus

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      I'm an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor Personal Trainer & Yoga Teacher who specializes in helping you live a cyclical life to help you heal your hormones. 

      categories

      Ayurveda

      Menstrual cycle

      Seasonal Living

      Hallmark Channel

      popular posts

      Should women do HIIT workouts all month long?

      Ayurvedic Approach to Menstrual Cycle

      How to do a castor oil pack

      Hi, I'm Andrea