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The below thoughts have racked my brain this Summer. James Clear (author of Atomic Habits) says that he doesn’t know what he thinks about a topic until he puts it into words. I feel the same way.
So, this is my first attempt at putting my thoughts into words — let me know where my shortcomings are on this “Health Roadmap.”
How do you become healthy?
The vast majority of books, podcasts, school curriculums, and videos make the path to health unclear.
But if you’re an athlete, you’re good at filtering out pseudoscience and crazy workout ideas.
After a number of years and over a thousand one-on-one conversations, here’s my suggestion on a path to health. Real health.
If “health” is at point B, and the average person is at point A, what is the path from point A to point B?
Point A (80% of America) would certainly mean that you are dependent on other individuals, technology, and substances.
Point B (health) is the freedom of choice and function. The capacity to do anything, anywhere, anytime, with anyone.
With these definitions, I asked myself, “What does the halfway point between sickness (point A) and health (point B) look like?”
I believe that halfway point to health must then be Functional Retirement. Basically, it’s the point where your mind and body allow you to do what you want, when you want. You may be taking some medication to help with pain or an illness, but overall, you’re able to play golf with your friends, go hiking with family, and travel the world without a second thought of keeping up. You’re thriving.
Then, I chopped up the journey even further and asked, “What’s halfway to halfway?”
I imagine that halfway between Sickness and Functional Retirement is “Surviving.” I like to think of this stage as being able to survive back in 1776 when our country was first founded. In other words, without the help of modern medicine and technology, could you stay alive for one month? That’s certainly not the kind of health I want, but it’s halfway to the halfway marker.
Then I asked, “What’s halfway between Functional Retirement and Health?”
Halfway between Functional Retirement and Health must be Functional Independence. This is when you are totally free from addiction, medication, and pain. You also have the capacity to do anything, anywhere, at anytime. The component you’re missing, however, is the ability to share your health. In other words, those closest to you (spouse, children, siblings, friends) are not also capable of doing anything, anywhere, at anytime with you.
Real health (to me) would indicate that once you achieve it, you can also share it. I once had a mentor that said No one likes being rich if they’re friends aren’t also rich. I think of health the same way.
You don’t care about being healthy at age 90 if you’re alone.
The spaces between each of these achievements (Sickness, Functional Retirement, Functional Independence, and Health) are the four phases of the Athlete’s Journey — or the roadmap to health.
I’ve temporarily named these four phases: Underdog, Contender, Champion, and Legend. Here’s a rough summary:
Underdog Athlete: You’ve tried and gave up before on fitness. Every New Year is a modification of the same resolution. Your motto: Go the Distance. The question you need to overcome before moving on is: How do I make sure this doesn’t happen again?
Contender Athlete: You saw some success and won some battles. Your physician is pleased with your health. Your motto: Never Give Up. You ask yourself: How do I keep moving forward?
Champion Athlete: You reached your goals and did what was impossible. You’re seen as a superhero to those younger and older than you. Your motto: Hard Work Pays Off. You ask yourself: How do I lead others to do the same?
Legacy Athlete: You led and inspired others to follow you. You’re legacy lives on long after you’re gone. Your motto: Together is Better. You ask yourself: How do I impact my grandchildren’s children?
I want to build out our service at RxFIT to move athletes from sickness to health as expediently as possible.
I’m imagining our Ramp-Up program being a 100-day sprint from the starting point. We move fast. I want to get people out of the Underdog phase and on to the Contender phase as quickly as possible.
And then you sit down with an RxFIT manager in your first “Goal Review” meeting.
In this meeting, we open up all potential options and prescribe exactly what you need now. We want to keep you moving toward health.
I, of course, would also need to develop our coaches and show them how to move athletes from one step to the next with personal accountability and coaching. I would imagine things moving really fast at times, and then slowing down at other times.
But the net result is that we can get athletes to become healthy (and stay healthy) in three years.
What do you think?