Any extreme on any side of the spectrum is never a good thing. The drive to outperform your fellow work-out buddy by going that extra mile is hardly a measurement in seeing compound success.
There are a lot of literature and video tutorials available about the correlation between how we are trying to pivot between wellness and sickness. The latter is a relative matter because of how we perceive sickness.
One day, we may feel a bit under the weather and mentally feel we are almost terminally ill.
Another day, we are as fit as fiddle yet are not aware of how our internal systems are actually processing these off-days. We are sweating it out under our blanket.
We are shooting for wellness.
Our medical system is founded on moving us from sickness to wellness yet hardly any further. I have taken this concept while reading through the CrossFit literature, and I fully agree. It makes total sense when diving a bit deeper and taking it – in general – from a personal perspective.
Fitness is not derived from rinsing your shirt after a killer workout, ready to attack that 1RM the following day. Fitness must be seen from a much broader perspective. Working out in any form and shape is a small part of the whole concept of health.
But it is a crucial link in the whole link.
On average, there is no denying we move less. Even with 24/7 gyms mushrooming, smartwatches giving is a sign that some movement is needed, and habit trackers to see whether we hit the 10,000-step mark, the comfort factor and no goal setting are what keep us glued to the couch and mobile.
Those daring to take that leap of faith and get moving, know how liberating it can be to get out of that chair and push, pull, hinge, squat, run, plank, swim, or yoga an hour a day away.
I am one of those.
Synchronizing my routines to let that flow of dopamine take its course is a driver I simply love. Whether I fail or not, having trouble deadlifting 70% of my 1RM – it does not matter. I am moving (correctly). And that is all that matters.
But is regularly going to the gym the only thing you can do to transition from wellness to fitness?
I connect this question to the “I am moving” part. Moving is not entwined with building up a sweat. After all, 1 hour of gym time is 4% of your day. Those 4 meagre percentage points leave 96% of the day to be filled in. That’s where your accountability comes into play.
Numerous studies confirm that we must move actively for approximately 150 minutes a week. This is connected to the above 4% plus what you do outside your fitness centre to elevate your heart rate. That pushing your heart rate to new heights and all-time lows (not that low, though), and the variables you allow it to get to, are crucial for good health. Called HRV, your heart is what keeps you alive.
So why not train it accurately?
Here lies something that many people are forgetting. Or completely ignoring. Scientifically proven, training every day on a no holds barred, 1-month all-you-can-train pass is doomed to failure. Little to no results sneak in. Killing it on the floor every single day, surrounded by rowers, kettlebells and resistance bands is not the solution to good health.
In fact, it works counter-productive. I cannot make it clearer than that.
Remember HRV? The heart becomes stronger and better when you give it some rest and respite. The same goes for building muscle, losing weight, or getting that level of endurance on track.
These magical moments of incremental improvements occur when you take your rest extremely seriously. It is here why training with a trainer/coach has a 300% higher success rate (Source: PubMed study 28813341) of moving the needle towards better fitness and not dropping down to sickness level.
Overtraining is a real thing.
Again, I raise the ‘I am moving” sentence back to the content. Many of you have regular office hours, pounding away on computers, and sitting through meetings before heading home for a recharge.
Do you see? The same applies when going for a work-life balance. Work(-out) and recharge.
The time away from our “beloved” barbell. That other 96% we have in front of us. We are still obliged to listen to our body. I am extending the term “fitness” now away from the gym to home or the office. Postural issues such as the noticeable lower-back issues and protruding neck pains – the so-called office syndrome discomforts – are rising like smoke from a well-lit campfire.
Long bouts of staying in a seated position do harm to your posture. These are your muscles and neural pathways that run throughout your body. Overseen and steered by our very own Mission Control – the central nervous system – the term “if you do not use it, you lose it” applies here wholeheartedly. Sitting for extended amounts of time causes stiff hip flexors, less core mobility and increased blood pressure. Because we are hovering around the wellness sector and sliding slowly back to the sickness district.
Going back to the gym, and you will feel the strain of what may be something less of a challenge. Does anyone know a good physiotherapist?
We are no longer moving regularly.
Even a 10-minute break or changing from a seated working station to a standing one can omit a lot of modern-day aches and discomforts. Go and stand for a while, stretch your shoulders, or go out for a quick walk. Heck, even hitting the toilet on the 2nd floor, with your office on the 15th floor, takes the movement part away from the gym floor and to your other 96% of the day.
Whether you are young or old, it does not matter. Movement in kicking it up a notch from wellness to fitness remains essential for, well, a healthy survival. The fact is that when we grow older, we lose bone density, muscle, and diminishing neural networks. It is this age group (various studies say anyone above 30 years and above already sees muscular decay) that may even need to move a teeny tiny bit more to avoid being sucked into the vortex between wellness and sickness.
The intensity does not matter. The consistently moving around does. When you can incorporate weights into your regime, this is even better.
Above all, we all believe we have it in ourselves to do it on our own. Call it ego-tripping or firmly believe we are too ‘experienced’ with years doing it on your own; excuses not to look beyond your closed-thinking circle are normal.
We are proud mammals.
With gaining fitness status, it is all about moving first and moving in the right way. If we do not move accurately (or not at all), we fall quickly from what we believe is fitness to sickness – skipping the wellness sector completely. As fitness trainers, our mantras, certification and codes of conduct revolve al around three words:
Do no harm.
This sentence is tattooed in our mind and soul. It is because we freaking know why fitness is essential for balanced health. Not for that 4% or for that other 96 % of the day.
It is a 100% success ratio we want to deliver.
If you think lifting is dangerous, try being weak. Being weak is dangerous | Bret Contreras