This week I’m breaking down the 10 Principles of Health as we have defined them at RxFIT.
- Health is synonymous with fitness.
- Optimal health is achieved by athletes who prioritize sleep, nutrition, exercise, mindset, and connection with others.
- Go to bed early.
- Strive for more plants, not supplements.
- Eat less to lose weight. Eat more to gain weight.
- Train to improve performance, not aesthetics.
- Constantly vary workouts with functional movements and high intensity.
- Dedicate time to think, read, and write without distractions.
- Loving relationships improve longevity.
- Doctors are experts in medicine. Coaches are experts in health.
Origins of Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding was once focused on health.
At the turn of the 20th century, “proponents of physical culture were trying to find new ways to promote healthy lifestyles… Tired of the overweight strongman image with its lack of emphasis on correct eating and high body-fat levels, they were looking for a representative who could promote the chiseled physique, and the subsequent ways of achieving this look.”
From 1890-1930, the sports of powerlifting, bodybuilding, and olympic weightlifting broke off from strongman. At the time, bodybuilding was considered the “crossfit” of its day, using contrarian training methods made famous by Eugene Sandow (father of bodybuilding). Even at bodybuilding competitions, wrestling and gymnastic athletes would put on displays of “health and fitness” by competing in the same venue as the bodybuilders. The focus was on health.
It wasn’t until the mirrors got installed that bodybuilding turned away from health and on to mass-at-all-costs.
Increased prize money and Hollywood contracts eventually pushed these physique-athletes to extremes. Steroids and sport-specific training narrowed their scope of becoming fit. Appearance became more important than function (and therefore, health).
Big muscles and tan bodies was the new age of bodybuilding.
This trend started the “commercial gym” where amenities like the tanning booth was becoming more popular than the barbell…
At RxFIT, we’re in pursuit of health that is functional. We ask ourselves, “How does our fitness transfer over to a better life?”
Our culture’s preoccupation with aesthetics creates confusion about health. And the people talking the most about how to get abs usually don’t have them. Is it any wonder that most of the people you meet have real issues with health?
Having good aesthetics is part of health. But health is really freedom:
Freedom of time: The opportunity to choose how you invest your day.
Freedom of experience: The opportunity to immerse yourself in new places, new cultures and new adventures. Where will you go? What will you do? What connections will you make? How will your story change?
Freedom of finances: Self-reliance, security. The knowledge that you’ll sleep in a warm bed with a full belly, under a dry roof. And the confidence that your position won’t change tomorrow.
Freedom of choice: Independence. The opportunity to decide your own path.
Freedom of pursuit: The opportunity to dedicate yourself to fulfilling your true potential.
Freedom of generosity: The opportunity to share and raise others up.
Freedom of mindset: Abundance, patience, peace. The opportunity to escape a mindset of competition, jealousy and comparison.
Freedom of commitment: The opportunity to commit time and resources for as long as necessary.
Freedom of legacy: The opportunity to leave a multigenerational platform of service or support. The chance to write your own story and forge your story in the minds of future generations.
Freedom of function. The opportunity to control your own mobility. Freedom from the bonds of medication, weakness, or mental decline.
Health also means responsibility: for all the above.
Health produces a broad and stable platform. When our basic needs, security needs, and social needs are met, we’re free to work on societal problems. We can dedicate our time to service. We can pursue self-actualization by giving to others: our physical resources, our time, and our knowledge.
Bodybuilding can’t produce this.
Possession of a strong body isn’t the only requisite for health.
But a strong body is the great enabler: most of the other components of health require great physical condition.
Health also requires attention: a good body can’t buy wealth, or mental acuity or, beyond a certain point, happiness. It can’t buy your family’s love, or undo a lifetime of oppression. Only time, practice, and servitude can provide wealth, mastery, and joy. But a strong body creates that time. Strong bodies pay for the coaching. And strong bodies serve.
A strong body can be spent, but so can time. So can energy. So can care.
Working hard and eating well are the yin and yang of performance (and eventually, health).