The yearly transition from summer into fall usually brings with it a familiar narrative. It’s late summer. The dog days. And although the beach still hearkens, preparation for the next season takes precedence. For many young athletes this is a defining rite of passage. A chance to prove their mettle.
Lace up the pads and buckle your chin strap. It’s football season.
As kids and adults alike take to the field for conditioning, we inevitably hear about the one or two athletes whose bodies give out on them. I’m not talking about the ones overcome with heat exhaustion or dehydration, but rather the ones with unhealthy hearts. Or depressed nerve function. Or poor kidney function. The ones who when pressed to the upper end of their limit simply lack the capacity to adapt.
And this isn’t unique to football. This plays out in every sport. And also during hunting season. And while raking leaves or shovelling snow. People we knew to be fit and in shape suddenly aren’t with us anymore.
You see, there is a big difference between being fit and being healthy.
High level athletes are a rare breed. With a few exceptions, most professional athletes would be considered extremely fit.
However, many of them are making a conscious choice to maximize their immediate fitness and performance at the expense of their long-term health. As an example, check out Finding Traction on Netflix. This documentary chronicles ultra marathoner Nikki Kimball’s assault on Vermont’s 273-mile Long Trail. Her performance is remarkable. Her refueling is equally remarkable. During her short stints to recover with her team, Nikki chows down on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Coca Cola, Canada Dry ginger ale, popsicles, and other high carb, high sugar goodies. Quick fuel and energy to be sure, but certainly not the type of thing the average person wants to indulge in on a regular basis. While they fueled her performance, most would agree that ice cream and soda contribute very little to general health and well-being.
Professional athletes make their living through their sport, so it’s hard to blame them for choosing to maximize their earnings, given a relatively short window of time in which to do so. They are trading healthy habits for productive ones. And doing so helps them to run 100 miles in a stretch, or throw a baseball over 100 mph, or lift Herculean amounts of weight. Are they fit? For sure. Are they healthy? That’s up for debate.
The perception is that because somebody can run fast or jump high, or because they are sporting a 6-pack, or they model the latest line of swimsuits that they are the face of health. The reality is that what you see on the surface often belies what is actually happening underneath. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not implying that looking good or performing well nullifies health. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the ultimate goal should be to build an outrageously healthy body that happens to look great and perform well at the same time.
What I am saying is that you can’t judge health by looks and performance alone. Almost anyone can drop weight quickly with fat loss drops or weight reduction pills. Heck, you could drop plenty of pounds by drinking coffee all day and barely eating. But losing weight doesn’t make you healthy.
The problem is that if your primary objective is to lose weight, and you want it bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to get there. Healthy or not.
Instead, I’m proposing that you focus on creating health first. Clean up your food. Get moving. Get plenty of rest. Reduce your stress. Start creating a healthy environment within, and get your body more adept at running on fat than on sugar. Work toward creating a better balance of hormones so that you optimize your sleep and release your fat stores.
Concentrate on creating health, and your body will find and maintain its optimal weight. The focus of this blog and our coaching programs is to help you do exactly that.
Please follow along, comment, share on Facebook, etc. My goal is to provide you with the resources to help you build the health and life you deserve and to spark a movement toward a brighter future for you and your family!
Be Your Best,