In 2002, Greg Glassman summarized the main activities to achieve world class fitness in 100 words in a CrossFit Journal article:
Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.
Additionally, in CrossFit fitness is defined as "increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains." Health is defined as "the ability to maintain high fitness across your lifetime." In other words, if you improve in many different types of exercises and sports, you are considered fitter. If you can keep this progress for an as long as possible span across your life, you are considered healthy.
What's wrong with the definition of fitness?
I agree with the 100 word summary of the main activities. I believe the definition of fitness and health is also useful but lacks an important consideration: Fitness is relative to every person. The CrossFit view represents a good baseline but it needs to be adapted for people with an "everyday life." Not everyone is an athlete or sports professional and can spend a significant amount of time each day to achieve fitness and health as per CrossFit's definition. The constant pursuit of fitness and health is critical but it needs to be possible to realistically execute as part of the everyday life of a "normal" person.
The ultimate goal of fitness in our 4 Legs Fitness model is to maximize health and happiness. We often tend to forget that the most important good that we own, really is our own health. Most of us only appreciate it when we don't have it. When we are sick.
Fitness is freedom
A good level of fitness provides us a solid foundation to be able to perform many different activities, sports or even competitions with little adaptation time. I proved this various times (like various races with very little preparation time).
There are many silly and useless fitness tests out there like how many overhead presses can you do with 60kg load on the bar. The first problem is that this only measures a very narrow area of fitness. More importantly even this is all always relative. Obviously a person with 60kg body weight will most likely achieve fewer reps than a person with 100kg body weight.
I consider myself fit and healthy. I constantly maintain around 67kg body weight and between 11% and 12% body fat. This is not the consequence of a temporary diet but my lifestyle based on habits that make it easy for me to achieve this without any major limitations (including occasional cheat meals).
Central to achieving this is my focus on the 4 legs of fitness: resistance training, cardio, nutrition and recovery, which I integrated into my life. And it is executable in an everyday life with a full time job. It is not always easy but nothing valuable comes easy. And our health and fitness is the most valuable thing that we have -- for us and for our families and friends. The ideas and recommendations that I provided via my 4 Legs Fitness model also help to live such a lifestyle, which after a little time of adaptation feels very natural. Cold showers every morning are tough initially but after a couple of weeks, you'll start appreciating the benefits and looking forward to it.
So, how can I measure how fit I am ?
I principally measure my own fitness in three ways: first, I compare my progress to myself. I aim to continuously improve in all sports or exercise activity that I am pursuing. This of course only works if I take notes so that I can objectively compare my results. Second, I love to try new things and usually get to a certain proficiency level fairly quickly, which I relate to a good foundation of general fitness. Third, I reflect on how often I am sick, which is very, very rarely. I follow my own 4 Legs Fitness model to achieve that. I am not perfect but I improve every day.
In order to help and make it easier for those who want to achieve superior fitness, health and happiness, we offer a guided program to build bullet-proof health that integrates all 4 legs. We will offer different plans with different levels of personal guidance and check-ins. We will launch these plans soon.