The Sickness-Wellness-Fitness Continuum

Every January, every gym in the world receives an influx of athletes who want to start a new fitness routine to “work off” the holiday weight.

While we love getting to help new athletes and we are all for taking care of yourself; it breaks my heart to hear people who view themselves as lesser for not being on top of their fitness.

I believe viewing food as bad and exercise is the punishment for indulging is a cruel way to view life and not one that is inductive to building healthy habits.

Pumpkin pie is the BOMB, why on Earth should anyone be sitting there going “I’ll have to run 3.4 miles tomorrow to burn this off.”

Getting fit isn’t a combination of shame and pushing through pain. It’s a journey of building up a foundation of knowledge and habits for a skill we haven’t acquired yet.

In the CrossFit Level 1 handbook, “The Sickness-Wellness-Fitness Continuum” is an idea that I think covers this process and provides a helpful way to tackle this kind of thinking:

Fitness is a Buffer To Sickness

Let’s look at 3 states of being:

Sickness: A state of being chronically ill and medical intervention is needed.

Wellness: You are able to live your life without pain and take advantage of all life has to offer.

Fitness: You are acquire new skills and are able to work to improve your abilities as an athlete.

We then put these 3 states on a line with Sickness on the left and Fitness on the right.

As we build healthy habits, maintain our routines, and set aside time to enjoy our lives using the fitness we build; we move from left to right.

When we start to let stress take over, workout to overcome a slice of cake, or other less healthy habits, we move towards the left.

The thing about this continuum is that you don’t just teleport from one end to the other. You gradually move in either direction. Meaning; if you get in a car accident and have to stop working out for a couple weeks, you aren’t suddenly sick. Or if we view it in a less grim light: just because you eat 2 servings of mashed potatoes, you aren’t doing something that makes you less or ruins all your hard work. (You should probably be more upset that ya didn’t leave room for dessert)!

The routines that you spent all year building matter. All that hard work wasn’t for those In-Body results. Those results are a byproduct of what you have really been working all this time, a life where you take care of yourself and enjoy it!

So, when you have those servings of mashed potatoes, your body will be itching to hit your usual Friday WOD with your am/pm crew and those potatoes are just fuel at that point.

Want to See A Prime Example of The Fitness Buffer?

Just take a class with one of our new moms!

Pregnancy is a long arduous experience that for 99% of the ladies I have talked to, is NO fun.

Athletes who go through a pregnancy tend to have to dial back weights, stop doing ab exercises, and sometimes need bed rest entirely.

Check them out 2 months postpartum and they are already back to 70-80% of their pre-pregnancy strength numbers and hitting knee raises/leg raises! (Imagine doing that after your abs were held apart by a 6+ lbs human)!

Trust yourself, your fitness, and the process and you’ll keep on building up a buffer.

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