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Day 37: How Injury & Disease Really Happen

Hey 40 DF Fam, 

What does injury have to do with disease? I’m not talking about injuring yourself, then infection from injury, then disease from infection. Today we are talking about the similar paths injury and disease take to make themselves known. 

So many times when we get injured, the story goes like this…”I was having a great workout, just absolutely crushing it, then on my last deadlift of the day I must have pulled it sideways and I tweaked something pretty bad.”

You might hear something similar with disease…”Bob was such a healthy guy, worked out every single day of his life, then one day he got cancer and was gone within six months.”

In both cases, it appears the unlucky lottery strikes again. Yet in reality, injury and disease are often created over time. Just as there’s this fallacy that successful people got there overnight and it didn’t take years of hard work behind the scenes. There’s this same fallacy with negative things like injury and disease. What looks like an overnight turn of bad luck could have been days, months, or years in the making. 

When clients go through our 40 Days to Fit on-ramp program at FitTown Jupiter, they receive this welcome booklet. Within this booklet is a whole page dedicated to “How Injury Happens.” Here is that chart. 

injury happen chart

You’ll see from the chart that the last sloppy deadlift only plays a small role in your injury.  What you ate and drank, how you slept, how you sat, what preexisting mobility or flexibility limitations you already have all play a role. The volume of reps in the workout matters, the combination of movements matters, and it’s why we give so much intention behind our programming each week. 

You’ll also notice that there are three different columns to represent your growth as an athlete. When you’re a beginner, injury comes a little easier. All your “boxes” are bigger because you haven’t worked on them. You haven’t cleaned up your diet as much as you will. You haven’t learned the proper movement from your coaches. 

Over time you shrink your boxes. You start to address your mobility limitations by coming in 10 minutes before class to do crossover symmetry bands, you eat a lot cleaner than you used to, you go for a short walk every hour during work instead of sitting for hours straight, you make corrections to technique from good coaching, and you’re smarter in your workouts as you prioritize staying injury-free over numbers on a scoreboard. 

All these things ADD UP.  They can either ADD UP to injury, or add up to what most will perceive as an overnight success. You can’t control what people perceive, but you can control the work you put in to help avoid injury, and disease. 

Disease works in a similar way. 

When we look through the lens of this chart, we can no longer blame “bad genetics” because it’s only one small box. There’s another important box called “epigenetics”. If genetics are the DNA sequence you’ve been given, epigenetics are how your body reads and interprets that information. Epigenetics is your lifestyle and environment box. Everything you’ve been exposed to like poisons, toxic chemicals and metals play a huge part here. Your workplace, homelife and daily stress play a huge part here.

There’s another box related to genetics and that’s nutrigenomics. This is your diet to disease relationship box. Nutrigenomics is the study of how food affects a person’s genes and how a person’s genes affect the way the body responds to food. 

Diet and genetics is a two-way street. Your genetics don’t just tell your body what to do with food, but your food tells your body what genes and cells to upregulate or downregulate. There are genes that are predisposed to heal and others that will further inflammation and disease when they are turned on. 

If we want to reduce our risk of injury and also our risk of disease, we have to stop playing the lottery when it comes to our health. 

Chronic disease, a disease that is primarily preventable through changes in lifestyle, has been the REAL pandemic in our country. It’s estimated that chronic disease costs the United States $3.7 trillion a year and has no signs of stopping. This is not just an older generation problem either. More kids today have chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes than ever in human history. When your grandparents were kids it was unheard of for kids to have type 2 diabetes. Ruminate on that thought for a moment. 

It’s estimated that 84% of healthcare costs are attributed to the treatment of chronic disease. The rates are even higher for beneficiaries in public health insurance programs: 99% of Medicare and 80% of Medicaid spending went toward the treatment of chronic diseases, as of 2010. This is a huge burden on the taxpayer and future taxpayer, that is preventable. 

Forget for a sec what chronic disease costs our country, and ask, what is chronic disease costing you? What is it costing your family? What has it cost your family? 

We can’t pay this cost with a winning lottery ticket. We have to do it each day with our actions and education. Let’s stop paying the price for the things that are preventable. 

Now that you’ve educated yourself today, pass this email onto one other person you care about.  See how you can help them prevent the possibility of disease in their life. 
1% Fitter Today and Every Day, 
-Coach Tony