1 Crazy Simple Mental Model For High-Performance Health

Recently, I order some lab tests to look at my blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, and insulin levels.

After analyzing and interpreting my genetic report, I happen to be in the highest category for insulin resistance.

My dad, grandfather, grandmother, and numerous aunts and uncles have experienced blood sugar issues, which have led to various illnesses and complications in the past.

Before moving forth, what exactly is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is where the body begins to require increasing amounts of insulin in order to drive blood sugar levels. With increased insulin resistance, besides difficulty losing weight, aging at a much more rapid rate can occur.

As I remind clients who show a high propensity in this category or another area, it’s imperative to keep in mind that its probability and propensity.

As I look at it, I simply have a lower margin for error when it comes to this particular issue. Just as others will have a higher propensity for neurological issues or something else.

Being able to dial into specific areas of health is where the power of precision wellness and bio-individuality truly shines. When you know your unique blueprint, you’re gaining knowledge. But, more importantly, you’re gaining control over your destiny.

Years ago, it wouldn’t have been possible for me to order my own tests. To possess in-depth knowledge of my hormones and which style of eating is ideal for me, and much more.

This leads me to the bigger issue when it comes to managing your health—your decisions.

The best information and health strategies are all for naught if the decision making is sub-par.

A big reason for the decline of health from an overall population point of view comes down to decision making.

Specifically, operating with a tertiary strategic approach instead of a primary strategic approach.

Tertiary thinking vs. Primary thinking

Let’s use an example of lung cancer (harsh, but it’ll make the point crystal clear).

The majority of people wouldn’t propose a campaign to reduce lung cancer that focused only on treatment (i.e. a tertiary strategy) since better treatment wouldn’t reduce lung cancer rates. Helping individuals stop smoking (i.e. a secondary strategy) is good. However, even better, preventing and educating people from the beginning to not smoke (i.e. a primary strategy) is ideal.

In the western model of health, the majority of solutions are tertiary strategies.

Getting care and attention for your well being doesn’t start until you become “sick”.

Striving for optimization and morphing into the most enhanced version of yourself is practically a foreign language within this model.

The emphasis is on illness and disease, not preventative care and optimization.

Stripping this down even further, it’s operating with a reactive mentality instead of a proactive mentality. Waiting for something to happen instead of attempting to stay ahead of the situations.

For my business peeps out there, look no further than Blockbuster. Of the many reasons for their collapse, was not keeping up with trends and looking into the future.

It’s no surprise that the U.S. was ranked 35th out of 169 countries in the 2019 edition of Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index.

mental model for high performance health

Being reactive and operating with tertiary strategies is how the majority of individuals approach their health and energy on a daily basis.

They wait until they feel rundown, are 15lbs overweight, and hit rock bottom in their relationships. Only then, will they search for a solution (i.e. tertiary thinking).

Don't let this be you.

No need to wait until things hit rock bottom. 

Reshape your mental model into one of primary thinking.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait until tomorrow to take action. Or wait until something breaks or aches. I must take full control of my health and life starting right this very moment.

And you must as well.

A mental model for high-performance health entails operating with a sense of urgency.

It’s time to get on the offense and dictate how things will go. Primary thinking starts with this mental model for high-performance health:

Front-load your work

Here is a scenario: Your financial advisor advises you to set aside multiple accounts. There's investments, unforeseen accidents, and dumb mistakes (ok maybe that’s just me).

They're helping you front-load your work. By front-loading your work, you're attempting to predict future events that could prevent you from accomplishing your goals.

This mental model for high-performance health won't predict all future events. However, you'll certainly forecast a couple of the more high-probable scenarios that could derail your health optimization goals.

If healthy eating with your busy schedule is a problem, effectively front-loading your work will be a gamechanger. With awareness, you can meal prep in advance or elect to invest in meal delivery services to stay on track. 

Before setting foot in the gym, purging your fridge, or swearing off any foods—pause, take a step back, and front load your work.

We live in a golden age of information with an excess of resources. But all of this is a moot point without shifting your mental model for high-performance health.

Do you want results?

Living a demanding and unique lifestyle requires a unique approach to having you at your best each and every day.

What I’ve learned is that to achieve this, you need a comprehensive holistic plan that seamlessly connects every single facet of your life perfectly.

This starts with taking a deep dive into what makes you uniquely you by gathering data on your genetics along with a plethora of other precision-based assessments. Then, and only then, can you start to organize the puzzle pieces to fit together.

That’s what I do inside my N of 1 boutique practice. If you’d like my help, you can let me know by emailing the address below where we’ll start with a health optimization call.

Start taking control by emailing julian@theartoffitnessandlife.com

I don't operate in shallow waters. Therefore, expect this to be an impactful session that can range from 45mins to 2 hours.

What The Symphony Orchestra Can Teach You About High Performance and Health Optimization

Recently at the symphony on an artist date, I found myself falling into a trance for two reasons:

  1. There was a beautiful woman sitting diagonally from me with a group of girls (not the ideal opportunity to run some game).
  2. Watching the maestro direct the orchestra and witnessing each member seamlessly play and integrate to form a flawless cohesive performance.

Since there's not much to expand upon concerning reason one, let's further explore reason two.

Experiencing the symphony orchestra comes with strong atmospheric effects along with conjuring up strong emotional responses—both of which inspire lofty thoughts while boosting my mood.

Moving forward, I believe there are life lessons around every corner we look at. In fact, when I wrote my first book ‘Body Architect’, nearly every principle shared in that book came from a life principle I've either lived or observed.

Attending the symphony is littered with lessons. Especially, when it comes to high performance and health optimization.

During my walk back from the performance, I jotted down five high performance and health optimization lessons that you can learn from the symphony orchestra.

1.Pay attention to your grip

One of the first keys to a successful performance lies in the hands of the maestro. Specifically, the manner in which he holds the baton. There’s power, energy, and of course, specific instructions in the baton.

Safe to say, it’s all about the grip.

Something as minor as the conductor gripping the baton too tightly or even too loosely could affect the entire performance.

If he holds it too tightly, there’s a danger that the musical score will become rigid—devoid of energy and any sort of creativity (with boredom soon to follow).

However, hold it freely with no regard and you’ll have a sloppy musical score (with terrible reviews soon to follow).

With all of this said, the key is to find balance. Not too tight, but also, not too loose. Once you strike the perfect accord, the maestro and accompanying musicians are flowing seamlessly; thus leading to a masterful performance.

What does this have to do with high performance and health optimization?

Everything.

In today’s world, it’s easy to fall into an echo chamber and cling to your ideas, methods, philosophies, and become dogmatic in your ways.

Early on in my fitness days, I trained clients one specific way and thought it was best because it had worked for me. All other ideas, methods, and philosophies were wrong because I was clinging onto my baton too tightly,

Social media has keto circles, carnivore circles, vegan circles, Paleo circles, and numerous others.

When it comes to health optimization, each of us is 99.9 percent identical, but that 0.1 percent is huge and is ultimately the deciding factor on what makes us uniquely us.

Just as the maestro has to find the right balance with his baton for that night's performance, you must find the right balance with the 0.1 percent that makes you uniquely you.

The conductor knows the right grip has arrived when there's no friction and cohesion within the team and its sound. You'll know it's the right grip when there's little-to-no friction between your daily health habits and day-to-day life.

As you look to optimize and enhance your health, ask yourself this key question:

  • Where in life am I being too rigid?
  • Also, where in life am I being too sloppy?

2.Everything has a role, responsibility, and purpose to it

There are four main families of instruments: the strings, the woodwinds, the brass, and the percussion. Even the setup of an orchestra has a purpose too it.

Everything matters. You can’t create an unmistakable listening experience if a role isn’t filled or clearly defined. If the flutes were not existing or there wasn’t appropriate time given to the cellos, the performance could be flat.

In the optimal health spectrum, everything has a role, purpose, and responsibility to it. Sleep, nutrition, exercise, breathing, relationships, work, stress mitigation—all have a role.

And within these big categories are further components that can be broken down just as the string family is further broken down into the violin, the viola, the cello, and the double (string) bass.

When all systems are addressed and taken into account, optimal health can flourish. As you look to create a thriving and flourishing human system, ask yourself some key questions:

  • Do you have the right combination of roles, knowledge, skills, ability, and experience around to help you create a thriving human system?
  • Is each component of your human system addressed, playing, and operating to the best of its ability?

3.Precision is a necessity

From the layout of the orchestra to the precise information needed to perform each of their parts, precision is a necessity for a world-class performance.

Each specific instrument and member have its very own unique personal road map to focus on. Besides that, as I've learned, there are specific times as when to play (speak up), to be quiet (listen), to move quickly (allegro) and to slow down (largo).

Optimal health and living a limitless life isn’t something that happens through guesswork or by accident. Intentionality and careful consideration are necessary.

From the way you sleep to the way you speak, train, supplement and eat—precision is needed.

What inputs will you add to your life and body? Before that, what specifically does your body need to perform at its highest level?

Knowing what makes you uniquely you (i.e. your genetic code) is step one of the process.

As you look to bring more precision to your life and health, ask yourself this question:

  • Am I clear and in alignment with my health and life goals (aka am I being congruent on a day-to-day basis with what I say I want long term)?

4.Continuous learning and practicing is a must

Being apart of the orchestra requires sacrifice and commitment.

Weekly rehearsals as a team along with individual rehearsal times are part of the equation. There is no winging it or sight-reading your parts. Or slowing down after a few years of experience.

The best musicians and composers understand that mastery doesn't happen by accident nor has an end game. It’s simply a continuous progression to the next destination.

As I remind clients along our journey of working together, their health is a continuous progression with no endpoint in sight.

There's no “that's it” or “I'll just maintain what I have.” There's only “what's next” and “how good can I get.”

Continuously learning and practicing is a must because you're either moving forward or heading backward.

As you look to adopt this mentality, ask yourself:

  • What can I do to take my health and life to the next level?
  • Alternatively, what can I remove to take my health and life to the next level?
  • What’s working well and what’s not working so well right now?

5.Celebrate and give gratitude

After the last arrangement was completed, the conductor bowed. But not to hog the spotlight, he immediately turned and invited the rest of the orchestra to stand and share the spotlight. The team celebrated their accolades together along with giving thanks to each other.

Celebrating yourself and operating from a state of gratitude is a valuable tool for optimal mental, emotional, and physical health.

Regularly expressing gratitude can change the molecular structure of your brain, keep the gray matter functioning, and make you healthier and happier.

In 2008, published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, scientists began to use fMRI to study gratitude. In the study, researchers measured the brain activity of participants experiencing different emotions. They found that gratitude causes synchronized activation in multiple brain regions along with lighting up parts of the brain’s reward pathways and hypothalamus.

In short, gratitude can boost the valuable neurotransmitter serotonin while activating the brain stem to produce dopamine.

In addition to that, gratitude helps with sleep, longevity, empathy, decision making, and resiliency.

To begin to incorporate this into your life, here are some suggestions:

  • Establish some key milestones and measures of success that you'll celebrate
  • Take some time in the day to identify two to five things good in your life.

A symphony orchestra might look to see if they’re playing in harmony or if they're slightly out of tune? While you most likely aren’t conducting a symphony, your everyday life and body is its own symphony.

Is your human ecosystem playing in harmony or is it slightly out of tune?

If it’s the latter and you’re looking to create a majestic and high performing cascade of music (or at least in this case—optimal health while living the good life)—let's talk.

Send an email to julian@theartoffitnessandlife.com for a free health optimization strategy session. I don't operate in shallow waters. Therefore, expect this to be an impactful session that can range from 45min to 2 hours.

Regardless of if we decide to work together, you'll leave this call with supreme clarity and a plan to becoming superhuman.

The Difference Between the “Energy-Rich” and the “Energy-Poor”

You must determine the price that you will have to pay to achieve success, and then get busy paying that price.

— H.L. Hunt (Texas Oil Tycoon)

Thanos was my favorite character in Avengers Infinity War.

I was pulling for him (don’t “hey me”…he had a purpose and a vision which I can appreciate).

My favorite scene is after Thanos snaps his fingers. He and young Gamora are having a conversation in the realm of the Soul Stone.

Young Gamora: “Did you do it?”

Thanos: “Yes.”

Gamora: “What did it cost you?”

Thanos: “Everything.” (in a solemn state)

This scene, lasting less than a minute was the most realistic thing about the movie.

Why is that?

Because with everything in life, there’s a price to pay for our choices.

In order to collect all 6 Infinity Stones and see his vision carried out, Thanos had to make a plethora of sacrifices.

He had to kill the one he loved, Gamora (signified by the fact he received the Soul Stone for this). He lost his entire team of followers to the Avengers in battle. He received an axe to the chest (Thor should've gone for the head). 

All these sacrifices, of himself and others, is ultimately what was required to complete his mission.

While this was a movie, this concept lines up perfectly to a quote I read in a Dan Lok book a long time ago: “The rich do what is hard; that’s why their life is easy. Poor people do what’s easy; that’s whether life is hard.”

Thanos sacrificed his daughter (i.e. the hard part) for a Soul Stone and to see his utopia play out (i.e. the easy part).

John D. Rockefeller Sr. envisioned himself wealthy and knew he needed to dramatically alter his environment, mindset, and habits. Not only did he track his money meticulously (i.e. the hard part), but as a young boy, he paved the streets dressed up in a nice suit looking for work and dressing the part despite coming from an environment opposite of this (i.e. another hard part). He became America’s first billionaire living in luxury (i.e. the easy part).

Everything comes with a cost. Everything has a sacrificed attached to it, no matter which side of the spectrum you’re viewing from.

If Thanos didn’t make those sacrifices, what he ultimately wanted would’ve become the sacrifice.

How this looks from a health and energy standpoint.

“Those who are rich with energy do what is hard; that’s why their life is easy. Those who are poor with energy do what’s easy; that’s why their life is hard.”

When you plan your meals, say no to temptations, stick to your sleep routine, and exercise even when “you don’t feel like it” (i.e. the hard part), you’re rewarded with aging gracefully, energy-on-demand, and the ability to keep up with your kids among many other things (i.e. the easy part).

When you eat what you feel like eating with no strategy, can’t say no, have no boundaries, let your feelings dictate your actions (i.e. the easy part), you’re rewarded with wrinkles, low levels of energy, poor relationships, stress, and a high likelihood of illnesses (i.e. the hard part).

Everything in your life comes with an opportunity cost. When you elect to do one thing, you automatically choose not to do other things. You have to give up something to get something.

If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.

Optimal health and energy don’t happen by accident. You must be intentional and precise with your daily actions. The default environment isn’t set up for you to win. It’s rigged to keep you average.

You don’t deserve anything “just because.” I don’t deserve anything “just because.”

We all must “earn it.”

When you gladly pay the price that other people are not willing to pay, you’ll be able to live the life that others aren’t capable of.

With that said, what are you going to do today that will move you closer to the most enhanced version of yourself?

Is it letting go of old stories? Is it cutting the cords with deflating relationships? Is it getting support and accountability?

Whatever it is, start doing it now, not tomorrow.

As Apollo Creed told Rocky, “There is no tomorrow.”

Becoming the most enhanced version of yourself and unlocking your human potential will come with sacrifices. Becoming “energy-rich” or staying “energy-poor” both require sacrifices.

Which do you want?…hopefully to be “energy-rich.”

If you don’t sacrifice for your desired levels of energy and health, your energy and health become the sacrifice.

There will be a cost to your end-goal and it’s too much of a burden for many to handle. Some just can’t see the big picture and everything that’s truly at stake—that’s why they will remain poor.

Can you see the big picture? Will you allow yourself to see everything at stake? Can you envision that what you do today, tomorrow, and this week ultimately stacks up to determine next weeks reality and beyond?

Never forget: Those who are rich with energy do what is hard; that’s why their life is easy. Those who are poor with energy do what’s easy; that’s why their life is hard.