Semantics, how words are interpreted, can sometimes get the best of us. Just the other day one of my students blamed missing an assignment due date on the semantics of ‘misinterpreting the date listed on the syllabus and the tone of how it was listed’. Hmm, I suppose I ought to applaud his creative, unique attempt at an excuse but there isn’t much interpretive wriggle room in ‘5pm December 16, 2013,’ so, ah, NO.

Maybe describing fitness as ‘easy’ is innocent semantics or just an example of its close relative – a figure of speech? Ah, NO. And no points for trying to make a creative excuse for misinterpretation.

Fitness isn’t easy. Easy implies no effort is required and any applied can be from a disconnected perspective – I can do it in my sleep without trying, and I don’t even have to think about it. Ah, NO. Fitness requires effort, both planning and execution.

Nor is fitness easy as in cavalier or whimsical. This implies that a lack of purpose is ok. Ah, NO. A ‘just’ approach is superficial, which might just result in benefit. Any activity is better than no activity, but that done needs purpose and intention.

‘Easy’ fitness also implies we aren’t capable of dealing with the reality that activity can be temporarily uncomfortable. Really! (Safe) exertion is a good thing and we are strong enough (literally and figuratively) to handle the discomfort.

Semantics and figures of speech belong in our language as creative iterations of words/phrases that help us communicate, but creative license is one thing and accuracy is another. It’s not fair to fitness or the gym to misrepresent fitness, mostly, it’s not fair to you because fitness depicted as ‘easy’ is the ultimate motivation killer. Easy is as easy does means underachievement, which sets us up for disappointment then kissing our easy routine goodbye.

If ‘easy’ actually means convenient, accessible, and barrier-free, well these are acceptable interpretations. My student turned in his work one day late but interpreted that acceptable according to different country’s time zone. Whatever, I gave him that one.