gears The Body is Not a Machine!

This statement may seem like a mistake. After all since the industrial revolution moved machines up into a place of wonder, we’ve been taught to see our body as a machine. Medicine has become an external intervention to “fix” what’s wrong, rather an internal intervention to marshal a body’s ability to heal. (The litany of side effects that accompany drug interventions should be seen as a warning sign—which by definition they are—that the drug therapy path is dangerous.)

We’ve been taught that our bodies will wear out, like a machine if we use it too much. Doctors prescribe resting a body part if we feel pain in it, rather than controlled movement to evoke the body’s healing powers. We are encouraged to train the body with devices—ok machines—that prevent us from moving in multiple planes of motion out of fear that we’ll hurt ourselves those making it more difficult for the 24/7 access gyms to exist—no 24/7 access gym could afford to sell a $39/month membership if there was a coach present to supervise the training.

There is an entire field of study called BioMechanics that calculates all of the angles, levers, etc. that the body as a machine can move through—believe me as a trained engineer this appeals to me. But it’s wrong, body is not a machine it’s much more like to a Garden!

The Body is a Garden

Unlike a machine that does wear out with use, the body is more like a garden which breaks down with a lack of use—think weeding and tilling, feeding, watering and nurturing. Like a garden the body requires a rotation of stresses—crop rotation—without this the body will tend to grow in the area where there is the most use. A bone spur is one way a body responds to a constant stressor, it’s a healthy response to the added stress/pull on the bone’s periosteum—the fascia surrounding and containing the bone cells—the body’s response to this constant pull is to send Osteoblasts to the area to reinforce it by laying down bone along the line of strain. Let me reiterate; the bone spur is the body’s healthy response to a constant stressor it is making the area stronger. A machines response is to lose strength and wear out. In one instance stress causes a loss of strength, the machine. While in the body stress causes an increase in strength.

If we don’t stress the body it will break down. A couch potato lifestyle has never resulted in a healthier body. Hearts, lungs, muscles, bones… all require stress to improve function.

I’m not suggesting that rest is not important, is certainly is for the body to build stronger: ligaments, bones, muscles, and to repair damage which results in a stronger “part”, as well as restore energy reserves.

Our body needs stress in the correct dose, rest to counter the stress and allow it to grow and nutrition to provide the building material for change.


When Diet and Exercise Don’t Work?

This is a line from a commercial for a drug. It’s obviously meant to increase sales of the drug. It also points out a problem we have in that we think that all forms of diet and exercise are the same.

When diet and exercise don’t work change your diet and your exercise, it’s simple. Don’t take a drug! Using the garden analogy, if our garden soil is poor we don’t pour chemicals on it—at least I hope not—we build it’s fertilization up. We make is more receptive, fertile, to growth. The same is true when our diet or exercise is not giving us the correct desires results.


You can’t out exercise a bad diet.

If your diet is bad you will not be able to work hard enough in exercise to correct it. Nutrition is the foundation of the pyramid of fitness, we have to assure that it is solid. Once we have dialed in our diet we’ll have a fertile garden to grow health and fitness.

You can’t out diet a lack of exercise.

This is the corollary to the above. The best diet in the world will not provide the body with the stress required to become fit. We need to work the body to make it better, to utilize the high octane fuel we’re taking in. Dropping the Twinkies out of our diet is a start, but then we’ve got to get off the couch as well. We all know this.

If you’re having problem getting the results you want from your diet or your exercise you should consult with a Coach who can help with correcting this. Integral CrossFit offers a free No Sweat Introduction to help you with this.