“Humans are humans. We are ever evolving creatures who change based on our unique environments.” - Michael Bann
Michael first helped me to see his definition of resiliency because so many people have such abstract views on what it means in the first place.
Resiliency is the ability to do what you want to do while minimizing adverse consequences.
Whatever you intend to do, you want to recognize and improve your ability to go “win” in the your field of battle, be it selection into the Special Forces or winning at the CrossFit Games while minimizing the risk - in probability terms - of either getting hurt or burning out. Particularly with aggressive endeavours such as CrossFit or the military, you must recognize that you are putting yourself at a higher risk, so you want to take the proper steps to ensure as much safety as you can - which is never 100% unfortunately.
Michael went on to make a very interesting comment surrounding the difference between resiliency in higher level performers vs more of everyday competitors:
The more intense your endeavours, the bigger your resiliency gaps are
If you do not compete intensely, perhaps you are a couch potato, if you are less resilient you may not even realize it, per say. However, if you are trying to survive SFAS Training and you are less resilient than others, you will see and feel it very quickly...your gaps will be magnified because of the intensity of the endeavour.
The key that Michael wants to insure with all of his clients is that he helps them build the proper resiliency levels in order to live the lives they want to lead and live them to their own definition of the fullest.
How Does Michael Look At People’s Resiliency?
Michael looks at resilience as 3 primary things + 1 secondary thing + 1 tertiary thing:
- Insulin sensitivity - aka glucose tolerance - the ability to push fuel into the cell
- Ability to deliver oxygen to the muscles
- Gut health - any types of parasites etc
- Circadian rhythm - are you going to bed on time, do you have good lifestyle practices day by day, etc…
- For ex, if you’re making great choices but you still can’t sleep, why?
- Hormones - however, often times a lot of the fixes above will help to rectify the hormones
Some of the big pieces above that Michael will look at in terms of outcomes as he helps his clients fix the primary, secondary, and tertiary factors are lowering of bad inflammation and increasing sleep. As those get under control, performance often rises.
Michael does actually look to “fix” people’s resiliency. He’s not just observing it, he wants it better now and into the future.
Once Michael has somebody’s resiliency improving or fixed, it’s then that he knows he can really optimize the fitness program design. If their resiliency is poor, too much work in the gym often pulls away from their improvement in resiliency which costs performance progress.
Think about it from this standpoint, if you sleep 2 hours per night, you shouldn’t train hard twice a day. How about 3 hours? How about 5. See where this thing goes….
There are outliers of people who just happen to have resilience no matter how hard they burn the candle (or cigarettes), but you can’t look at them to say if a program is good or not.
As a coach, Michael is always careful with how much information he gives to a client at one time because if he unloads too many challenging data points onto somebody, they may actually get less resilient because they feel badly about themselves emotionally. That impact of stress drops resilience. This is one of the reasons why the human body is so interesting; while resiliency is in a large way associated to somebody’s physiology, but you must take care of their mind as well. Michael mentioned that some of his most “resilient” clients are lower perception (unaware, not unintelligent) of their resilience and feeling around performance.
What happens after you fix somebody’s resilience?
Michael always thinks about somebody’s resilience because nothing is infinite. As he gives training, and as his clients experience life and all of the ups and downs within it, their resilience will ebb and flow. As somebody experiences sickness, for ex, Michael may pull back training, may have them do a gut protocol, etc. Within that, the first thing that Michael always thinks about is somebody’s aerobic base. If you can’t get oxygen to be used as a fuel source effectively, you will always experience more challenges in your performance endeavours barring a 1 rep max haha)
The aerobic base is made up of:
- The cardio-pulminary system - the heart and lungs
- Muscle fiber type - fast, slow, intermediate
- Efficiency of the mitochondria
If you’re inefficient at oxygen use, you will present as dampened in your aerobic system. If you can’t delivery oxygen, say if you’re anemic, you will never be very aerobic. While Michael is designing somebody’s aerobic program, Michael looks closely at if somebody is effectively delivering oxygen because if they are not, he needs to amend their program so that they don’t do training in an anaerobic setting (without oxygen).
What do you see in a new client that makes you think “we really need to prioritize resiliency over training?”
Michael bluntly mentioned that he always uses fitness as the arrow from his health and fitness quiver, Michael always wants to understand his client’s blood chemistry as well as their physical assessment in order to understand how effectively they are/are not delivering oxygen to their muscles. If the client has “poor” looking blood work and their assessments indicate that they lack a strong aerobic system, Michael knows that he needs to begin in those areas, and he will work hard to progress that client - via fitness - to improve all of those markers for their next assessment.
Many CrossFitters - 8 out of 10 - present initially with a B12 and folate deficiency. While Michael doesn’t have evidence on this, he believes there may be a genetic predisposition of people who end up loving CrossFit vs something like yoga. Let that sink in hahaha…
Thanks for reading! See you next time