Just because you exercise, you are NOT healthy - Part 1

If you Trained with me in my gym in Rozelle, you would of heard me say things such as “Just because you exercise, it does not mean you are healthy” or “Anyone can make you tired, but can they make you better”.  In this TWO PART post I am going to present a whole new way of understanding training, performance, conditioning, health and fitness.

We are going to look at our body’s inherent job of maintaining homeostasis (any self-regulating process by which biological systems tend to maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are optimal for survival)

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We continually placing our bodies under high levels of stress (sympathetic nervous system / fight or flight) 

Just about everything we do in our daily lives has an impact on our energy equation and our metabolism. Just sitting at your desk and thinking can use over 700cal, the brain requires a lot of energy to think. Physical activity is a hugely energy intensive stressors as the muscles, and the brain, are needed to coordinate movement and meet the demands of the training session. 

When we eat poorly (cut calories, don’t eat enough quality nutrient-dense foods, do traditional gym’s “8 week challenge” ), we affect our metabolism and force our body to tap into reserve energy stores (lean muscle mass breakdown, fat metabolism, down-regulation of certain hormones to maintain energy balance in the body. 

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The concept of “move more and eat less” is not only flawed, but it also has serious negative impacts on the energy equation, strength, power, metabolism, health, wellness and longevity. 

Overtraining and under-recovery impacts the human body's energy equation due to large amounts of time spent in a sympathetic nervous system  ("fight or flight” - energy expenditure) state and very little time spent in a parasympathetic nervous system ("rest and digest” - energy production) state. Poor quality sleep also impacts our brain function and performance.

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After your workout, you need to be able to switch from “fight or flight” (energy expenditure) to the “rest and Digest” (energy production) to improve training adaptation and recovery.

Stress - in the biological term, stress is defined as the disruption of homeostasis, and thus a stressor is anything that can cause a disruption. 

Even mental stress is a stressor that places a considerable demand on our energy stores. Mental stress has the same physical impact as physical stress because it triggers the same stress response.  This may seem a little surprising, but it's true, the major hormone response to mental stress is exactly the same as the major hormone response to physical stress. 

The stress response and the hormone release has the ability to fuck up a lot of other hormones in your body. High levels of stress can cause insulin resistance and lead to diabetes.   

Yes, adding too much high-intensity training (physical stress) into your lifestyle can be very unhealthy, the opposite of what most people think.

Understanding how the stress response impacts training and recovery is important to maximise your results from training.  Your goal in the gym should be to execute minimal effort for maximum return, not to "work harder" and train until you fatigued.  

Adaptation is about balancing the energy equation and making sure the body has the energy needed to train, recover, survive and reproduce.  Using tools like Heart Rate Variable (HRV) can help us monitor the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and our bodies' readiness to train.

I will talk more about HRV in future posts.

Your health and wellness primarily dictate your fitness and performance.

Illness and disease are at polar opposite ends of the continuum to health and performance, and the typical denomination that pushes us to either end of the continuum is stress.  

Part 2 of this is coming up. If you have more questions and care about your health and wellness, your intellectual performance, and need help with your program, please reach out to me here for free consultation.