IS OUR OBSESSION WITH HEALTH HEALTHY?
Over the years I’ve gone from a 250lb bodybuilder to a 205lb CrossFit Games Regional competitor. From running a free blog called ‘Globofit’ for my gym-rat friends to follow CrossFit workouts, to owning, operating, and programming hundreds of workouts for thousands of athletes through my 2 businesses Raincity Athletics and The Canadian Affiliate League. From running free boot camp classes in a park as a way to sell protein shakes, to training a variety of high level athletes. Every one of these accomplishments was a very long, twisted, and stressful road full of learning.
This is due to the fact that I tend to obsess over things. I like to overdo it. Whether it’s as simple as a song that I put on repeat for a week, training and exercise, or opening my own business. In my lifetime I have overdone many things in both good and bad ways, and I’ve learned a lot from these experiences. Learning from these mistakes is why I love running Raincity Athletics. I get to teach my clients (and coaches) how to not make the same mistakes that I have made. And there have been a lot.
SOMETIMES LIFE GETS IN THE WAY
With all these mistakes I’ve made, and learning I’ve done, I’ve evolved from believing that health must be your #1 priority in order to be able to function at a high enough level to achieve these things - to realizing that sometimes the only way to truly prioritize our health is to be comfortable and confident enough to not prioritize our health.
Sometimes life gets in the way of our healthy plans. It could be as small as traffic interfering with getting to your workout, to major injuries having you off the training floor for months, or sometimes life just throws you a whole basket full of lemons. Either way, the healthiest thing you can do for your body (and mind) during these times is to accept that you cannot always prioritize your health. I’m not saying if life throws you off the horse it’s ok to give up, but sometimes the best thing to do is accept that we must walk beside and lead the horse, before we jump back on.
THE HIDDEN ENEMY
There’s lots of enemies to our health in the world today, no matter what path (paleo, zone, vegetarian, etc) you believe in. Processed foods, sugar, and sedentary lifestyles are a few – but one of the biggest culprits of inflammation, diseases, and weight gain is one that rarely gets enough attention: Stress.
“I didn’t get a workout in today”
“I didn’t run as fast or lift as much as I should/would/could have”
“I blacked out and ate a tub of Earnest” (it happens ok??)
Whether you are a professional athlete, make a living through health or a sport, or you’re in your period of obsession for a goal – then keep that up. You are either paid to stress out about these things, or you know what you’re signing up for. I applaud the sacrifices you are making to do so. But for the rest of us (or when your professional endeavors end) you’ll have to find a balance because the problem is the higher we prioritize our health, the more likely we are to stress about it.
CREATE SUSTAINABILITY. NOT STRESS.
The only way to truly prioritize our health, is to balance it with our life so that we can minimize our stresses and create sustainable habits that become second nature. I think it’s great to go through a period of health obsession; whether it’s via a 30 day nutrition or health challenge, or signing up and training for a big race/competition - do it! But once it’s done, remember the big picture: health & longevity. Take the lessons your learned from your period of obsession, and apply them in a way that create sustainability, not stress.
I’m not saying you should let yourself eat a pint of Earnest ice cream a day (we all make mistakes ok? #worthit) but remember the balance - because getting stressed out about what you did or didn’t do in the end might do more damage than the act itself.
Learn from your mistakes and just keep moving forward towards your higher level of strength, beauty, health, and balanced happiness.
About the Athlete
Simon ‘Thor’ Damborg is Head Coach and Program Director at Raincity Athletics and The Canadian Affiliate League. A Crossfitter, Olympic weightlifter, downhill skier and volleyball player among other things, he enjoys helping people realize how much more our bodies can do than our minds let us. Rather than helping a small group of people attain elite status, he prefers to try to help the masses make minor lifestyle changes that in turn will help societies health issues as a whole.