The 5 Principles of Health


In this post you will discover what we believe to be the 5 principles of health, however before we reveal them, we need to define the term health.

There are many definitions out there, but we believe CrossFit defines it best, “Increased work capacity, across broad time, modal and age domains.”

What is work capacity? “Work capacity is the ability to perform real physical work as measured by force x distance / time (which is average power). Fitness is this ability in as many domains as possible.” (Glassman, 2009)

Work capacity across broad time domains refers to our work capacity over varying durations. This can range from very short time periods, such as a 1-rep max attempt, which will only last a few seconds, all the way through to endurance time periods, such as playing a round of golf or running a marathon, which could last for several hours.

Work capacity across broad modal domains. In the gym it could be exercises such as squats, thrusters and muscle-ups. Outside of the gym it could be walking the dog, carrying the groceries, or playing a round of golf.

Work capacity across broad age domains refers to sustained fitness. “Fitness can be graphed in two-dimensions with duration of effort on the x-axis and power on the y-axis. At each duration, we average your power capacity across a variety of modal domains (skills and drills). This creates a power curve, the area under which is your work capacity across broad time and modal domains (aka fitness) … We can now add a third dimension to this graph, the z-axis, which is age. By reassessing your two-dimensional fitness at various times throughout your life, we graph the form of a solid. The power curve takes on the shape of a plateau or blanket. This three-dimensional graph is a defining measure of health …” (Glassman, 2009)

Now that we have defined the term health, we can move onto the 5 principles that we believe will help us achieve and maintain our health.

The 5 principles of health were first heard in a YouTube video, “Breaking Down the Five Factors of Health” by Ben Bergeron. All 5 principles are all interconnected, and they’re relevant because they’re all within our control, and we can do something today to influence each factor:

1. Nutrition – this is key because it affects everything from our hormones and brain function, to disease, bodily functions, and gut health. The popular phrase, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet” comes to mind

2. Sleep – deprive yourself of sleep for 7 consecutive days, and you will personally experience the consequences of sleep deprivation. Risk factors for several metabolic diseases may dramatically increase when we are deprived of sleep

3. Exercise – there are numerous benefits to exercising: increase aerobic capacity, increase bone density, increase strength, promote functionality and improve neuromuscular function to mention a few

4. Mindset – ask yourself, “Do I live in a friendly or hostile world?” Your answer will determine whether you’re in a positive or negative mindset. Having a positive mindset will be essential if we want to be healthy. If we are in a negative mindset, we may be defensive and pessimistic, which may severely detract from our health goals

5. Relationships – how deep & meaningful are they? These are the people we feel that we can share our dreams and fears with, the people who we can be completely vulnerable and honest with

We want to see people thrive in all areas of life, and as fitness professionals, we help clients move the needle on their health by addressing the 5 principles mentioned above. The journey of health takes teamwork, from the coach, to the client, to the client’s family and friends, it’s a collective effort.

If you’re looking for a professional coach to help you on your health & fitness journey, please do contact us


Glassman, G. (2009) ‘CrossFit’s New Three-Dimensional Definition of Fitness and Health – 2‘, CrossFit Journal, 21 February. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2019).

Breaking Down the Five Factors of Health (2018) YouTube Video, added by Ben Bergeron [Online]. Available at [Accessed: 19 November 2019].

One response to “The 5 Principles of Health”

  1. […] or confused about, because it’s the one that is least spoken about. In our original post about The 5 Principles of Health, we said that all 5 principles are interconnected. Just because relationships is spoken about the […]

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