“With every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” - Newton’s Third Law
As modern medicine’s popularity increased, its shortfalls, such as painful and extensive side effects, became more apparent. These revelations during the twentieth century, along with other cultural movements, prompted a shift towards holistic health, prominently during the 1970s. During this time, people also started seeking out well-rounded and spiritually sound ways to support our bodies, minds, and spirits.
To some, it’s still a mystery how modern fitness can fit into the realm of holistic wellness. Typically, when people think of fitness, images of men working out, a muscular physique, and the motto “no pain, no gain” ensue. We may also envision the stereotypical body-building diet which includes raw eggs, meat, and protein shakes.
Traditional fitness does not take into account the mental, emotional, spiritual, and social components of a whole-person approach to wellness. Instead, it focuses solely on the physical aspect and can sometimes push the body to the extreme without thinking about the mental or emotional effects.
Traditional fitness routines and expectations don’t only affect men. Women are also subjected to certain ideals. Beauty norms in every corner of Western society focus on the physical aspects of health and often take these standards to unhealthy, even disorderly levels. Although traditional fitness is moving away from these cultural norms, it still only focuses on the physical components of wellness.
As a result of the methodological constraints of traditional fitness, some individuals burn out, quit going to the gym, or they look for another solution. Holistic fitness may be the solution that many people are looking for, but simply aren’t aware of or don’t understand.
Read on to learn more about the components of holistic fitness and the many benefits one can gain from becoming holistically fit.
A whole-person approach is the framework of holistic fitness. A whole-person approach means supporting the person, not the symptoms or conditions a person is experiencing. It entails looking at an individual’s mental, emotional, physical, and social habits to determine how to best promote well-being.
In holistic fitness, work out routines, exercises, food choices, and lifestyle choices are analyzed in an interconnected manner. By doing so, a fitness professional can best determine how to help the individual to make long-term lifestyle changes based on their individual needs and goals.
Holistic fitness, and other holistic fields, understand that one aspect of an individual’s wellness impacts another. For example, if someone is experiencing stress, they may also manifest muscle soreness and tension. It would then be determined that muscle soreness was the symptom and not the root cause. Instead, stress would be identified as the root cause. The holistic fitness professional would then work with the individual to determine what exercise routine, dietary changes, and psycho-social-emotional adjustments the individual could take to support the root cause.
The holistic fitness professional would constantly keep in mind the various components of the whole-person approach to wellness. They would also take into account the secondary effects of how improving one aspect of wellness will affect the others. By doing so, this would support the client in becoming more balanced.
Philosophy & Methods
A thin body isn’t always a healthy body. Nor is a larger body always unhealthy. Professionals in holistic fitness understand that each individual is unique. They understand that people have different needs and they teach them to listen to their body, mind, and spirit. Holistic fitness professionals also believe that the body is an intelligent organism that is completely capable of healing itself. Exercises, food choices, and any other natural, non-invasive modalities, such as aromatherapy, are meant to aid in this restorative process and raise the individual’s quality of life.
Holistic fitness also seeks to support the individual’s physical conditioning goals. However, instead of acting as an authority figure about how to meet these goals, a holistic fitness professional will act as a guide. They will listen to their client and guide them towards finding solutions to their challenges. For example, if a client is vegan and wants to gain muscle, the holistic fitness professional would work with their client to determine the best plant-based high protein food choices for them. The holistic fitness professional would also brainstorm with the client to determine how they can gain social, spiritual, and emotional support throughout their wellness journey.
A holistic fitness professional wouldn’t assume that one client’s journey or needs are the same as another. Even if two people do share common goals, needs, or characteristics, their daily activities or stress-levels may be completely different. This is why listening and guiding a client is of the utmost importance in a holistic fitness environment.
One of the most fulfilling long-term benefits of holistic fitness is that individuals learn to trust themselves and their bodies. Another benefit is that they often give attention to less-thought-about areas of life, such as their social or emotional habits.
People who follow a holistic fitness approach are more likely to slowly and steadily reach their target. They set small, manageable goals and build on successes instead of overwhelming themselves from the start. By following this philosophy, they are more likely to learn lifelong skills and habits that they can maintain. Also, since they are setting reasonable goals, they are less likely to burnout and injure themselves. Lastly, by eliminating the “one size fits all” mindset and realizing that there are many ways to meet a goal, holistic fitness advocates learn how to be more flexible in their approach to life and wellness.
Ready to give holistic fitness a try?
At Trinity School of Natural Health, we offer a wide variety of natural health and holistic educational programs. One of our programs, the Certified Holistic Fitness Specialist program, gives students the perfect opportunity to learn more about holistic fitness and guide others on their journey to becoming healthier. Learn more about this program and Trinity School of Natural Health by visiting our website at TrinitySchool.org or by calling 800-428-0408 (option 2).