Polarization vs. Common Ground in Health and Wellness

As I train and race each season, I am constantly learning new techniques for speed, endurance, strength, supplements, and nutrition, among others, and right now, there are so many options for learning. Athletes have personal trainers, coaches, nutritional consultants, doctors, physio therapists, chiropractors, and the list goes on and on. We are just flooded with advice that varies so much it is hard to tell who to listen to, and now, the Internet provides a giant megaphone for anyone to deliver their version of what works via social media, blogs, video, websites, and, my current go to for discussion, the podcast. And I admit, I love listening to podcasts, as I’m sure many of us do.

I was planning to list a bunch of my regular go to podcasts, but on reconsideration, many of them are already mentioned in my posts, and anyone who has experience with the current trends and conversation does not need a list. With such an open platform, many of the discussions in the health and wellness world have turned a bit sour. Instead of progressive ideas and discussion, some of the rhetoric has turned quite mean-spirited and vitriolic. Don’t get me wrong. This is not always the case, and I teach Composition and Rhetoric at the college-level, so I know how to analyze and filter out those who genuinely want to help people and those who just want to help themselves or draw attention to their sad little worlds. Unfortunately, the world of endurance athletics has not been spared from such childish behavior, but even with such caustic polarization pushing people into their various and often divisive camps – paleo, vegan, plant-based, fruitarian, sprint, endurance, crossfit, volume, Maff, zone 2, tempo, and on and on and on – I have found one thing that tends to hold most of these camps together. There is something we can agree on and can help all of us along the way to being healthier, being able to train and race harder and longer, and to recover faster, and here is my version:

Here is my 40th birthday present from my mom. This Vitamix rocks, but my old cheaper blender did the job for years.

My 40th birthday present from my mom. This Vitamix rocks, but my old cheaper blender did the job for years.

Of course, what brand and what ingredients we put into the blender will divide us back into our camps (see above list of diets), but, for the most part, this is an essential tool that can delivery the goods. In tons of different athletic categories, there is no denying that we burn some serious calories when the weight, speed and volume push us to our limits, and it is hard to argue against having a smoothie. When I’m training, I’m burning through some serious calories and nutrients, and the calorie and nutrient density of the smoothie is just an extremely efficient delivery method, and, if you know what you are doing, quite tasty too.

OMBA Fat Tire Fest 2013

OMBA Fat Tire Fest 2013 Souvenir

Santos Blue Trails

Santos Blue Trails




About Jim Newell

Associate Professor of English, Daytona State College / Thinker / Ponce Inlet Surfer / Improviser / Dad
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