Guest post written by: Mike Ritter
Quote from the Introduction of The Fitness Revival
“Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs
Every human has needs and every human has wants. We often confuse the two and blend them until they are an unrecognizable stew. Sometimes we even confuse the priority in which our needs are addressed.
Do I need to work in order to eat?
Do I need to eat in order to work?
By skipping the fundamentals of health we set ourselves up for a big fall. It’s like having a house with no family, or a government with no people. In order to achieve anything in the health, we must be accurate and diligent in identifying underlying causes, triggers and needs which need to be addressed in order to solve any single problem. We wrote the fitness revival in order to help more people understand the systems that are the undercurrent of human health/dysfunction and present a hierarchy of needs which should be addressed before jumping to traditional fitness methods. These traditional methods include sport and the masterization of specific skill sets. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often used in psychology circles to identify psychological needs but actually represents a great deal of general human health. You can see Maslow’s chart below:
MASLOWS HIERARCHY OF NEEDS
According to Abraham Maslow, who developed this widely recognized hierarchy of needs in 1943, one cannot reach full self-actualization until they have reached all of the needs required for good self-esteem. They cannot fulfill their potential for self-esteem until they fulfill their needs of love and belonging through friendships, family, and sexual intimacy. This level of needs is what most people are trained to fix when they enter the gym or hire a health professional. However, safety and security is the foundation for love and belonging. Yet, none of these needs are essential for true psychological self-actualization. Esteem, love/belonging and safety can’t be truly fulfilled until all physiological needs are met. Physiological needs include the basis of all primitive survival: breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis and excretion. According to Maslow, these 7 needs are the lynch pin for all other trusses as you build a strong fully examined life. Notice that Maslow did not use a skyscraper or a square to illustrate this concept; he used a pyramid. The foundation under a pyramid, unlike our modern day structures, have a wide base of support conveying a subservient purpose. This foundational base isn’t just important – the rest of the pyramid cannot exist without it. As you travel up the stages of personal growth, you may notice that the needs become more familiar with today’s societal structure. Many people mistake their basic needs with some of more luxurious ones such as esteem. When attempting to gain better health, people will often target their self-esteem as the deep hole inside that needs fixing. When in reality, their base of support of physiological needs and safety (security of job, resources, morality, family/community, health and property) may need to be addressed in order to obtain any essence of better self-esteem. It is crucial for us to understand what health and happiness really are and how to build them in a way that complies with our complex yet layered being. “
We wrote The Fitness Revival to help more people see the beauty in simple and effective lifestyle changes in multiple areas of health; all which affect each other. A project like this may be the most important thing you ever do. Embracing the process of stress management from all angles (emotional, dietary and movement stressors) allows you a lifetime of limitless self-discovery and progression. This does not mean a life overhaul though.
You may think of this book as a utility belt to managing life stressors and, ultimately, your health. When you need a life pause, The Fitness Revival is like having Zack Morriss’ special freeze tactic (check it out here). If you’re unhappy, stressed, achy, or just searching for improvement just look at the camera with your ultra-gelled blond hair and jean jacket, say freeze and tackle the stressors that need your attention. Go get ‘em preppy.
Why focus on stress?
One of the major players responsible for the acceleration and deceleration of aging, disease, athletic performance, long term happiness, memory, joint pain, perception of happiness and recovery can be described as stress.
Triggers of chronic disease can be treated as alligators in a swamp. What do you do?
Do you shoot the alligators?
Just shooting the alligators simply won’t work because the environment is still hospitable to alligators; more will eventually come. What’s the answer?
Drain the swamp.
Environments influence behaviors yet we are constantly trying to target behaviors as the primary triggers for health. The environment must change or you will constantly be trying to medicate a potentially dangerous situation. And this swamp can be described ultimately as a pool of stressors and chronic, unnatural stressors are very common in our society.
Although reducing all of these factors to one word (stress) can be viewed as over simplistic, this one single word encompasses a whirlwind of causes, effects, variables and unknown factors all balled up into one word. The study of stress is a fascinating mosh posh of behavioral, dietary and physiology inputs ranging from small correlative observations to 10 year-long meta-analysis’ and it affects 100% of people. It’s a constant variable which affects every aspect of health. What this means to you, is that you are the beneficiary of an awakening in the fitness industry. The revival we are proposing is one which will ultimately deepen the term healthy lifestyle which has been a vague under-explained term, to the public, for quite some time.
“Michelle and Mike have eloquently covered the most critical aspects of living/performing at your highest level. They aren’t afraid to speak the truth behind what will ultimately drive your results.”
– Charles Mayfield, SFG, FMS, USAW L1, CF L1, Co-Author of Paleo Comfort Foods book series
Why we wrote The Fitness Revival
After a few years of coaching we realized that many health issues that people commonly experience are related to chronic over or underuse. Unfortunately most of these awesome people, mainly their 30s, 40s and 50s, get their 1 hour of exercise a day and eat perceivably healthy yet they feel threatened by the thought of relaxation for fear of losing most, if not all of their hard earned progress. It’s like they are shackled by constant quantitative exercise and ritualistic dieting and it’s become and undiscussed epidemic. This limited perception has diluted the purpose of exercise and weakened our connection with which we are most deeply connected. They say we share 98% of our genetic code with chimpanzees, 90% with cats, 80% related to cows and share 50% of our genetic makeup with bananas. Isn’t that interesting? On the flipside we are 0% genetically identical to our computer desk, 0% related to our iPhone and 0% genetically similar to our fluorescently lit offices, yet most people share most of their life around these things. It is our hope that The Fitness Revival will inspire more people to frequently evaluate and cultivate their relationship with the organic and decrease their dependence on the inorganic. With this perspective, we won’t be the least bit surprised to see more people’s health and happiness begin to naturally gravitate towards center. From there, health can be manageable for a very long time if we develop a deep understanding of how stress works in all of its forms: How You Think, What You Eat and How You Move.
Chapter 1: The Stress Relief Project
This chapter gives an in depth look into how stress events occur and are then interpreted by our bodies. We separate the controllable from the uncontrollable and detect hidden stressors in your life which may be prohibiting fat loss and athletic improvement. The highlight of this chapter is 5 Ways to Become More Human which wraps up the chapter in a simplistic action plan. We have gotten great reviews on this section.
Chapter 2: The Real Food Project
There is food and then there is nutrition. The word food carries a cultural, artistic, entertainment and business connotation. Nutrition is strictly chemistry; chemicals interacting with chemicals. It’s very easy to improperly blend the two together. Many people struggle with diet because it is affected by many variables in one’s life. Let’s face it, guilt and stress from other facets of your world will affect your choice to start and sustain a healthy diet. This template discusses food in the context of agriculture, social and nutritional perspective. Instead of applying a linear predictable plan to your world of variables, we offer scenario based templates and foundational principles to manipulate your diet as your life changes.
Chapter 3: The Movement Project
We are born to move. It is a crime how much deterioration we’ve accepted in this capacity but all is not lost. For years we’ve been told that exercise will help reverse obesity, diabetes, bad backs and headaches. But that’s only partially true. Not all exercise programs contain good movement nutrition and therefore many people live with pain they have accepted as normal. Ancient Athenians would not allow their children to proceed to scholastic education until they reached an acceptable level of physical capacity, mainly in gymnastics. In the modern world we lose much natural physical capacity after being plugged into a desk at 4 years old. Our version of exercise today resembles one that values quantitative measures (max lifts, times, calorie burn) over qualitative measures (quality of movement and skill progression). If excelling in sport is your goal, that’s one thing. But if your goal is health, we have a better, more efficient and natural philosophy to share which will promote longevity, relieve physical stress in your body and improve athletic performance multiple ways.
Chapter 4: Bonus Tools
Bonus Tools is all about getting you started on one of these three projects right away. We have a guide to blood work to prepare you when speaking to your doctor about your test results. Any good program should help improve your blood chemistry, not just your waistline. You should also know what you’re listening to when your doctor goes all doctor-ey on you. This will help. You will enjoy the habits building section as well as goal setting sheets to get you started on your first project. The testimonials will help share inspiring stories and we also have an Awesome Resources section that aggregates many other recommended resources.
We as a country are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of not only processed food and a sedentary lifestyle but also health negating behaviors such as over-training, bingeing, 9-5 sitting, broken sleep, chronic cardio and a lifestyle that is insulated from nearly everything natural. Just the simple act of putting your phone away 30 minutes and simply diaphragmatically breathing for 5-10 minutes before bed time can have a dramatic effect on your sleep. So many factors affect our health in ways that are unquantifiable yet profound. In The Fitness Revival you will not find one of these factors heralded as THE KEY TO HEALTH, but profound pieces that will surely improve multiple aspects of your life.
“It’s about damn time this book was written! The Fitness Revival might be the most responsible book in all of health and fitness, and that’s not an exaggeration. Richards and Ritter cover everything any trainer or health and fitness enthusiast need to know about getting real results, but they do it in a manner that continually returns to the ever-so-important and ever-so-neglected subject of stress management. “
– Jason Seib, Author of The Paleo Coach, The JASSA Method
Here going forward The Fitness Revival is your utility belt, equipping you to be able to do the things you love, for a very long time. Longevity = experimentation and smart management. We will discuss these categories from our own body of research and personal experience. This broad picture of health is broken down into categories to enable us to communicate these complex ideas to you effectively and as thorough as we can. But as you read through these individual sections keep in mind that each one is interdependent of the other and countless other variables which we cannot account for. Each chapter deserves adequate attention both through reading and practice. Each chapter provides starting points on how to move forward but it is not a stopping point. Consider the fitness revival your starting block and a sturdy reference for when you feel your health and happiness needs a kick in the pants. Use it as a reminder that there are multiple ways to gain health and build a more resilient body which can always be more capable. There are very few definitive right and wrongs when it comes to personal happiness, but there is always an opportunity for you to revive a missing piece in your life. This book will inspire you to take advantage of your genetic love for the outdoors, unlimited physical capacity, good food and a good purge of senseless clutter.