The Promise of Health

July 3, 2014

Everyone should read Carl T. Holscher’s 2013 article ”The Promise of Health”. I’d repost it in full here, but he deserves the page views.

It’s on good health, but he offers no hard solutions. He argues against them; it’s a manifesto on the great battle between hard work and quick fixes. Carl discusses at length his journey through weight loss in another article titled “Less of Me”. He talks a lot about the apps and services he used to help him get to his goals—I’d argue that they were minor players in the grand scheme of things. Ultimately, the greatest changes stem from strong internal motivation and dedication.

I appreciate his honesty, and I look with favor upon those who acknowledge the hard truth: that quick fixes rarely, if ever, work in the long run, and that only true hard work will get you anywhere worth getting.

Earlier today, Kristin posted a tweet featuring yours truly working on his middle splits. If you’ve ever spent any time in a splits-like position, you’re aware that it’s brutal, brutal torture. I’ve made plenty of progress, but I am nowhere close to what I would consider ”normal” hip function. Plenty of anecdotal and clinical information out there talks about the relationship between the hips, the back, and the spine; for instance, we know that most cultures who sleep and toilet on the ground indeed have little to no hip or back disease. Ever. Contrastingly, back pain is one of the most widespread sources of chronic pain in America. This is why I try to spend as much time in ass-to-ankle squat positions, splits positions, and avoid sitting as much as possible.

Is it fun? Absolutely not. Some of the mobility work I perform on myself is akin to waterboarding. The same could be said about my “healthy diet” or “fitness routine.” None of it is fun, nor easy. But, as we’ve learned, taking the easy way out is often a recipe for failure.

Ultimately, the goal is to live forever. If this is to be the case, we have to take responsibility for our bodies now before it’s too late.