The 5 Pillars of Wellness

At CrossFit Proficient, we know that fitness is only one piece of the puzzle. To be truly healthy, there are many factors to consider. Here, we discuss the 5 pillars of true wellness.

The Sickness-Wellness-Fitness Continuum

The Sickness-Wellness-Fitness Continuum

Have you ever had a nagging physical ailment that kept you from doing something that you love? Something that kept you from moving in a certain direction or pattern without pain?

It might be something as simple as walking downstairs, squatting to sit in a chair, or lifting an object overhead. You tell yourself, “I’m way too young to feel like this!”

There are several factors that influence your quality of life in this realm, and in my years of experience as a fitness coach, you need to have all five of them dialed in to live an optimal life.

Life will throw all sorts of tough situations at us that wear us down physically, bit by bit, and we need to deal with the effects of them in order to maintain our health.

A lack of ability in movement will introduce unnecessary stress and frustration and limit you from doing certain activities. It’s possible you may have been living this way for so long, slowly diminishing, that you now simply have the mindset that it’s not something you can change.

That’s where you’re wrong. Let’s look at these five areas and how you can work to improve them.

What are the “Big 5?”

The five factors that are essential to your health and wellness are mindset, sleep/recovery, nutrition, fitness, and relationships.


Mindset is your established way of thinking. Have you ever heard the phrase, “change your mind, change your life?”  Changing your mindset can make dramatic differences in your day to day.

We all have ways of thinking that we are ‘stuck’ in. Patterns that our brains fall into, habits that we default to in certain situations.

There’s a lot of things outside of our control in our lives. But the one thing you can control is your mindset.

Work towards a mindset shift. How can you improve your outlook?

Maybe there’s something you want to achieve, but didn’t know how to reach that goal, or didn’t see a clear path to get there.

Mindset shifts aren’t easy, and they take practice. But they’re worth it.


Sleep is the second pillar because it is essential to your health and well being. Your body needs down time and recovery time. The average adult should get between 7.5-9 hours of sleep per night.

Did you know that when you exercise, you’re not actually building muscle? You’re tearing it down. Literally. You’re tearing apart the tiny muscle fibres when you work out.

When you sleep, your body repairs itself. It repairs those tiny tears and makes the muscles stronger than before, which is how we actually gain strength.

Not to mention sleep also reduces stress and can aid in weight loss. Yeah, you read that right. Not getting enough sleep can make your body hold on to unwanted fat.

The lack of sleep messes with your insulin response. When your body can’t process the insulin, it ends up storing it as fat.

The thing I hear most often from people is they just don’t realise how late it is. They start taking care of things before bed, or watching a show, and before they know it they should have been in bed an hour ago.


Movement is medicine.

Exercise can help reduce stress, and it burns off pent up energy for kids and adults alike.

Find a way to MOVE. It doesn’t so much matter what you’re doing. Go for a walk, go for a bike ride, go for a jog.

If you exercise, you’ll sleep better, you’ll be in a better mental place, and you’ll be kinder to those around you.

See how it all ties together?


Oh, food. How we love you.

Listen: food is comfort, and a coping mechanism, and anyone that tells you otherwise is full of it.

But it is also fuel. It is also what builds your immunity, gives you energy to make it through your day, and powers you through exercise.

Just like with everything in life, you have to find a balance. You’re not required to resign yourself to eating plain baked chicken breasts and steamed broccoli for the rest of your life.

I believe you should enjoy the food you eat. You can enjoy it and it still be good for you at the same time. Oh, and another thing? It doesn’t have to mean hours and hours in the kitchen.

Meals can be flavourful and simple at the same time. Things like Sheet Pan Fajitas take just a few ingredients, 30 minutes, and one pan. Serve them over some cauliflower rice and top with sliced avocado for an incredibly flavourful meal that won’t leave you feeling sluggish afterwards.

It’s easy when you’re feeling down to fall to comfort food. Breads, pastas, baked goods. But these things are not helping your immune system. They’re highly processed, and they’re doing more harm than good.

Fresh vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats are the best thing you can give your body to help build a strong immune system.


Who’s in your corner?

Hopefully the people you surround yourself with are the ones that know you the best. Hopefully they know you inside and out, and love you through and through.

In our relationships with others, we need patience. We need love. And we need understanding.

Most of all, we need kindness. When you find yourself feeling frustrated, or overwhelmed, or angry over small things that would otherwise be non-issues: pause for a second.

Pause. Take a deep breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Then, with whatever you are about to do or say, just add a bit of kindness.

At the end of the day, our relationships are at the crux of our lives. Relationships with each other, our families, our communities, our cities, our towns, our states, our countries.

Cherish them. Act with kindness.

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