Holistic Fitness only existed in the East. While the Western world has gone haywire.
Mo’ money has become the ultimate goal. Making 7, 8, or 9 figures is a badge of honor many want to wear on their proud breast.
External rewards have highjacked our dopamine system. We strive for more, more, more—in the outside world.
Managers are highly stressed. Entrepreneurs want to innovate and create freedom—instead, they burn out. Not noticing that they lost touch with their inner wisdom, true health, and feeling what they really need (and want).
One well-documented case: Arianna Huffington.
In 2007, Arianna Huffington was a highly successful and influential media personality. She co-founded The Huffington Post, a popular online news and blog platform, which quickly became one of the most visited news websites.
Her busy lifestyle, combined with the demands of running a successful media company, took a toll on her health and well-being.
The turning point came in April 2007 when Huffington collapsed from exhaustion and burnout. She hit her head on her desk and woke up in a pool of blood. This incident forced her to reevaluate her life and priorities.
She realized that despite her external success, she was neglecting her own health and well-being. This wake-up call led her to delve into the topics of sleep, stress, and the importance of taking care of oneself.
Our journey towards holistic fitness began with a wake-up call too. Ketty had a bike accident and broke her head. Markus suffered from burnout and chronic fatigue.
Those experiences prompted us to embark on a path of curiosity, discovery, and self-growth seeking the holy grail of merging performance & well-being.
That’s where Holistic Fitness started…
Health Disclaimer: This guide is based on our experience (n = 2). Seek the advice of a medical professional before undergoing a new healthcare regimen.
In This Guide
What is Holistic Fitness
Holistic Fitness is an approach to fitness and well-being that goes beyond traditional exercise and nutrition. It encompasses a holistic view of the human system—body, mind, heart, and soul.
Because everything within us and around us is connected.
It involves physical fitness (body), mental and emotional health (mind & heart), and spiritual growth and overall well-being (soul).
The goal is to merge performance & well-being by creating a balanced, thriving life that promotes optimal health and happiness.
By taking a holistic fitness approach to sustainable success, performance, and well-being, we can achieve greater balance, vitality, and overall health.
Think of it as a 4-dimensional approach to fitness.
The 4 Dimensions of Holistic Fitness
We want to be physically fit to carry out daily tasks and activities without undue fatigue. It is the result of regular exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate rest & recovery.
Physical fitness is not just about strength and endurance, but also about flexibility, mobility, and balance.
Mentally fit individuals are able to think, learn, and solve problems effectively. Mental fitness involves cultivating mental clarity, focus, and creativity, as well as resilience in the face of challenges.
It requires adequate rejuvenation, stress management techniques, and mindfulness practices.
When we are emotionally fit we can manage our emotions better and channel them into productive activities.
Cultivating emotional intelligence and developing resilience to handle setbacks and negative feeling patterns are essential for leading a balanced and fulfilling life.
Spiritual fitness is the ability to connect with our inner selves and the world around us on a deeper level. Our higher self has a deeper sense of purpose, peace, and joy.
When we practice meditation, mindfulness, and gratitude we connect with the power of the universe and our true nature.
The ROI of Holistic Fitness
As entrepreneurs, we always compare cost and ROI.
The ROI might be invisible at first sight.
But there are substantial costs when we lack holistic fitness.
As entrepreneurs we love action. But too often we underestimate the cost of inaction.
Let’s have a look at a simple equation:
If you are always too busy and not taking care of yourself, then you are spending zero time on fitness. However, you may end up spending more time on tasks that require you to be fit.
Research states that “hustle culture strips away […]. It makes us less creative, relatable, likable, and unable to recruit and make good decisions.” 1
When you are well-rested and have the right input from food at the right level, your mind becomes clear and focused. By working out and establishing a small mindful practice, you can improve your holistic fitness and well-being, leading to increased energy at peak levels.
Depending on your current state, you may be able to easily double or triple your energy levels.
Dive deeper with our Ultimate Guide to Energy Management (it’s free).
Holistic Fitness & Health
This is the most important variable in the equation, yet one that we keep procrastinating until it becomes critical.
When we don’t make time for our health, we will need to make time for sickness later.
Without a healthy entrepreneur, there can be no healthy business and no healthy purpose.
Sustainable success has many variables. But high-quality input in yourself leads to high-quality output.
How long and how well do you think you can keep up high performance without taking care of yourself?
Those are not easy numbers to identify. But the main point is… You’ll never have time if you don’t dedicate time to deliberate action.
The Foundation of Holistic Fitness — The Beyond Fitness Framework
1. Overall Health
Your overall health is the general state of well-being and functioning of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Vitality and quality of life are defined by your lifestyle choices and the absence or management of diseases or medical conditions.
Achieving and maintaining optimal overall health is a holistic approach that considers the interconnectedness of various aspects of your life. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to maintaining overall health. You can proactively improve and build your long-term health capital.
2. Beyond Movement
Functional Fitness means you have the suitable level of strength, mobility, and endurance to do whatever you like in everyday life and beyond. The best part: exercise causes neurons in the brain to grow and bloom with new buds, thus enhancing brain function at a fundamental level.
To keep our brains at peak performance, our bodies need to work hard. And where we start doesn’t even matter. Because we can progressively build our way forward. We strengthen the body-mind connection with a unique practice to stay sharp and creative.
3. Beyond Nutrition
Most people consume the same foods they always have, which in today’s Western society is typically unhealthy, processed, and lacking in essential nutrients. To prevent diseases, boost immunity, give us stable energy, and perform physically and mentally we need to eat healthy natural food.
Making healthy choices and respecting your body’s needs can become intuitive. We draw both from scientific evidence and the Mediterranean Diet to apply what’s best for your body and brain to perform well and be well.
4. Mental Energy
Human beings are complex energy systems. The energy that pulses through us is four-dimensional: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. All four are critical and each profoundly influences the others. To perform at our best, we must skillfully manage each of them.
To maintain a powerful pulse in our lives, we must learn how to rhythmically spend and renew energy. If we want to build capacity in our energy bank, we must push beyond our known limits, training in a systematic way like elite athletes do. We grow at all levels by expending energy beyond our ordinary limits and then recovering.
5. Rest & Recovery
Make rest your superpower. You thrive in times of high-quality sleep and recovery when you allow your body & mind to recuperate and regenerate. When you improve the quality of your downtime you secure sustainable success, reduce stress, and enhance your ability to engage fully in all aspects of life.
We leverage various facets of rest beyond resting the body through sleep and relaxation. We give the mind a break and detach from emotional stress to recharge. Solitude can be healing and gives us time to pause for rejuvenating creativity and inspiration.
Optimizing your body’s movement and control will reduce injuries, eliminate and prevent pain, and facilitate lifelong physical activity. Having optimal bodymechanics paves the path for a life free from physical limitations and musculoskeletal restrictions.
We rarely tap into the full potential of our body and use it the way it was built for. With better mobility, better balance, and better movement control we can enjoy a lifetime of unhindered motion and joyful activity. And that’s the hallmark of graceful aging.
Actionable Strategies for Each of the Six Dimensions of Holistic Fitness
1. Overall Health
Make a conscious effort to prioritize sleep and aim for 7-9 hours of good quality sleep each night.
Incorporate daily meditation or mindfulness practices to reduce stress levels and promote mental and emotional well-being.
2. Beyond Movement
Incorporate more movement into your daily routine. Walking 6-10,000 steps during your day is an easy win. Walking is the most underrated practice in this field.
To take it a step further: train your strength with progressive resistance and work on your flexibility, mobility, and balance.
3. Beyond Nutrition
Focus on consuming whole, minimally (ideally non-) processed foods and reducing your intake of added sugars and unhealthy fats. Again, the Mediterranean diet is a great reference.
Experiment with meal prepping to ensure you have healthy, nutritious meals readily available throughout the week.
4. Mental Energy
Work hard—recover harder. Spend time in nature and incorporate practices such as journaling or gratitude exercises to improve your mental clarity and focus.
Set healthy boundaries and practice saying “no” more frequently. Especially to commitments or tasks that drain your energy and leave you feeling overwhelmed.
5. Rest & Recovery
Foam rolling is a type of active rest that involves self-myofascial release. It requires using a foam roller to apply pressure to muscles.
One of our favorites: hiking. Exploring nature allows you to experience the outdoors, get fresh air, and engage in moderate physical activity while feeding your curiosity.
6. Body Mechanics
Take a functional movement class or better coaching to improve your posture and body mechanics.
Focus on targeted strength training and specific exercises to improve your movement patterns and reduce the risk of injury.
First, we covered the 4 dimensions of holistic fitness. We then delved into the equation for sustainable success. We revealed the 6 holistic fitness dimensions that build the Beyond Fitness Framework. After that, we discussed 6 actionable holistic fitness strategies under those dimensions.
And now you’re ready to tackle your holistic fitness heads on.
You still don’t know where to start? Or do you simply want to take direct action without guessing?
Then head over to our FREE “Fit Check”.
Recommended Books on Holistic Fitness
- The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
- Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman
- The Wellness Project: How I Learned to Do Right by My Body, Without Giving Up My Life by Phoebe Lapine
- Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance by Dr. Kelly Starrett
- Movement Matters: Essays on Movement Science, Movement Ecology, and the Nature of Movement by Katy Bowman
- Nourishing Wisdom: A Mind-Body Approach to Nutrition and Well-Being by Marc David
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
- Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
- Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World by Dr. Kelly Starrett
- Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker
- The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson and Miriam Z. Klipper
- The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
- The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People by Dan Buettner
- The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington