Disclaimer – this blog is being written after a day trip to Seattle. If you haven’t been keeping up, that is a day trip from my new home – DC – to Seattle – 6 hours in the air, and back – all in 24 hours. I may have slept a total of 3 hours combined on the flights, but I can assure you that my mental acuity is nowhere near 100%.
Sadly, lack of sleep is in stark contrast to my current goals which are longevity and movement focused.
And of course, because I am such a talented writer (insert major sarcasm emoji), the topic of longevity based nutrition is part of today’s blog – imagine that 🙂
If you have watched the seminar video (which you should – it’s in the store on this site) or read any of the other content on this site, you know that I am a massive believer in customizing nutritional protocols EXACTLY to an individual – this should account for things like time of year (periodization), training age, metabolic history, and of course – GOALS.
But recently, I feel like “goals” has become a very confusing notion. In reality, it should be simple, but unfortunately it’s not.
Here’s why – for every goal statement, there are subsequent, subconscious goal statements that are also made but rarely acknowledged.
The emphasis of this blog is to help you create an understanding of this concept, and to help you truly establish your goals within the Triangle of Awareness.
Three Categories of Goals
If you are a CrossFitter, you likely began your journey with the goal of simply looking better naked or being a better athlete. Very few individuals actually undertake the activity with the notion that they are going to win the CrossFit games, or even compete at their local throw-down.
However, the strong community that CrossFit gyms have built has made these goals tangible for several individuals.
For the sake of this article, we will refer to this set of goals as PERFORMANCE GOALS.
As mentioned above, there are also individuals that simply want to look better naked. Usually this comes with a reduction in body fat along with a maintenance of lean tissue, but sometimes it can be a quest solely to gain more lean tissue.
Regardless, in this article we will refer to this set of goals as AESTHETIC GOALS.
Most recently, we have seen a new set of goals coming to us as nutrition coaches and entering into our industry.
Because of the demands of CrossFit, and the ever increasing intensity, we are seeing a shift of people simply wanting to move better, and feel better. Individuals are looking to optimize gut health, move with better mobility, sleep better, have more energy, and function cognitively on their highest level.
These goals will be referred to as LONGEVITY/LIFESTYLE GOALS.
It is important to note that the absolute definition of each goal has no overlap with the other two set of goals.
But it is equally as important to note that very few individuals have a goal that fits any of these absolute definitions.
And this is where the problem lies….
Individuals THINK they have one set of goals, without acknowledging the subconscious statements made by the absolute definition of said goal.
Let’s revisit each set of goals, this time understanding the subconscious statements being made within them.
A performance goal would be categorized simply as performing at one’s highest level. CrossFit Games athletes, Olympians, Professional Athletes, and MMA Fighters are all great examples of this goal.
Subconscious statements made with absolute performance goals:
By stating that you want to be the best at your given sport or activity, you are also stating that you do not have a direct body composition goal. In fact, your body composition will be solely dictated by the result of your fuel and recovery efforts – not intentional caloric deficits or surpluses used to manipulate the image in the mirror.
You are also stating that you are not focused on longevity. Top NFL athletes do not pursue winning the SuperBowl with the idea that they are going to live to see 100 years of age. Top CrossFitters are not seeking optimal gut health in season – especially when the carbohydrate demands for most athletes (female and male) will exceed 400 grams daily.
While these statements are never directly spoken, they are truths of a goal set that is absolutely PERFORMANCE driven.
The pinnacle of aesthetic goals can typically be associated with the physique industry – categories like bodybuilding, physique, figure, fitness, and bikini. We could also classify models in this category.
Subconscious statements made with absolute aesthetic goals:
If you are basing your results on the reflection in the mirror, or images taken by a photographer, your performance will never be measured. In fact, to achieve peak conditioning you will need to reach a very low level of bodyfat. This happens ONLY in a relatively extreme caloric deficit over time.
With this in mind, we can logically conclude that the primary subconscious statement made with aesthetic goals is that you are ok with a performance decrement. In fact, you are ok with suboptimal performance for an extended period of time – the time it will take to achieve your aesthetic goals.
**CROSSFITTER – PLEASE READ THAT STATEMENT UNTIL IT SINKS IN**
Another fact that comes with extremely low bodyfat levels sustained for any amount of time is a reduction of hormone levels.
With this in mind, the second subconscious statement with an aesthetic goal set is that you are ok with not maximizing your longevity.
While things like food quality and sleep can help, you will still not be optimizing overall health/longevity.
Longevity and lifestyle goals are defined as maximizing all health markers in a pursuit of living long with optimal blood and bio markers.
This is typically associated with optimizing gut health, ensuring optimal rest, and keeping stress minimal.
Subconscious statements made with absolute longevity/lifestyle goals:
With the knowledge that high volume, high intensity exercise negatively contributes to gut health, you are ok with keeping your exercise on the lower end of the intensity scale and likely with minimal volume when looking to maximize longevity as a goal.
With the knowledge that sleep is a priority when maximizing longevity, you are ok making it a priority over everything else, including adequately fueling and training for any specified activity.
To live to your fullest capacity in terms of energy, well-being, and optimal lab values internally, you will likely not train with a high degree of volume, and you will rarely eat in severe calorie deficit. As you know by now, neither of these are conducive to optimal performance or aesthetics.
BUT JASON, I WANT ALL THREE!
LOL! Don’t we all – but as you can see it just isn’t possible.
So this begs the question – what is the optimal solution?
As usual, the real answer is “I don’t know” – because it’s a highly individualized question.
However, I will attempt to guide you to your own unique conclusion.
FINDING YOUR PLACE IN THE TRIANGLE
The above image is a visual representation of what we have just discussed. As you navigate towards any absolute goal, you navigate further away from the other two absolute goals.
With this in mind, you first need to identify the absolute goal you want to be closest to.
In my experience, this is usually aesthetics for most people.
What is yours?
OK, now how much of the other two goal sets are you willing to compromise?
Ahhh – that’s such a loaded question, and one that SHOULD require some deep thought.
Good thing I am ending this blog now, and letting you start that thinking process 🙂
Truthfully, I am really interested to hear the conclusion that you come to – so leave a comment in the box below and let’s chat!
Have an awesome week!