One day egg yolks are bad for you. The next day running is apparently bad for your knees. This is all the while your friend in nursing school tells you dietary cholesterol is bad for your heart. The concept of health and fitness has never been so nebulous and obfuscating as it is now.
What is truth? What is complete, utter BS? Its really hard to tell. Health and fitness knowledge is wrapped up in fact, opinion, and a free market system predicated on selling you product. It’s seriously hard to tell what one should really listen to. This is what makes the pursuit of health so off putting for some. Additionally, when one falls for health gimmicks or lazily programmed training plans, it can seem like the pursuit of health is pointless! The dead-ends are in abundance.
But why do some individuals just get it? How do elite athletes get to where they are? How do centenarians live for…well, a century? Have they figured out some health hack or received some special, inside info?
The answer is simply that they’ve kept trying. You wont find one successful athlete who hasn’t failed along the road to success. Those same athletes will also divulge that they’re extremely grateful for putting up with those same failures. This is because they’ve channeled those dead-ends and figured out what truly works for them. These habits, techniques, and strategies become their own personal heirlooms. Something to treasure, value, and hopefully pass on to those they coach and mentor.
Whether your a person that has established heirlooms, or have an affinity to dead-ends (the good lot of us), there is one over arching concept: health and fitness is a pursuit. Its not a guarantee or entitlement
However you want to conceptualize it, internalize it, make it easy for you to digest; getting to healthy is 1.) a game of optimization and 2.) in that light it’s a dynamic and ever changing landscape. That’s why its so damn important to establish basic, tried and true healthy habits and techniques (heirlooms) that are impervious to the constant barrage and waves of bullshit.
But how do we find heirlooms that guide us to become better physically, mentally, and/or spiritually? This is wholeheartedly up to the individual. It rides upon two pointing questions: How much do you want to achieve your health goals? How much can you put up with?
Forager Fitness has a few heirlooms that we implement into our programming and coaching along with our daily lives:
- 51% of the day will consist of movement.
- Prior to the agricultural revolution, movement was programmed into our daily lives as a means for survival. Hunts, creation of shelter, and evasion of predators all involved movement. It was when we brought food sources into our living areas and domesticated animals did we lose our need to MOVE.
- Do not be afraid to fail.
- Pursuits are comprised of road blocks, downhills, successes and failures. Its the failures that teach us what not to do which is the most valuable teaching tool of all. Knowing what NOT to do places us back on the path of determination. One’s display of gumption through failure is far more impressive than a string of successes.
- If it isn’t in it’s purest form, raise an eyebrow.
- This goes for food, programming, and even any type of advice. Just as you wouldn’t put engineered, processed, chemical laden food in your body, I’m sure you’d frown upon flashy, gimmicky programming touted as miracle exercise solutions. Expect more through less…bullshit.
The concept of dead-ends and heirlooms applies to all humans on the fitness and health continuum. Everyone has the ability to achieve optimal health and fitness. Keeping your head in the game, leveraging your fail-safe strategies, and having the courage to fail places you on the path to success. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were your glutes…;)
Nik Roumell is an Emergency Room Nurse, Veteran, and former CrossFit Competitor. Nik studied at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs attaining his Bachelors in Nursing Science. He is a researcher and currently developing a manuscript for his upcoming book, “America’s Health Disconnect.” Nik has a wealth of knowledge regarding medical applications of diet and fitness, physical training mentality, and chronic disease prevention.