In this panel from the Symposium for Metabolic Health in San Diego, California, Mike Giardina, Dr. Meghan Helwig, and Griffen Bradds discuss different strategies for bridging the gap between fitness and healthcare.
The panel starts with a brief discussion on “What is CrossFit?” and CrossFit’s definition of fitness and health. When describing health, Giardina explains how CrossFit affiliates are providing healthcare. CrossFit coaches are improving the lifestyle factors that actually increase health versus treating the symptoms of sickness — which can be considered “sickcare.” It’s not the lack of medication that made you sick; it is the lack of these lifestyle factors, he explains.
The two panelists are either currently working as healthcare professionals or have in the past. While working as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse, Bradds recognized that the patients he was treating had similar risk factors as himself. This prompted him to change his life, finally landing in a CrossFit affiliate five years later. Within the first half of his first class, Bradds understood how CrossFit could prevent people from setting foot in the ICU. After he and his wife got hit by a car last year, Bradds realized how CrossFit training saved his life. This was the impetus to give back, leading him to open CrossFit Rebuild in Encinitas, California.
Dr. Meghan Helwig has a completely different story. She started her career in finance in New York City. After getting injured training for an Ironman triathlon, she decided to change careers and went back to school to become a doctor of physical therapy. The first time she tried CrossFit, she had to modify most of the movements in the class. But the competitive aspect of the class and the functional movements drew her in — touching on both the competitive athlete and the physical therapist in her. CrossFit helps prepare people for everyday life, longevity, and for sport, she explains. Dr. Helwig now runs her practice in a CrossFit gym — CrossFit Counter Culture in Encinitas, California.
Both of these healthcare professionals have taken on completely different roles within the CrossFit community, and both are necessary to bridge the gap between fitness and healthcare. Bradds has taken his experience, both as a nurse and a CrossFit athlete who survived a traumatic event, and is using it to improve the health of those in need. Dr. Helwig is taking her experience as a competitive athlete and as a physical therapist to keep people in affiliates — because that is where health is built.