First Principles

I'm often tempted to blame the internet for all our health and fitness problems but it is just a showcase of the symptoms. It is the source of much of the confusion we experience but it is our choice to believe the information we find there as truth.

I know I sound like a grumpy old man right now but bear with me. Every day a new diet recommendation, secret fitness program, and supplement can be found making the rounds through social media and popular fitness magazines. It's all so confusing and more importantly, the underlying idea behind it all is that fitness is equal to looking lean and muscular and if you don't look like that ideal then you are not fit. (FYI, fitness and health have nothing to do with how you look.)

CrossFit 43 North exists to set a better example and to try to make the truth about health a fitness known. The truth is that there are a set of "First Principles" that if you do consistently then you're health and fitness will never be lacking.

Eat Real Food

This is super simple and yet seems to be difficult for most people. Don't over think it. Eat mostly meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds. Have some fruit now and then maybe a little starch if you can't avoid it and avoid sugar at all costs. Keep your portions to sizes that support exercise but not body fat.

Eat only from that list. (did you know there are 100's of different kinds of vegetables?) If you find yourself gaining body fat then eat a little less. If you find yourself losing lots of weight and unable to perform your workout then eat a little more.

Sleep Enough

Sleep is the time where your body recovers. It recovers from your physical activity and your mental activity and if you don't get enough of it everything else in your life suffers. So much so that it is possible to die from not getting enough sleep.

  • Your brain won't be able to function as optimally and you'll have brain fog
  • Your body won't recover or build muscle from your exercise. Then what was the point?
  • Your stress levels will be higher and that's not good on its own, but high stress levels make it really difficult to keep body fat levels down.

99% of people need 8+ hours of sleep every night to function optimally. There are times in life when that just isn't possible but it's important to be aware that sleeping less than that is keeping you from optimal health and is fighting against the other good choices you're making.

Reduce Stress

It is important to reduce stress as much as possible. Stress keeps you up at night and elevates the level of the hormone Cortisol released into your bloodstream. Cortisol contributes to holding on to more body fat than is healthy.

Stress is mentally taxing. You can't be present in your daily life if you are constantly stressed out and most people are stressed out about things that are supposed to making their lives better.

Stress is a result of our fight or flight response. This is supposed to be used in short bursts in times of danger. We are not wired to be in that heightened state for a prolonged period of time. There are many ways to reduce stress and it may take some testing to find what works best for you. Here are some things to try:

  • Go for a walk in silence
  • Get to the mountains for some fresh air and separation from daily life
  • Spend at least 10 minutes being quite or meditating and focusing on your breath
  • Turn off all your digital devices for 1 day a week
  • Don't read the news
  • Go on a social media blackout
  • Get a massage
  • Learn to say "no" to things that add stress to your life. Be your own advocate.

Drink Water

Water is the lubricant of the human body. It helps the things that should be moving to keep moving. Your muscles, fascia, and skin should all slide easily. If those get bound up then you won't be able to move as well and you'll fee stiffer than you should.

Your body needs to be able to remove waste efficiently. Water helps move that waste out of your body and that's a really good thing.

Even if you don't know much about engines it is generally understood that if you don't put oil in your car's engine it will stop working. A similar thing could be said about your body.

Everyday aim for drinking between 60 and 100 ounces of water. The bigger you are the higher on that scale you should drink. You could also think about it as drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces.

Move

Run, jump and climb on things. Lift heavy objects and carry them. Move your joints through full ranges of motion with and without an extra load. Our bodies are meant to move. That is how they thrive. They are not meant to sit at a desk all day or lay on the couch watching all extended edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

As a gym, we are pretty excited about the use of formalized training methods to optimize our bodies, but for general health, there isn't any need for it. No need but it is very challenging. You'll have to spend most of your day moving and that's not possible for most people. Nor do most people have the self-discipline to do it every day without some sort of structured accountability.

Spend time with Friends

What? Isn't this about health and fitness? Yep, it sure is. There is a strong connection between the health of your body and the quality of the friendships you have. It's a connection that is beginning to be studied in a formalized way but there is anecdotal evidence everywhere.

There is something about having strong connections with other human beings that brings joy, happiness, reduces stress and refreshes the body. Find some people that you like being around and spend some time with them on a regular basis. Go have some fun.

That's it. The list isn't too long nor complicated. These are our "First Principles." That means they come before everything else when it comes to our health and fitness. If you're not doing these things well then you'll find yourself in trouble in some capacity. Consistently focus on these things and you'll be healthy, and happy. That's a drastically different message than you'll find from the next great fitness guru on the internet because it isn't flashy, there isn't a secret and there is nothing to sell.

We're here to help because we actually care.

Now, go live better.