The Health Metric

How do you know you’re “healthy” and what does that even mean?

A quick google definition search gives you – “in good health” or “not diseased’.

That’s a pretty low barrier to being healthy in my opinion…

While there are many different ways to track and measure signs of health, I like to focus on three – this is assuming there are no serious illnesses or medical problems:

Blood Work

It’s a good idea to get your bloods tested every 6-12months to establish your baseline. Having a baseline allows you to see if your health & fitness regime is having any positive effects on these markers. There are many different tests you can do to find a whole range of data points. This is something you would want to discuss with your doctor to make sure you have the necessary points tested.

Body Composition

What are you actually made up of? We have an InBody 270 machine at the gym that allows us to see exactly how much body fat you have and how much muscle you carry. It is considered “healthy” for males to be under 25% and females to be under 30%. 

There’s no doubt that decreasing your body fat and increasing your muscle mass will make you much healthier. Don’t just think about visible body fat and muscle. Visceral fat is more likely to raise your risk for serious medical issues. This is the fat around your organs that can inflame tissues and narrow blood vessels. 


This is what I want to refer to as The Health Metric. 

Tracking your blood markers and testing your body composition are great tools. They give you lot’s of good info. However, it’s much easier to track your performance in the gym. Small improvements over time, in ALL areas of fitness, are a sure sign you’re getting healthier. It is really difficult to add more weight to your squat, improve your mile run time, increase the number of strict pull ups you can do AND gain body fat/lose muscle. Those just don’t go hand in hand.

The three performance markers above are quite varied; squat (weighted exercise), run (conditioning) and pull up (bodyweight), therefore it would be really difficult to not see improvements in our body composition if these performance markers were getting better.

The squat needs more muscle to lift heavier, the run and pull up could benefit from less body fat and/or more muscle to increase the output.

I would also bet that if that person who had these improvements went back and tested their blood markers, they would see an improvement here too.

It’s important to not confuse elite performance with what I’m saying above. Elite performance often goes beyond health. These athletes sacrifice their health to achieve the highest levels in thier sport. However, for everyday people, focusing on improving your performance in the gym across many forms; strength, mobility, endurance, speed etc. will certainly have a positive effect on your health.

Final Thoughts

If you only have access to one of the three metrics (blood, body composition or performance), then performance would be a great metric to track. As long as all areas of fitness are worked on (we call this functional fitness) you will have a pretty good idea that you are improving your health. 

*to a certain point. As with everything, if we take this to the extreme then that could be considered unhealthy.

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