Monday, October 18, 2010

Resting on your laurels

I just realized that I am among the 1% most fit persons on Earth. Surprised? So was I. So am I.

Given my combination of physical abilities, the current status of my energy systems (the level of both the anaerobic and aerobic systems) as well as my ability to produce force and the period of time for which I can sustain that production is in nothing short of rare in the human population.

Let me put this in context. I've currently maxed out at 25 pullups, a deadlift over 400 lbs., a squat over 350, and a bench press over 300. This is middle-of-the-road average for a lot of powerlifting forums I've frequented. I'm still getting stronger as we speak. For America, the average is 0 pullups, what's a deadlift?, I can't squat to depth., and a bench press of around 100 lbs. if I'm feeling generous.

I've done a half-Ironman and placed in the 47th percentile for my age group -- below, but nearly average. By all means unremarkable. 47%? I believe I still have tremendous room for growth. I will grow. I will get much better. But the fact remains, I've done it.

To say that I am below the top 1% of all humans currently alive is the same as saying there are 68 million people who have simultaneously more strength and stamina than myself. A country of 68 million persons, would be the 19th most populous country in the world ranking ahead of the U.K., France, Thailand, South Korea, South Africa, Italy and 200 others.

I do not believe there are 68 million human beings alive who are at the same time stronger and more resilient than myself.

By my definition of fitness, a measurement of physical capacity that tests both strength and ability to maintain strength over time, I am in the top 1%. Actually, I am probably in the top 0.1%. I think there might possibly be 6.8 million more human beings who are more fit than myself.

Why am I saying these things?

I'm saying them because I have heroes, or perhaps role models might be a more appropriate term and my accomplishments would be as remarkable as an insect's before their own. I want to know what it would take to get where they are because I want to go there.

I'm still not satisfied. There's a dizzying height above me.

Remember, I'm only 47% for my age group in long-course triathlons. What does it feel like to be 50, 60, 70 or 99% I can do 25 pull-ups. What kind of strength lies in the body of those who can do 60?

The great fall because of complacency.

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