No this isn’t going to be a post about evolution. Well at least not really. Your own personal evolution maybe? I’ve got a thought for you this week. Something to keep in mind during your health and fitness exploits for the next few days (maybe longer). See if it makes a difference to what you do and how hard you do it. My name is Adam. I’ve been a trainer, group fitness instructor and coach for nearly 10 years and this week I want to talk about…
Being harder to kill
Or at least being less likely to die? People have laughed when I’ve spoken about this lately but isn’t being less likely to die kind of the point of all of our activities trying to be fit and healthy? It’s like looking at the statement “I want to be healthy” from the other side.
Being a healthy weight makes you less susceptible to certain illnesses and medical conditions, making you less likely to die. Maintaining your cardiovascular health lessens your risk of heart disease, making you less likely to die. Staying strong means you’ll be more likely to be able to pull yourself up into a tree when a zombie chases you, making you less likely to die. Practicing stability, mobility and flexibility will make you less likely to get injured in the course of life’s activities, making you less likely to die.
I know “likely to die” is very dramatic. It’s just “Less likely to get hurt” or “Be healthy” aren’t as attention grabbing as headlines. The goal is to be healthy though right? To live as long and healthy a life as possible? And even if that isn’t the point. Even if the point is just to look good… Think of a survival situation (nuclear war, meteor hitting the earth, zombie apocalypse)… now picture someone likely to survive… they’re lean and strong aren’t they… don’t lie… you pictured a healthy person… someone. less. likely. to. die.
I’ve been using this thought to focus myself during exercise for a little while and it really helps. I thought I’d share so you can see if it helps you too. Have a think about that the next time you’re working out. Consider what you’re doing and whether or not it’s adding to your chances of survival or are you just faffing about? Look at the specific exercise you’re doing; is it useful? Look at the load or intensity you’re working under: is it challenging? Some faff is ok, of course, just make sure you’re ALSO becoming harder to kill.
A word of warning
Someone less likely to die in a survival situation isn’t crippled by aches, pains and injuries from insanely large amounts of training with super heavy weights, or giant long runs everyday, or multiple classes in a row. They don’t beat themselves up and break themselves down with exercise, that would make them less likely to survive (or easier to kill if we’re being dramatic). Train smart. Pay attention to your body. If your goal is to be fit and healthy in your old age, then is constantly being in pain during your twenties or thirties from too much/unsafe exercise really going to help? The answer is “probably not”.
Eat to survive
This idea also applies to food choices. Eating a balanced nutritious diet helps keep you healthy, making you less likely to die. So when you choose food think about its effect on your overall health and fitness. Just like with exercise there is room for some faff, some fun food, some meals that don’t necessarily further you fitness goals. Just make sure you’re also eating and drinking for health and fitness too. For most of us, having a larger percentage of our nutrition come from whole foods, lean meats, fruits and vegetables would do us good (and if nothing else will make it easier for us to adapt to living off the land should some disaster take out all the supermarkets)!
Dramatics aside I think most people would agree the goal is to live long and healthy lives. There might be occasional times when a short goal takes precedents for a few weeks, and that’s ok, but generally… long and healthy lives. Take a look at your routine. Ensure you’re doing at least enough to get a little healthier over time and not so much that you risk coming out worse off in the end. I regularly talk to people that either aren’t getting the results they want (too much faff) or that are slowly hurting themselves more and more doing what they do to be “healthy”. I’ve fallen into both categories at one time or another, finding the balance is hard, but I think you stand a better chance of achieving it if you keep things like this in mind.