The Lifestyle Tree: Part I

Life is truly an amazing thing. We have been granted a life, a vehicle to transport our life’s spirit, and given free rein to do whatever we choose to do within our lifetime. Many of us use phrases like, “live life to the fullest” or “you only live once”, but we typically use those terms when viewing life from what in my opinion seems to be a negative perspective instead of the positive.

We use phrases like those to justify our reckless behavioral patterns when it comes to all aspects of our health. We use them to justify our smoking habit, our drinking habits, our sleeping habits and our working habits. When we indulge heavily in the richness of food and the poison of alcohol or we suffer from lack of sleep for work or even play, we are essentially wearing down our body. I hear people ask the question why should I eat healthy, live healthy when I could die tomorrow. Well that’s a fairly pessimistic and bleak way of looking at your life and a person who thinks in this way should take a moment to sit down and examine their life a little deeper.

I look at life as a tree to be nurtured and cared for as best as we can. It was working in my garden over the past year that I thought of this idea of the lifestyle tree. To sustain life there are certain things that all living organisms need. In part one of The Lifestyle Tree we will begin with the most important part of the tree which is the roots.

As I spent time in my garden, I watched the leaves of my plants succumb to the rays of the sun and various parasites. I tried many different things from moving the plants around to other areas, spraying various toxic substances over the plants and at times I simply cut off the leaves and started over. Well, for most of us we would prefer not to use harmful substances on our skin or go through any sort of surgical procedure for a better looking body. Some of my flowering plants would not flower and some of the plants became so stressed from the local pollution that landed on the leaves and soil that they eventually succumbed to the harsh environment and died.

I realized that the problem was not on the surface in most cases, but it was on the inside of the plant. It was the soil and the roots that were not getting the right vitamins and nutrients on a daily basis to remain strong and defend themselves against their various attackers. So I went to my local plant shop and there I found plant food and various vitamins and nutrients that would give my plants a healthier, fuller look and help them fight the harsh environmental factors. The easy road would have been to throw out the old plants and get new ones, but a little nurture goes a long way.

Well the same thing holds true for plants with our body. We can’t simply throw our body out and start over. We need to provide the key nutrients that our body needs to support life and remain healthy and full of energy. The roots of our body and our lifestyle are our digestive and respiratory system as well as our foundations of strength.

As a personal trainer I’ve spent years coaching people to understand the more holistic view of our body and its functions. For your body to function at maximum capacity it is important to have good cardiovascular health. This means that a regular dose of heart pumping and challenging activity is necessary. When you provide your body with cardiovascular exercise, you train the heart to work more efficiently, increase the health of your veins and arteries, as well as increase lung capacity and overall calorie expenditure which in turn may help you burn more body fat over time.

When your digestive system is not functioning properly then your body will not be able to absorb all the vitamins and nutrients that it needs to manage daily functions, protect your body from harmful free radicals and toxins that enter our body on a daily basis. Often times we are not eating the right variety of foods and types of foods necessary to help our digestive system work properly. Fruits and a good combination of fibrous and starchy vegetables are important for a balanced diet. The food is the soil provided to your roots. Provide healthy soil and watch your body change for the better.

Subscribe by Email and stay tuned for the second installment of The Lifestyle Tree.

Please leave your questions or comments below.

By Rich Thurman, B.Sc., MA, CSCS, CPT

Health & Performance Coach

Active Lifestyle Co. Ltd

With a degree in Physiology from UCLA and a Masters Degree in Sports & Fitness Management, Rich combines his knowledge of rehabilitation and sports performance as well as nutritional studies to provide a complete and holistic approach to training clients. The focus is on lifestyle change which creates long term health.


About Rich Thurman III B.Sc, MA, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Rich has a Bachelors of Science in Physiological Science from UCLA and a Masters of Sports Management from USF. He is certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association, (NSCA) as a Personal Trainer (CPT) and Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He is primary author of The Fitness Library and writes for various other publications, including the San Francisco Police Officer's Association. Rich is the founder of Xodus Fitness, which offers Fitness Consulting & Personal Training, Urban Body Transformation Bootcamps, Corporate Wellness. Rich also conducts Workshops and an annual lecture at the San Francisco State University Kinesiology Department. Please feel free to contact through any of the links below to inquire about professional services or opportunities.

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