Workout of the Day

I Don't Care About Performance, I Just Want to be Healthy

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I don’t care about performance, I just want to be healthy.

Given the performance-focused nature of what we do here, it’s not uncommon to hear this line or others like it. It’s a perfectly understandable sentiment. To the unfamiliar eye, you see the dedication, the intimidating exercises, the heavy weights, and the intensity that seem to be involved in performance-minded training and think “oh, I don’t really need to do all that -- I’ll just do the simpler stuff to make me healthy.”

Somewhere along the way, we collectively decided that performance and health are two separate issues. We all recognize, of course, that there is overlap between performance and health -- we recognize that an Olympic track athlete has likely aided her health to some degree through her training -- but there’s this general assumption that training for performance is an entirely separate path than training for health. The irony of the situation is that performance is one of the strongest predictors we have for health and longevity. Numerous studies have demonstrated that, in essence, fitness (measured generally as VO2 max) and strength are independent determinants of all-cause mortality, longevity, and survival. Fitness makes you a more durable human. What’s more, these studies showed that fitness is a stronger predictor of mortality than other known risk factors like smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity; and other studies have shown a higher mortality risk in normal-weight but unfit individuals than in obese but fit individuals (1, 2, 3).

(I’ll pause here for a moment to clarify that these health benefits of performance apply not as much to elite athletes looking to bring their back squat from 800lbs to 900lbs, or Olympic swimmers looking to shave .1 seconds off of their time, but to ordinary folks like you and me.)

The message here is that our public understanding of health needs a paradigm shift. Fitness is health. Strength is health. These are not separate notions that can or should be trained in two completely opposite ways. They are two sides of the same coin. Teaching grandma to deadlift her own bodyweight is an endeavor in health and performance, not just one or the other.

I'll leave it at this: What do we think would happen if doctors started prescribing strength training to their hypertensive patients or patients with cardiovascular disease? And (and this is the real issue), what do we think would happen if these patients listened?

- Preston Sprimont


2/21/17

  • Back squat - 10,10,10

  • For time:

    • 30 dumbbell squat cleans (90/60)

    • 400m run

    • 30 dumbbell thrusters (90/60)

    • 400m run