Let’s look at two common examples, and then see if you can improve your fitness levels and body composition without sweating more.

1. I’m the definition of fitness … I’m a Crossfitter/ marathoner/ etc!

It’s difficult to tease apart the fitness impacts of something like marathon running or CrossFit through a scientific study. You cannot just randomize a hundred people to run three marathons a year, and a hundred others to run no marathons. Adherence in the marathon group would be … low.

Not to mention differences in starting health, diet, supplements, and more.

When it comes to CrossFit, it almost certainly improves many aspects of fitness and is even more likely to foster motivation and a sense of community.

Marathoners are a healthy bunch, by and large. Long-term marathon running is associated with less coronary plaque in both men and women. Running, in general, seems to provide cardiovascular benefits, increasing in magnitude the more years you run.

So, what are the issues with marathon-running and CrossFit? Marathon runners with higher training level have more chronic knee lesions than marathon runners with lower training level. Case reports occasionally pop up of rhabdomyolysis (rapid and dangerous muscle breakdown from overly strenuous activity) after CrossFit. There’s also a small but non-negligible risk of death from actually running a marathon, especially in older males, a group in which cardiac-arrest rates during marathons have been increasing over the past few years.

2. Well, my cholesterol is really low, so …

Cardiovascular fitness is a cornerstone of overall fitness. And since low LDL is a predictor of lower heart disease risk, you might feel proud of your super low LDL.

There are a couple of problems here though. The LDL that is reported by your doctor (LDL-C) doesn’t always align with the number of LDL particles floating around (LDL-P), and LDL-P is a better predictor of heart disease. 

Want to optimize your body and your fitness levels? You do not need to sweat it!

What do these two examples above have in common? They look at fitness through narrow lenses. Fitness is not just about working up a big sweat. It does not mean having Instagram worthy abs or exercising two hours a day.

Fitness is a mix of several components:

  • Optimal cardiovascular function
  • Joints that don’t cause you pain
  • Enough muscle and low enough fat to meet your goals
  • Good hormonal balance
  • Sufficient daily sleep to support all the above

A lot of people think that you need to exercise more and more if you want better fitness and a better body. Not true! The most common blocks to optimal fitness are rarely a lack of training time, but more often things like persistent sleep issues or chronic joint pain.

Ways to address these blocks:

  • Nutrition and supplementation
  • Tackle dieting psychology, an incredibly common stumbling block
  • Understand the data behind popular diets
  • Discover the answers to the most frequently asked dieting questions we get
  • Address non-exercise movement (like your body positioning at work)
  • Find how best to track your progress and set realistic fitness goals
  • Keep your joints healthy, so you do not get pain from getting more “fit”

About The Author

Mark Edwards is a professional Krav Maga coach, Personal Trainer and passionate advocate for good Krav Maga training. Mark heads up Krav Maga Taunton & Bridgwater and regularly coaches at national Krav Maga instructor training courses. Mark can be contacted on 07986516337