In October of 2002 Greg Glassman wrote the seminal article on What is Fitness.
The 4th fitness standard of that article — “Sickness - Wellness - Fitness” — asserts that “every measurable value of health can be placed on a continuum that ranges from sickness to wellness to fitness.”
We agree, and believe that by improving your fitness, you increase your chances to move from sickness to wellness in a sustainable way.
This means improvements in health biomarkers, immune system support, mental health, the way you look and feel, and more.
But the question becomes: how do you quantify fitness so it's more prescriptive and actionable?
The first requirement is a system to “quantify fitness.” That’s exactly what Level Method has done, making the process clearer, and thereby more valuable for the everyday user.
We use a martial arts-based color-code, from WHITE to RED, and since 2016 we have been collecting data on regular gym members around the world.
We have over 1,200,000 data points, and this gives us authority to establish true fitness quantification parameters, and identify where the ‘average person’ is in terms of fitness.
We have discovered that more than 70% of members are ORANGE III and below, while 1.3% rank BLACK or above (13 in 1000). RED level is considered “elite”, with only 0.1% of gym members reaching this level (1 in 1000).
For perspective, Overall ORANGE Males or Females can accomplish an unbroken set of full-range pushups at 10 reps or 1 rep, a 400m run in <2:20 or <2:40, a Deadlift of 185 for 5 reps or 130 for 5 reps, and a 15 sec or 5 sec chin-over-bar hold. There are 11 other categories that we assess, but this is a quick snapshot.
This system gives context to what exactly is meant by “fitness.”
For us, the big goal is to move regular folks into a targeted “wellness range” between about ORANGE III and BROWN I, because this offers the biggest bang for your buck.
Obviously nutrition and lifestyle also play a big role in fitness. And just as it is possible to be healthy and not very fit, it’s also possible to be fit and not very healthy.
We've developed our own Spectrum of Health, which looks like this:
It is based on the same principles as Glassman's model.
But our goals are to promote Wellness for the average person, and to help ‘regular folks’ map their way to fitness over time -- appropriately and safely. The path is color coded, with a global approach to fitness -- mind and body, nutrition and recovery, and so on.
Level Method is designed to help gyms and coaches move members in that direction, so they improve in fitness AND health.
When we approach truly elite levels of performance, short-term & long-term health can be negatively affected. There is a difference between being Fit and being a Performance Athlete. It is a mistake to assume that there is no drop off -- that a higher level of fitness equates to a higher level of health.
This is not true.
Our Spectrum of Health shows the path and communicates the real-world goals. Regular people coming into gyms everywhere can finally stop being lost. Successful goals require plans, that are based on accurate data.
If you're interested in implementing our system, learn more here.
If you'd like to learn more about our levels-based programming go here.