Are you in the “well” zone or are you “fit”?

Frequently I choose to question “conventional” wisdom. I would go as far to suggest that the very term “conventional wisdom” is an oxymoron anyway. If it’s so “accepted norm” or “a social norm” both being terms to describe conventional, can it be wisdom? Wisdom among other attributes is to use experience and insight and I am unsure of these as they relate to convention – like many areas of our lives, dogma is making inroads and dictating a lot of what we believe to be truths and I am very certain this is not good. And probably why I like to contest conventional wisdom.

In recent times the fitness industry has been lumped in with other types of what are complementary offerings such as yoga, Pilates, massage therapies, meditation, breathwork etc and generically labelled “wellness”.

I rather like the founder of CrossFit for a number of reasons. Greg Glassman in my mind is a visionary and also a smart businessman. He’s also a bunch of other things that some don’t like him for and for sure he’s a polarising figure. This doesn’t detract from what he’s accomplished in the world of fitness and I greatly respect him for that.

One of the concepts developed under his watch (he’s no longer involved in the CrossFit business) was the sickness-wellness-fitness continuum, something I have referenced a few times in my posts.

In fitness I will always argue we are not understanding that the intrinsic link between fitness and health is immutable. It is not tenuous, it’s not just likely it’s clearly immutable and if you agree with me and I am thinking most will then why is modern medicine not saying, “go get fit”? Modern medical practitioners, unless practicing fitness enthusiasts themselves will have zero training in fitness and almost zero training in nutrition. They know how to dispense drugs and otherwise to refer you on to a specialist but after that what expertise are they bringing to your health? And this is “healthcare”? I am afraid I do not agree.

Why isn’t modern medicine embracing nutrition and fitness as a service within their scope of offerings? I know that some will recommend better diets and some will suggest patients get some exercise but this is not imparting any expertise. This is simply paying lip service!

Please do not misunderstand my line here. As I have expressed in prior posts our medical practices for emergencies is amazing. The development of a variety of scanning/scoping/imaging, defibrillation, monitoring and wearable technologies has created huge advancements in safety for vulnerable people and people in vulnerable situations.

However, when it comes to proactive measures such as boosting your immune system can someone explain to me what this is (below)?

What have we become when we go to a hospital to “strengthen our immune system”?

Our immune systems are built via exposure to pathogens, trillions of which we come into contact with every single day via the air we breathe, food we eat and surfaces we touch. The old saying that children need to play in dirt in order to expose themseves to these pathogens is rooted not only in commonsense but science as well. The human microbiome is immense and contains bacteria, parasites, fungi and viruses all of which are going about their jobs 24-7. The interaction between this mass of pathogens inside us and those incoming is monitored by bacteria and other pathogens on the skin and in adenoids and tonsils. In rudimentary terms this is our immune system at work.

Now what if we were to regularly apply germ inhibitor to the skin on our hands and covered our mouths and noses with filters shutting down key features of our immune system? Disastrous for our protection.

Our immune system is built via exposure to all pathogens and of course sunlight, sleep and rest (being highly rejuvenatory), nutritious food and water of adequate mineral content and pH (note that most bottled water and ALL tap water do not meet this criteria) and the right type of exercise. It’s quite possible even meditation can provide benefit to the human immune system as is evidenced by this research.

Being well doesn’t cut the mustard and the point is “well” is only a single step away from being sick. Going to a hospital to get treatments to improve your immunity is not exposing your body to how our immunity is built naturally and nature knows best. Striving for fitness and then optimisation should be what human beings do to improve our health including our immune system.

In my diagram above I put people into 3 zones. The “no-where” zone is the most common followed closely by the “I’m well” zone. Very few people are truly in the “Fit zone” and those that are, are primarily professional athletes.

So how do we determine where people are? We measure.

A professional athlete is primarily in the fit zone and cycling between fit and optimal via a periodised approach to his or her programming, a process that utilises frequent testing. Ordinary people can also do this but most do not know how to do it.

Occasionally testing with no reference or standards and no database of previous tests will keep you in the “no-where” zone and not testing and training without any planning you are in the “I’m well” zone. These people usually get flu in the winter or once or twice a year when work or weather influences their health status.

The goal is to be far more resilient than how people are in the “I’m well” zone.

Start logging basic tests, how many push ups in 60 seconds, or squats. Find a route around your neighbourhood, run it and time it or go to a track and do it there. At a track you could do tests over 1 lap, 2, 4 or 10 depending on where you think you need to be with your fitness – are you looking for fitness for sport or looking for body composition gains? Start measuring weights you lift in the gym. Are you tracking your weight? There are many ways you can start utilising a more professional approach to your fitness.

In my opinion food journalling and noting what and when you eat and if you are intermittent fasting (IF), monitoring your fasting hours (you may be surprised at how little you are actually doing when you add them up week to week) are crucial to getting you to the Fit zone. IF is an almost non negotiable tool in getting to this zone – even if you don’t always do it at least starting it and engaging in it for a period thereby learning the lessons it teaches you about how much food you really need is mandatory.

If you really want your fitness to improve your health it’s time to take it a little more seriously. Take onboard some of my tips, remove any reliance on medical healthcare and take on a wholistic approach with measurable parts to the process. And enjoy the experience!

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