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Imagine a line numbered from left to right, starting at 0 and ending at 10.
Above the area numbered zero to three, is the word “sickness”, in red.
This area is where the seventy percent of deaths in the United States, attributed to chronic disease, reside. It’s is the land of poor health markers like blood pressure, triglycerides, HDL, bone density, muscle mass, body fat, and A1c.
What does all this have to do with you? A lot, because these markers are the predictors, cause, manifestation of chronic disease like obesity, coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s, peripheral artery disease, and advanced biological aging. All the scary ways to die slowly. And that’s what’s truly scary about them. They come on slowly. You won’t notice them until they start to consume you.
I want to be clear, not every form of scary death or negative health event is in this red area. Accidents, falls, and concussions happen. If you have got a genetic disorder that is making you sick, you need a doctor. If you have been poisoned, you need a doctor. If you caught a nasty virus or a brain-eating amoeba, you need a doctor. You do not need to go to the gym, and you do not need burpees.
Doctors are like lifeguards; CrossFit trainers are like swim coaches.
When you are drowning, you do not need a swim coach. You needed one, and you did not get one. What you need is a lifeguard. My job as a coach is to teach people how to swim, and when they do not pay attention and they go under, the doctors take care of it.
So let’s go back to that number line. Above the area marked from 4-6, the word “health” is colored in yellow. I’ll be blunt with you, “health” is defined pretty poorly. “Health is the absence of sickness.”
So following this logic, “You’re healthy or you’re sick, lights are on or they’re off, creatures are only alive or dead, you’re the world’s most interesting man drinking Dos-Equis, or you’re plain vanilla.”
Light bulbs can be dimmed, can’t they? Surely the Most interesting man has a funny cousin or out-going uber driver. Thats the problem with our society’s definition of health, there’s no room for being in the middle. What if you’re health markers are great but you have a cold? Are you healthy? What if you’re on the cover of fashion magazines and run three times per week but you’re markers are terrible, are you healthy then?
This is why “health” lives in the middle of the scale. You’re close to being protected from sickness, but you’re also vulnerable to it. Surely the world’s most interesting man doesn’t live in the yellow part of our line.
Let’s visit our line one last time. The area numbered 8-10 has a big flashing neon green sign titled “EAT AT JOES, ” Kidding, it’s titled “Fitness.”
This area is protective of health. The higher on that part of the line our lifestyle and decisions put us, the more of a hedge we build against disease and premature death. Think of it as “super-health.”
It’s where an HDL score of 75 mg/dL lives. Blood pressure might be 105/50. Other markers like muscle mass, body fat, and A1c mimic this trend towards “super-health.” These markers may be hard to earn, especially if you live in an area where chronic disease and sickness are accepted as normal.
They require reshaping habits and rituals. People moving towards super-health sleep great, eat well, manage stress, and move often. Is that the case for most people you know?
Now, I’d like some real talk with you.
It’s tough if you’re the only one in your circle who wants to move your health up the line into the yellow or green.
Because trust me. Accepting sickness or the poor definition of “health” is not normal. It’s just the norm.
And it will be your norm if you allow it to because that’s all it takes to get there. You allow it. It’s easy to let things fall apart because that’s what they do if you don’t pull them together into something that you want.
Your garden will not grow unless you tend it, unless you water it, and ward off the rabbits who will eat your cannabis plants and start falling down a lot and forget where they are. You cannot expect a thriving garden if you constantly put off protecting it for another day.
How do you attain super health? It’s probably a lot simpler than the world has told you. You start here at the scale as a mental model to understand where you are now and use the next three models I’ll show you, to write your own prescription and move up the line.
The prescription is universal, and if something is universal, it’s not medicine. It’s something everyone needs—like air, like oxygen.
You’ll know the prescription is working because things start feeling better. The variables that have formerly been left for the world to decide start lining up and becoming something that you want. Others begin to notice because we’re drawn to those who are thriving.
Start here. Then come back tomorrow for model #2 and the start of your prescription.