Being fit is not only about being able to meet the demands of your daily activities (work, school, etc) well, but about having that extra energy for other recreational pursuits, unplanned activities, and/or emergencies without getting too tired. These two definitions that I found are what I think the most accurate and complete.

The first definition by Clarke (1976) is the one which was used by most Physical Education subjects:

The ability to carry out daily tasks (work and play) with vigour and alertness, without undue fatigue and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and to meet unforeseen emergencies.

Hoeger (2006) rephrased the definition while keeping it specific and complete:

The ability to meet the ordinary as well as the unusual demands of daily life safely and effectively without being overly fatigued and still have energy left for leisure and recreational activities.

Cardio-vascular Endurance, Muscular Endurance, and Speed are the main components in Running.

Cardio-vascular Endurance, Muscular Endurance, and Speed are the main components in Running.

Fitness has various aspects which should be fully understood by coaches and trainers for a more elaborate and complete training program that would help the athlete/client reach his/her goals effectively. It is subdivided into two kinds of components that helps define it more specifically: Health-related components and Skill-related components. This means that a person can be healthy without being fit. Therefore, I believe that for the sedentary individual who wants to change and live life to the full, the coach/trainer should set Fitness as the main goal and not just “Health.”

There have been a lot of variations with regards to the number of Components of Fitness – some say there are as many as 12 while others narrow it down to as few as 4 components. For me, being specific is important to fully understanding the primary goal of achieving Fitness and that there are 11 Components that should be considered with regards to exercise programming. One thing to keep in mind is the Principle of Individuality – for every component each person has a different ‘level of fitness‘ compared to another, and the level to be reached for athletes (ie, ‘high and competitive fitness level’) may be different for regular individuals (average or above average fitness level). For example, some people relate being fit to just body composition and strength, but flexibility should also be targeted even for the office worker to relieve him/her of chronic back pains. However, the target level of flexibility for the sedentary individual would be much lower compared to the target for athletes, like those who train in gymnastics.

Another thing to remember: while it is important to be aware of the specifics, training for these Fitness Components usually overlap and it might not be helpful to over-analyze the training program and develop each component interdependently. A good exercise program whether for athletes or for ordinary individuals would have those components working together, and just focus on a single component to be developed when it seems necessary.

Health-related Components

    1.) Cardio-Respiratory Endurance– the ability of the heart, lungs and blood vessels (Cardiovascular and Respiratory System) to deliver oxygen to the working muscles and remove wastes.

    This component requires the Aerobic (Oxidative) System to provide energy for activities done for prolonged periods (continuous for about an hour and more) and involves the whole body (ie, running, swimming, bicycling). The level of Cardio-Respiratory Endurance can be observed not only by how long a person/athlete can sustain an activity, but also on how fast he/she recovers during rest.

Muscular Endurance.

Muscular Endurance.

    2.) Muscular Endurance– this refers to the local or individual ability of a muscle to sustain work for a prolonged period of time with due fatigue.
    3.) Muscular Strength– this is the ability of the muscles to exert force against a resistance. There are types of Muscular strength: Isometric contraction (resisting force without moving or shortening muscles), Dynamic or Isotonic contraction (ie, pushing, pulling, lifting), and Isokinetic contraction.
    4.) Flexibility– this refers to the continuum of Range of Motion (ROM) that a joint or sequence of joints can fully reach. It can be either static (flexibility without moving) or dynamic (moving a joint through its ROM while doing an activity/sport).
    5.) Body Composition– our body is composed mainly of bone, muscle, and fat. The ratio between the three is essential to knowing the fitness level of an individual, that is, the contrast of the mass of bones, muscle and organs (lean body mass) against body fat. The leanness or fatness of an indiviudal may vary according to one’s somatotype (body type), age, and weight, but there are norms to determine the healthy ratio for a specific person.

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    A significant amount of Flexibility is important even to non-athletes.

    A significant amount of Flexibility is important even to non-athletes.

    Skill-related Components

      6.) Speed– is measured by the distance covered over time, or simply, how fast the body can move quickly in one direction. This is shown in running forward, backpedaling, or side stepping.
      7.) Power– Power is the product of force and speed (Force x Distance/Time). It is the combination of strength and speed which produces the maximal contraction in one explosive act (ex, jumping, throwing).
      8.) Coordination– refers to the ability of the body to control the muscles of the body in a flowing and harmonious way to produce the most efficient desired action. The neuromuscular and musculoskeletal systems work together for an accurate execution of a physical task. This is very important in other skill-related components of Fitness.
      9.) Balance– as the name implies, this is the ability of the body to maintain equilibrium whether in a static (single-leg stand or handstand) or dynamic position. Dynamic balance is essential to any sport.
      10.) Reaction Time– refers to the quickness of the nervous system to respond to an eternal stimuli. The brain receives the stimuli (by the 5 senses) and sends signals to specific muscles to respond appropriately. This will show the worth of repeated practice sessions that cause the muscles to “memorize” the necessary movements.
      11.) Agility– this is the ability to change direction quickly while moving at a fast speed. It is a combination of flexibility, coordination, balance, speed, and power. This can be seen in sports such as tennis, football, basketball, and the likes.
    Sports such as Football utilizes all of the Skill-related Components of Fitness.

    Sports such as Football utilizes all of the Skill-related Components of Fitness.

    Note again that these health and skill related components of Fitness are not discrete – they usually overlap and work with each other. Thus, developing a training program need not to be too specific to address each component individually as long as the exercises and drills work the necessary components required to reach the desired goal for the athlete or client.





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  1. Princess says:

    Cool mo talaga kuya Billy! Stay fit! 🙂


  2. […] is known to be used and apply mostly for resistance training. However, training for the other components of fitness can also benefit from the use of the FITT Principle. Primarily, training for Cardiovascular […]


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