Fitness Isn't Fair
What is fairness in life? Is there truly such a thing? Without fairness there can’t be the sort of planning that makes life seem bearable in the here and now. If we look at things in a more objective light, however, we can see that there are many examples in life to show how unfair things actually are. One of the prime examples is in the world in fitness.
Fitness is not a level playing field, though we like to think of it as such. We don’t all start at the same level, we do not all have the same potential. We all suffer from different aches and pains and external effects or circumstances make the ‘level playing field’ even more bumpy and precarious. There are things both in and outside of our control that effect our ability to get fit either by losing weight or gaining muscle or both. Pure and simply put, if you think that fitness is a level playing field then just look around you long enough to know that this is not the case.
There needs to be a definitive example of showing how fitness isn’t fair. Let’s look at it from the point of view of effort. If fitness, much like life, is fair then your effort should equate to your outcome. The more effort you put in the greater the outcome, right? Well, there you go. If you put in effort that we, for arguments sake, will call 7 out of 10 and someone else puts in effort of 3 out of 10 but their outcome is similar or perhaps even greater than your outcome then by definition it isn’t fair. Does this happen in the fitness world? You bet! Some people lose weight much quicker than others just because they are different. Some people put on muscle at a faster rate than others even if they are doing exactly the same routine. This happens all of the time.
How can one be so sure that people are putting in the same amount of effort but getting different results? If there was one defining programme that helped make people so fit then that would be the universal way to go. As it stands there are thousands and thousands of fitness programmes out there. Personal trainers are there to offer ‘personalised fitness programmes’. There is no universal rule to get fit other than to go to the gym and eat well. Everything else is up to you. It is a fact, therefore, that fitness is not fair.
What does this mean? What are the ramifications? Well first of all there is no logical basis for hoisting expectations on yourself. There is no logical basis for wanting to compete with others aside from a purely ‘fun’ point of view. Fitness isn’t fair and mentally this should play a huge part in what you want in the future. The future ‘fit’ you should be unique to yourself and you should feel absolutely no pressure to succeed or to even achieve that image because that image is likely affected by external idealised thoughts of the ‘perfect person’. In reality, aside from getting surgery, you are stuck with the unfairness of your own existence.
Is this a case to be disheartened? It is if you want to console yourself with ‘getting better’ in the future in accordance to some sort of hierarchy of looks. If you are looking for acceptance from others for the effort you put in you will probably be very disappointed. You might find yourself putting in so much effort but the outcome will not mirror your effort at all and that will breed resentment against others and yourself. That resentment will most likely result in you giving up on fitness altogether and finding something else that is fairer which will mirror the desire for a close link between effort and outcome.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but life isn’t fair. Nothing links effort with outcome in this existence. The ‘meritocracy’ that closely aligns with such an idea is just a dream of libertarians and proper liberals in this world. The idea of merit through effort being rewarded with outcome scaled equally is something that was present and successful to varying degrees in the 19th century. As humans though, we like to mess things up and now we have a system of luck, timing and useful contacts. That’s life right now. We could always try to remove the bad things but we tried that once. It was called Communism. Communism killed millions of people. Let’s not do that again.
Let’s instead embrace the unfairness by turning it against itself. Remove the desire for fairness and what you are left with is an individualised drive for the best you can be. You exit the court of public opinion and you enter a world that is run exclusively by you. Narcissistic? If you consider self-gratification through the medium of perceived effort then surely that is a good thing? It is if you consider the mental and emotional impact of being emotionally self-sufficient. Once you stop running for someone or something to instil ‘fairness’ you stop playing the victim of ‘injustice’. All you really are is someone who has certain characteristics that make you good at somethings and not so good at other things, all linked together by your own consciousness and what other people do is their business and not yours so far as emotions, comparisons and outcomes are concerned.
Don’t think of a level playing field; think of an arena in which you are the only competitor and the only way to win is by moving forward. Unfair competition will only make you bitter and resentful. Compete only with yourself of yesterday so you can be better tomorrow. That’s that only constant; that’s all that’s fair in this world. It’s not something to be sad about, it’s something to be liberated from.