A common thread of conversation that a PT has with their client often goes something like this:
Client: “I’m not sleeping well/losing weight/recovering from training/having enough energy at work/able to fall pregnant/sex drive/have sore joints/can’t go to the toilet/get motivated for training etc., etc., etc.”
Whilst the client would more often than not, prefer a really complicated and ‘left of field’ solution to their problems, the truth of the matter is, that it’s all about the basics. Achieving optimal health is about giving your body what it needs to maintain or return to a state of homeostasis (a neutral state of equilibrium that it prefers to be in).
The PT/Coach can give the client (hopefully) the movement they need to build strength, work capacity and the physiological stimulus for changing their body. But without covering the what’s needed to build a solid foundation for health, a lot of that quality training will not only go to waste, but potentially become an additional stressor in an already stressed out system.
The body will try hard to find homeostasis and with a little bit of help from you, it’s pretty good at getting there. A method that Alana and I were introduced to many years ago was the ‘Foundational Principals of Health’. Simply put, this is a checklist of sorts that will help you to systematically cover and address all the most important facets of your lifestyle, leading to better health and supporting hard training.
To better grasp this, we first need to understand how the body modulates stress. Stress comes in many different forms (Physical, Chemical, Electromagnetic, Psychic/Mental, Nutritional and Thermal), which are all processed via the same pathway. Take a look at the pictograph below for a better idea of how this manifests (from the fantastic book ‘How to eat, move and be healthy’ by Paul Chek).
Learning, understanding and employing the foundation principals will help to facilitate better health for you on a number of levels. Continue reading for an in depth explanation of how this works.