On Tuesday evening, Bob was a guest speaker at the South African Association of Campus Health Services (SAACHS) 2018 conference.
‘Beating the Drum’, the aptly labelled theme of the conference, gave Bob the licence to explore the subject which he is so blatantly passionate about: “Using Sport to add to the Health & Wellness Debate”.
In his speech, he explored how the act of exercising can take you from a ‘couch potato’ to the person doing things you thought unimaginable.
As his point of reference in his speech, Bob relayed aspects of Mark Sisson’s book, Primal Blueprint. Sisson was once a top marathon runner in the USA, and a serious triathlete, where he came 4th in the World Ironman Championships in his prime.
Sisson’s teachings today are based on Primal Living, and are far removed from the ultra-style mega training of his and other endurance sporting careers, and is geared toward longevity of health and fitness and not short-term gains of fame.
In his book, Sisson says: “We get so lost in the science of human biology, we just cannot see the forest from the trees. We overlook the simplicity and ease with which we could all be achieving exceptional health and fitness.”
Sisson goes on to give 6 pointers to an exceptional life:
1) Eating well on animals and plants and eliminating ALL grains, sugars and trans fats.
2) Moving often at a slow pace – low level aerobic activity.
3) Lifting heavy things – can be weights in the gym, your own bodyweight, core exercises or even working in the garden and lifting things therein.
4) Run fast occasionally – on the beach, up a hill or flight of stairs. Ride a bike hard if you must.
5) Play – with family children or grandchildren, but just play.
6) Get plenty of sleep – if we skimp on sleep he suggests “we get a nation of overworked, over fatigued men, women and students.”
What Sisson is really getting at, and what Bob has been telling his athletes for years, is that we over train and we over compete. This in turn impacts negatively upon on our health just as a lack of exercise does.
Sportspeople seem to get into the situation where they reach a goal on X training and then think well if we do X + Y we will perform better still.
This unfortunately is not how it works. And, as Bob knows from experience, coaches have their work cut out trying to convince athletes that to race faster you sometimes need to train slower.
That is how the Kenyans train.
That is how you should train.
Sport and optimum health require a fine line divided between preparation and recovery.
Sportspersons need to be encouraged to be the very best they can be, and disengage from the pressure of needing to be better than another – until such time it might come naturally, of course.
Being mindful of sport in general and the role it can play in improving the lives and the health of our nation should be our NATIONAL sporting mission.