I keep coming back to this and how we perceive progress and progression which has to be a metric we can measure such as a heavier weight, more work or faster times and while these are signs of progress, they don’t necessarily mean progress in the right direction and as a result you need to stand back and look at the bigger picture to see a result of where your at and where your going.
People confuse improvement in performance with improvement in health and this is true only to a certain point. When competition starts, health ends. Competitors will risk it all to win, people will bleed for points!!
Beyond a certain point when you keep pushing the boundaries of your limitations your pushing your body towards injury and illness as you near your breaking point.
A distance runner can run further and further, faster and faster without getting any fitter as they become more and more efficient at running and often they become so singular minded in their training that they forget about all other aspects and when your base becomes narrow and you start hitting the ceiling of your capacity, you break.
The same is true of a weightlifter or any sport.
While you thought you where progressing as you where running farther and lifting more etc, that was the only thing which was progressing as your health was deteriorating.
And if you want to persue a goal such as running a marathon, that’s fine. Just don’t confuse it with improved health.
Yesterday I did an OG CrossFit workout, Nancy, 5 rds of 400m run and 15 overhead squats with 43kg.
While I have done this many times, I have even done it faster back when I competed in CrossFit but previously I would have had elbow and shoulder pain and wouldn’t have felt entirely comfortable doing the overhead squat. Yesterday however, I felt amazing. The overhead squat felt like noting at all. My hips felt so stable and mobile while the overhead position felt so strong and comfortable.
This was a HUGE improvement in my overall health. I felt comfortable and strong while previously I wouldn’t have felt as good.
You see my fitness may have dropped a bit as I no longer train the same amount (20 hrs) but instead train a max of 10 hours a week with a focus on health and it’s working.
The take home message here is simple, fitness is a bell curve. When your fitness is on the floor your health will be too, but if you get too fit and push your bodies capabilities your no longer healthy as you will be constantly battling pains, niggles and injuries.
So while it’s important to see and note performance markers, use these as a tool along with how you feel, sleep and act to get a true reflection of where your health is at.
Because in 20/30/40/50 years time your not going to care how heavy you could deadlift or how fast you could run a marathon,but rather If you can put on your socks with out pain!!