As I prepare for this Friday's Fitness First X-Training Challenge, the so called "UAE's fittest man and woman" competition, a blog on fitness. Who are the fittest sportsmen on the planet?
The question raises more issues than it provides answers, primarily "what is fitness?"
According to USDHHS physical fitness has five components:
* Cardio respiratory endurance: the ability of the body's circulatory and respiratory systems to supply fuel during sustained physical activity.
* Muscular strength: the ability of muscles to exert force during an activity.
* Muscular endurance: the ability of muscles to continue to perform without fatigue.
* Body composition: the relative amount of muscle, fat, bone, and other vital parts of the body.
* Flexibility: the range of motion around a joint.
If one takes all together, it becomes evident that not many of the World's top sportsmen actually combine them all - rugby 7s players (as opposed to the 15s code) probably the nearest example to all round super fitness I can think if.
This weekend's fitness challenge is similar. Whilst there are thousands of super fit runners, cyclists, swimmers and so on in the UAE, millions Worldwide, many would struggle to perform 20 press ups. And millions of super strong gym pushers Worldwide who would struggle to run 200 metres. There's actually not too many who can combine both to a very high level.
The challenge follows similar national competitions run in the UK over the past few years such as the Ultrafit Challenge, Best of the Best and so on. All of them are modelled on the famous UK television series "Superstars" with the slight added problem of performing the 12 disciplines of aerobic, weight and gym exercises against a running clock.
Thus with no time to rest between disciplines, the challenge becomes 25 odd minutes of utter brutality - heart rates exploding through the roof; lungs bursting to capacity; every muscle screaming to stop.
The ultimate test of fitness? Who knows - because the one thing about super fitness is it's sports specific. But a good opportuity to test yourself to the limits on the hardest short duration physical test I have ever done.