• Rob Olson

What is health?

What is “health”?

January 1st often leads to a rash of health propositions.

“I’m going to lose 10lbs”

“I’m going to start going to the gym”

“I’m going to start an exercise program”

The intentions behind the ideas are good. But before setting the intentions, its important to ask “What is health TO ME” and “What will it look like when I’m healthy?”

For example:

Health to a 20 year old guy that played high school sports may be a 400lb deadlift and a 6 minute mile.

Health to a 40 year old dad may be running around playing soccer with his son and not getting winded.

Health to a 70 year old grandmother may be staying off medications and staying independent in her home.

The goal of CrossFit is not to be great at CrossFit. The goal of CrossFit is to develop a passion for health and wellness, and to move biomarkers towards “fitness”.

What is meant by biomarkers? We are talking about things that can be measured by a doctor: Blood pressure, body fat, bone density, triglycerides, cholesterol, flexibility, muscle mass, etc. Regardless of our age or our health goals, we all want better biomarkers. This is, in short, a definition of health. The more your biomarkers point towards “fitness”, the healthier you are. The more biomarkers you have towards “sickness”, the more you need to make changes or face the consequences of being “sick”.

If we go back to our examples of health and age participants, nowhere in those statements does it mention biomarkers. Their goals are great goals, and important. But it is more important to realize that there is more to CrossFit than a 400lb deadlift and a 6 minute mile. That 20 year old is establishing habits that will protect his 100/60 blood pressure. His muscle mass that he is building now will help him, if he maintains it, when he is 60 years old to landscape injury free. The 40 year old that lost 20lbs through better nutrition has improved his body fat composition so he can keep up with his son playing soccer. The 70 year old that does 12” box jumps and jumps rope is improving her bone density and helping to prevent falls and hip fractures down the road.

Why is it important to realize these things? Perspective. Sometimes we don’t feel like going to the gym. Sometimes we’re tired, its 4:45am, and -10 degrees out. Knowing its not just about some box jumps and back squats but about preserving or improving your way of life, that is motivating. Sometimes life gets busy and we get out of the habit of going to the gym. We think about cancelling that membership and saving the money. But with inactivity, the biomarkers get worse. You move towards sickness. Keeping perspective can keep you motivated. Being fit and healthy is about enjoying life. One of my favorite quotes about CrossFit is “the reward for doing well is the ability to express your fitness in as many ways as you can possibly imagine” – Matt Chan. Going for a hike with your spouse, playing soccer with the kids, running a 5k, skiing with friends, snorkeling on vacation, and just plain exploring the world… its all possible through health and wellness … and “fitness” biomarkers. Set your goals for the new year, because goals are important and help us get to where we want to be, but always remember to keep perspective and why you are doing this sport of fitness.

Coach Rob, bottom right, expressing his fitness in Austria

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