My social media feed is relatively quiet, I purposefully follow very few people. I think it’s too easy to follow hundreds or thousands of people and essentially miss everything being posted whilst you scroll through an endlessly updating feed of photos and videos. I follow people whose messages and posts are relevant to my interests and who post content that I can generally learn something from or that will inspire me in some way.

Thankfully this approach allows me to see things like this quote:

“Your body needs to become an instrument not an ornament. Your body should reflect what you are training for.”

The quote is from Ross Edgley who I can best describe as a fitness adventurer. To avoid a massive tangent about who Ross is I’ll list some of his achievements to sum up what he’s all about. Ross has: run a marathon towing a car, completed a 8,848 meter rope climb (the height of Everest), ran 1000m barefoot carrying 50kg, swam 100km towing a fucking tree and in my opinion most impressively he has swam around Great Britain. (Swimming around Britain gets more and more impressive the more you think about it. That’s 2000 miles of swimming, for months on end.)

Back to the post. The quote was part of a post about how he was carrying a little more weight when he completed his swim than he is now he’s focusing more on running challenges. He was explaining that in order to swim around the UK, something I think we can all agree requires a monumental level of fitness, that he had to look a little less ‘fit’ than people might have imagined.

And this got me thinking: how much better ‘fitness’ would be if we all focused on what we can actually do with our bodies rather than what our bodies looked like they can do.

The ‘fitness’ world is obsessed with appearances: six pack abs, sculpted arms and pert bums. Ultimately most people don’t care if that translates to a strong core, good upper body strength or a great posterior chain. We merely want the appearance of fitness, the ornament, over the actual fitness, the instrument.

Now I understand, and am indeed guilty of, wanting to look good naked. I imagine very few people in the gym could honestly say they had absolutely no interest in looking good. However I think we’ve gone too far this way. I think it’s time we got back to focusing on our bodies capabilities rather than it’s appearance, started focusing on how many pull ups we can do rather than how big our arms look in a tight t-shirt. I think we should start following people like Ross on social media and being amazed by his work ethic than following the same generic person posting pictures of their *insert desired body part and look*.

So by all means have a goal to loose weight, look ‘better’, tone up or indeed gain some size. But also have a goal to be better, move faster, lift heavier and generally perform better. I find this approach is much more fun and much more rewarding!