Misconceptions about Health and Fitness

Posted: March 2, 2012 in Uncategorized
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As a wellness coach the matters of health and fitness are of the upmost importance. There is a lot of misinformation out there as well as a lot of uneducated and unqualified trainers and coaches. As America continues to progress down a period of declining health this can be extremely problematic. As an industrialized country with gyms at every corner why is this so?

One reason is exercise alone will not make you healthier and fitter. Nutrition and stress management are integral parts to this picture. Eating high quality foods can help alleviate symptoms, make positive changes to body composition, improve recovery, slow down aging, and decrease our risk for disease. Stress is also a mjor component that can compromise health. Stress increases our inflammation response and over the course of time can lead to injury and disease. A simple Google search for the General Adaptation Syndrome will explain the mechanisms behind this. Exercise can be a chronic stressor as well.

Exercise is a stressor that yields the same response as getting yelled at by our boss, sitting in traffic, etc. Too much of it and it can become detrimental to our health. This is why I have not been promoting Crossfit lately. A proper wellness program needs to be set up in a way that exercise is the perfect compliment to yield positive changes without having negative side effects. In other words it needs to be just enough stress to cause change, but not too much as to cause illness and this is a very fine line.

A good wellness program should be aimed at making the client healthy and improving quality of life for the long term. To do this stress needs to be managed so it does not become chronic. Proper nutrition needs to be addressed to get the quality nutrients from real foods that helps prevent disease, improve body composition, and reverse symptoms of illness. Exercise needs to 1. not injure people, 2. improve movement efficiency to prevent injuries and maximize performance, and 3. build upon the proper movement patterns to make the client bigger, faster, and stronger.

Too many times people ignore stress, eat what they want to because they “earned” it by working out hard, and kill themselves everyday in the gym. This is a recipe for disaster in the long run. Even if one of those is off it can lead to a quick demise at some point in the future. To prove my point let us take a look at professional athletes.

Even though they are the upper echelon of performance they have shorter life spans and a decline in skills that happen at the young age of 30. This is due from the excess stress placed on them from competing at such a high level. Their high intense competitions and high intense training programs become an excessive stressor and lead to declining health and performance. Marathon runners have the same issues. They have high rates of heart disease, shorter life expectancy, higher rates of lung cancer, and higher rates of upper respiratory infections then the average people. The length of the event makes training very difficult and it too becomes an excessive stressor that breaks the athlete down. Excessive exercise is the same as any other kind of stress in our lives, but we fail to recognize it as that because working out hard is good for us right? Most of us are eating less and exercising more and if this leads to undereating then that is even more stress placed on our system!

My goals are to develop a wellness program that people can grow old with and not have the side effects of growing old. We lay the foundation by applying the principles of proper eating to yield the health benefits associated with high quality nutrition. We also attempt to manage stress levels to avoid chronic inflammation and adrenal fatigue and this includes controlling the intensity and volume of the exercise program. Our stress response was not built for the stress we face today, but to run away from predators. This makes keeping the exercise program in check even more important. Exercise focuses on keeping people healthy, getting them to move properly, and then making them better athletes. Combining these principles into a program will yield results needed to reverse the disease and obesity epidemic we face as a nation. If they all are not addressed we could be just wasting our time.


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