What is Fitness?

I know it sounds like a silly question, but maybe you’re wondering “What is Fitness?”

Seems pretty obvious, but if we can actually understand that question, we see why so many people struggle with Fitness programs.

First, there are two “Fitness”es that we have to separate and define.

There is little “f” fitness. This is probably what you think of when you hear fitness. Little F fitness refers to physical capability. It’s your ability to do tasks. This kind of fitness is amazing for you! Because your whole life is lived and experienced through your body, as your physical fitness improves, everything in life gets better with it.

I love fitness. It’s why I got into Fitness in the first place.

Wait a minute… Did you see what I said there? I said that fitness is why I got into Fitness. Little f fitness is why I got into Big F Fitness.

What is Big F Fitness???

I have grown to hate Fitness. Health REBELs is the “Anti-Fitness” fitness solution for weightloss and wellness. So you may be wondering if I love fitness, what is “Fitness”?

When I mention Big F Fitness, I’m talking about the Fitness Industry. And I fucking hate the Fitness Industry and all it’s blown-out, ego-driven, toxic cliches and standards. If you do, too, you’re in the right place.

Picture of traditional Fitness personality

Dude… come on…

We have to be honest upfront. Fitness works for some people, particularly models, athletes, and bodybuilders. If you’re one of those three groups, fantastic! Big F Fitness is fine! The issue I have is that most people want to improve their fitness when they join a Fitness program, and they get standards that don’t apply to them.

It’s time to expose Fitness and to elevate fitness.

What is Fitness?

To answer that, I hope you’ll entertain a history nerd’s need to always dig into the history of whatever they’re interested in.

Fitness, A History

In the 1960s, “fitness” wasn’t a term used to describe recreational activities. There were a few “athletics” clubs that were closest to our idea of the Fitness industry today. These were sports-based gyms (and social clubs) that revolved around basketball, tennis, racquetball, weightlifting, and track & field. People joined athletic clubs more for social interactions than for health or fitness.

One of the subgroups of the weightlifting clubs was bodybuilding. These were pretty niche, fringe groups of men that were fanatic about building bigger muscles. They often got scorned and looked at as outcasts. However, in Austria, one man discovered bodybuilding and began pushing his body to the limit.

Enter the Austrian Oak and the 1970s. Arnold Schwarzenneger became a superstar in the fringe bodybuilding community. A charismatic young man, a film crew focused on him and other bodybuilders for the film “Pumping Iron” which was a smash hit at the Cannes Film Festival.

Cover Photo of 1977 film Pumping Iron

The charisma of Arnold and the success of the film brought bodybuilding out of the shadows and into the mainstream. In the 70’s, “Fitness” became synonymous with “Bodybuilding.”

In the 1980’s, as big money started pouring into professional sports, a few stronger athletes started to make standout performances (and standout contracts). Athletes like Bo Jackson and Brian “The Boz” Bosworth gained massive popularity by being bigger and stronger than anyone else. Not wanting to be left behind, other athletes started hiring bodybuilders from the Pumping Iron film to help them become bigger and stronger (the start of the personal training career). Others hired bodybuilders to train them to look like 1980s action heroes like Arnold and Sylvester Stallone.

In the 1980s, “Fitness” was a term that mostly described bodybuilding or sports performance.

A massive shift happened culturally in the 90s. With the success of Microsoft Windows putting a PC on every desk and fast-food chains proliferating, Americans became more sedentary people and unhealthy eaters. The 90s began an obesity epidemic that we have yet to slow in over 30 years.

Doctors were faced with a dilemma. There was an explosion of preventable lifestyle diseases caused by obesity like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. Unequipped and unprepared, the medical industry made the best recommendation they had available. “You should exercise and get skinny. Ask those guys [bodybuilders and athletes] how to do it.”

Suddenly, “Fitness” became the go-to solution for health. For good reason, too! Little f fitness can dramatically improve your health and quality of life!

The Dilemma

However, the Fitness industry wasn’t built for health. All the Fitness standards were built towards the goal of bodybuilding and sports. We see what good that has done. While a handful do great with the common Fitness standards, most struggle and fall off.

Most people today are looking to improve their fitness, little f fitness, and are getting misdirected by Fitness, big F Fitness.

It’s an easy mistake for you to make, they sound the same after all!

Health REBELs sees the failure of Fitness. In various surveys, 85% – 95% of people who join Fitness programs to lose weight end up regaining that weight within 3-5 years. Why? Because Fitness isn’t designed for fitness (ironic!), it’s built for bodybuilding and sports performance.

So if you want to improve your little f fitness… what do you do?

We recommend taking a new “Anti-Fitness” approach! That’s something you can learn as you go through our Health REBELs Solution program (Catch a preview of that at this link). Which, fittingly, is the topic for today’s podcast episode.

You can catch the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, YouTube, or almost anywhere else you listen to podcasts (If you can’t find the podcast on your favorite streaming platform, please email [email protected])

What is Fitness? A disappointing block that ironically holds people back from fitness…

I hope you’ll join me in the new “Anti-Fitness” movement and improve your fitness and wellness.

? Coach Steve


Steve Hicks is the “Anti-Fitness” fitness guy. He started personal training in 2010 and shortly after did a stint as an assistant strength coach at a Division 1 sports program. Realizing that sports wasn’t nearly as fulfilling as helping people become healthier and living fuller lives, he stepped away from the athletics industry. Stepping away from athletics has become the common theme of his approach to (little f) fitness.