To reach peak performance, you must learn the Seven Pillars of Peak Performance: mind, body, food, nature, play, people, and rest.
These pillars are Primal Peak’s basic tenets of wellness; each influencing the other and each an integral part of our overall health and happiness.
What does it mean to “reach peak performance”?
It means putting the best version of yourself forward. It means striving towards what you are fully capable of being and doing. Giving attention to each of the seven pillars puts us in a position to perform at our best and fuels our ability to accomplish the untapped.
The seven pillars were born through my own experiences and observations.
As an athlete with an interest in health, determining whether mental training, physical fitness or nutrition played a more important role in success left me running in circles. I realized that each affected the other – there was no clear separation.
As a nutritionist working with people to better understand food and its effect on health, I found that the work had to include a deep dive, not only into the mind and body, but into seven areas for true “well-th” to shine through.
We all have passions and goals in life. How would it feel to achieve them and even enjoy the process along the way? Let’s take a quick look at each of the seven pillars and how they can SUPPORT you in reaching your own possibilities.
Taking care of your mind can be one of the most important things you do. How you see and think of yourself, others, and the world around you can lead you towards the choices and behaviors you make in all areas of life. The mind is arguably the most powerful tool we have, and caring for it can make all the difference.
Many “mind” related terms are thrown around today as our thoughts and brain health gain traction in the mainstream. Let’s breakdown a few of them and how they are related.
Your mindset is made up of your attitudes and your beliefs. How you look at a situation; your level of optimism or pessimism.
Mindfulness is your ability to be in the present moment; the here and now. It’s letting go of judgement or criticism and simply becoming aware of what’s right in front of you.
Meditation & Gratitude
Meditation and gratitude are practices; ways of training the mind to become more mindful, and can help develop a growth mindset.
“Mindfulness is a mindset; meditation is the training to achieve it.” – Gustavo Razzetti, How to Meditate and Turn Your Mind Into an Ally
Your body is designed to move, to change position, and to be challenged! Ancestrally we had to move to survive. Hunting and gathering food, building shelter and warding off predators required running, jumping, climbing, crawling, squatting, lifting, pushing and pulling.
With modern conveniences we have the freedom to be sedentary creatures, but this comes at the cost of our health. Immunity, strength, mobility, balance, coordination, digestion, brain function, circulation, self-esteem, happiness and mental well-being are all gained through movement and lost through inactivity.
“Exercise is optional, movement is ESSENTIAL”
When it comes to taking care of our body, we’ve become focused on exercise, checking the box after spending an hour at the gym, only to return to our chairs when it’s over. We’ve forgotten about the world of movement that is far bigger, and potentially more enjoyable and effective.
Food is your life force. Food is your first medicine. We survive and thrive as a result of the nutrients we give ourselves – and peak performance is all about thriving.
All the reactions that take place in our body to carry out the basic tasks we take for granted require nutrients from the food we eat. We truly are made of what we consume.
It’s hard to argue the importance of nutrition when it comes to reaching peak performance, but it’s also harder than ever to sift through our overly processed food supply to find the nutrients to best support our health. Your body needs real food.
Whether your current drive is to be the best soccer player, the best CEO, or the best mother you can be, nourishing yourself with nutrient rich foods — like those featured in the primal diet — will help you get there.
The sun, the soil, the living matter around you are vital and healing.
Nature nourishes your body, mind and spirit – maybe you’ve felt it. A good hike, a camping trip, or working in the garden can leave your body feeling calm, your mind clear, and your spirit part of something bigger.
Our species came to be as part of nature, but we’ve since separated ourselves and made it possible to move through our days without connecting to the natural world.
Touching the Earth’s skin to our skin may improve immunity, provide energy, and improve overall well-being. Let’s explore simple ways to reconnect.
When is the last time you participated in an activity with no agenda in mind?
Play is often associated with children and sometimes thought of as “childish.” But play is critical regardless of age. It’s usually freely chosen, enjoyable, unstructured and carefree.
Hobbies, games, and any creative act would be considered forms of play.
Here are a few ways to start adding more play into your life today:
- Consider what “fun” means to you and schedule it into your weekly planner.
- Create a “playful” bucket list.
- Incorporate play into your work, your food, and your social gatherings.
According to Melissa W Joyce in the article The Power of Vulnerability and Authentic Connection, “deep and genuine CONNECTION with another human is seemingly what we all are searching for.” We are social beings.
Feeling close to, and accepted by others can improve your overall well-being and possibly longevity. Social connection increases immunity and self-esteem, while decreasing feelings of anxiety and depression.
Many people “feel” more connected than ever these days given our access to social media and technology. But these mediums may be creating a false sense of connection and actually lead to loneliness.
At Primal Peak we are encouraging face-to-face direct physical presence on your path to reaching peak performance, allowing for communication beyond words or text; where body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice also play a part.
Making an effort to come together with your family, friends and community will build the connection pillar necessary to add stability towards health and wellness.
The definition of rest is to “cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.” In fact, rest is when you heal, recover, rebuild and rejuvenate physically, mentally and emotionally.
If rest is so important, why are the majority of us walking around like zombies from sunup to sundown?
Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ll rest when I die”? The stigma around rest is that it is the “lazy” approach to life, but a lack of it is contributing to declining health for those who buy-in.
For many of us, taking time to unwind, get enough zzz’s, or simply say “no”, leaves us feeling guilty, behind or unproductive. The reality is that without rest we are working within a fraction of what we are capable of.
Putting it all together
If the seven pillars are so important, why aren’t they an innate part of our existence today?
In an effort to accomplish more, we are losing our sense of BEING more. Modern advances have made it possible to do great things, but the basic tenets of life are being left behind in the race to “achieve.”
The number one excuse for not giving these elements the attention they deserve: TIME. “I don’t have time.” Have you said it? I certainly have. What I’ve come to realize is that if we don’t have time for what matters most we don’t have time to feel our best, or get the most out of life. It’s not a matter of time, it’s a matter of priorities.
My hope is to remind you of your priorities and help you incorporate the seven pillars back into your life to reap the rewards of health, happiness and reaching peak performance.
Your path to peak performance: take the next step
Once you are familiar with the seven pillars of peak performance we encourage you to start (or revisit) your journey with a deep look at your food. Understanding WHAT real food is, appreciating WHY it leads to a life of wellness, and HOW to transition to this approach will build a strong base.
Primal Peak’s 4 Weeks of Real Food is a program designed to help you with just that! Don’t travel these unchartered waters alone, grab your friends and family and let me help you navigate your way.