The last couple months have been extremely exciting for myself and our team at Thrive. We are in the process of moving into a new facility, we are involved in a trail race fundraiser for a local non-profit, and our Pack is growing at a rapid rate (given the time of year, this last fact is especially exciting!). And even with all these things going on, I have another thing that has really been exciting to me that I’ve looked forward to writing about for a while but haven’t had the time until now.
Recently, I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain my thought about what it takes to achieve true health and vitality. This ideology is not the same as every other fitness, nutrition or health expert, because I’ve seen how the fitness and nutrition industries have ravaged the general population with useless services and products and don’t want to get caught up in the same game as everybody else.
So, in order to more easily to explain how we do what we do and why it’s important, I broke it down in a way that is simple yet effective. And before we get into the meat of this ideology, let’s take a look at the process as a whole.
Generally, when you’re looking to improve your health in some form or fashion, whether that be losing weight, or putting on muscle, or moving better, or feeling better, you go to a gym or personal trainer or nutritionist or health practitioner and figure out what you need to do to reach your goal. And, generally, you will start to move towards better health utilizing that function. That may be by lifting weights or by changing your diet or by taking pills. The point is, most people start to improve their health by only seeking to change one characteristic of which may improve your health.
This idea implies that there are multiple characteristics of health, which there are. The problem is, most people in the health and fitness industry only offer to help you improve one characteristic at a time. And many times, it’s not done in a sustainable, lasting way (this is where 90% of people fail when it comes to improving their health).
So, in order to see what it really means to be in good health, you need to be able to raise your standards on what it means to be truly healthy. That’s what it shouldn’t be enough for you to just be “healthy”. Don’t get me wrong, healthy is good. But, achieving health doesn’t always give you the freedom to move well, be strong, live long, and be happy. In order to do that, you need to achieve ultimate vitality!
This is why I created the Pyramid of Vitality. Pyramid is kind of a lie, really, because it’s actually just a triangle. But, how cool does Triangle of Vitality really sound?!
Since achieving Ultimate Vitality is about more than just working out more or eating better or sleeping better, is doesn’t make sense to just focus on one thing or the other. This is why the Pyramid of Vitality is a pyramid and not a dot. The pyramid has 3 points, and at each point is a characteristic of vitality. Yes, there are only 3 characteristics of vitality. Two of the characteristics will not surprise. The last characteristic, though, may throw you off a bit.
Now, it’s not enough to know that there are 3 characteristics of vitality. You have to know how you can impact each one of these characteristics in order improve any one that may be lagging behind. And in order to do that, you need to know what to improve. That’s why each characteristic has 3 functions that you can change in order to improve the characteristic of your choice.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at each characteristic and break each one down into its related functions:
Like I said, the first 2 characteristics make sense and shouldn’t surprise anyone. Fitness is a basic characteristic of health and vitality. Without a basic level of fitness, your vitality will not be an optimum level and your longevity will be shortened because of it.
What may surprise you is that there are only 3 things that impact your fitness level. Those 3 things are: How you move, how often you move, and how you rest and recover. Yes, those are the only 3 functions that can increase or decrease your level of fitness. Now, there are thousands upon thousands of things that can fit into these functions. So, it’s up to you to decide which thing to choose to improve the function you’re after.
I know, you probably expected the second characteristic to be nutrition. Surprise, surprise! Nutrition is extremely important when it comes to your health and vitality. Without proper nutrition, you may fall into disease quicker or decrease your fitness level and more. But, simply having nutrition as the second characteristic of vitality doesn’t encompass everything we need it to. That’s why you should look at nutrition as a function of lifestyle.
With that said, the 3 functions of lifestyle are: How we behave, how we eat, and how we rest and recover. Yes, rest and recovery are a part of lifestyle and fitness. The reason is, these are different types of rest of recover (which we’re not going to get into today). Just keep in mind, your physical body needs rest AND your mental body needs rest.
The final characteristic of vitality is the one that usually surprises people. Fulfillment doesn’t seem like something that should be included with fitness and lifestyle. But, when you’re viewing your health through the lens of ultimate vitality, you’ll see that, without fulfillment, nothing else matters.
See, fulfillment is the biggest shortcoming in most of our lives. We buy fancy purses and expensive cars and big houses, hoping that these things are going to make us happy. But, inevitably, that don’t. And this is because we aren’t fulfilled with our purpose and who we are, so we try to fill the void with THINGS. Now, things can make you happy, but only if you’re already happy with your life and yourself.
The 3 functions of fulfillment, then, are: How we think, how we feel, and what we do. It seems silly to break fulfillment down to 3 simple ideas. But, when you truly think about it, anything that can and should make you happy fit into these 3 functions. If you’re missing one, it’s going to tough to improve your overall happiness. Success is great. But always remember, as Tony Robbins says, success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.
Now that we have a basic idea of the Pyramid of Vitality, we’ll begin to break down each characteristic one at a time. But, before we do that, next time we’ll look at something I didn’t mention in this article at all. And that is, what drives the Pyramid of Vitality? Because there are so many things that you can do to impact each function of the 3 characteristics, you have to have something that guides your reasoning behind doing them. That will be our next topic. Until then, keep working your ass off and continue to get better each and every day!
If you’re not involved with something that is improving your life and are ready to make a change in your health and vitality, start by setting up your Vitality Strategy Session! Our Pack is here to support you on your journey.