“We’ve always been interested in two major things: how to make people’s lives easier and better, and how to positively impact the largest amount of people.”
The “we” refers to Mike Ritter and Michelle Richards, the dynamic duo behind The Result Cult. The Result Cult seeks holistic health through a “qualitative diet” and practicing “qualitative movement,” both phrases that refer to a focus on quality over quantity. A shorter workout performed at a higher intensity or with a greater load is more desirable than long, slogging sessions in the gym, for example, and a nutrient-dense meal packed with grass-fed beef and organic veggies is worthy of praise because of its high-quality nutrition, not because of the number of calories it contains (or its lack thereof). The Result Cult wants to take the scrutiny off of the data—miles logged, hours spent, calories consumed—and reconnect humans with the sensation of their natural bodies in a state of health.
The Result Cult released their first long-form e-book, The Fitness Revival, on August 9.
“After a few years of coaching, we realized that many common health issues that many people have are related to chronic stress,” Ritter says. “The stress they were experiencing seemed to be a vicious cycle of emotional and lifestyle factors that we deduced down to three major categories: dietary, movement and emotional stressors.
“As trainers, we felt we had a platform to talk about the movement side of things often enough, so the first real step we took as a team was cultivating a group of people that were interested in a natural diet. Every other month, that group got together for a meal and shared our experiences/hardships with our newfound Paleo diet. We shared books and recipes, and talked about how we could spread change throughout the community on a bigger scale. Eventually, this led to the making of our book.”
The Fitness Revival is a comprehensive e-book that covers the three important topics identified by The Result Cult. In it, Ritter and Richards explain the nuances of stress, the importance of movement, and the concepts of a qualitative diet, all the while providing practical steps to apply the program to a normal life. While it may sound like the contents of every other health and wellness book on the market, this isn’t the case.
“The goal of this book is to share what we see work every day but on a larger scale,” Ritter says. “We want people to see the direct correlation between movement, diet and emotional stress and understand that one is not more important than the other.”
The Fitness Revival opens with what may be the biggest problem in modern society: stress. The chapter begins by explaining the difference between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and their role in the body’s response to stress. These divisions of the nervous system can be generally defined by their stimulatory and inhibitory effects in the body. When stressed or under pressure, the sympathetic division stimulates smooth-muscle contraction in the blood vessel walls, causing vasoconstriction, and it inhibits muscle contractions in the lungs to dilate the air passageways. The parasympathetic division inhibits the heart, thereby slowing the heart rate, while also stimulating contraction of the urinary bladder. A fluid balance between the two challenges comfort zones without crossing over into damage and disease, and creates a well-rounded individual:
“By deliberately practicing sympathetic and parasympathetic training into your lifestyle, you are giving yourself control of your longevity. The more well known benefits of sympathetic training (high intensity) include: self-defense, injury prevention, strength performance, heightened metabolism, and endorphin and dopamine performance. Purposeful parasympathetic training promotes hormone regulation, mental clarity, increased libido, creativity, sense of purpose, sense of connectedness, and more healing of the sympathetic nervous system to run at an optimum level.”
The book debunks the myth that all stress is bad, and instead paints the picture of stressors as a spectrum, whereby a balanced manipulation of the right levels of stress can promote desired change and growth. Change plays a key role in this.
“Humans crave familiarity, but we grow most when our comfort is challenged. If you notice, most health problems are associated with the word chronic. In other words, we need diversity in order to grow. Those who seek challenge grow and consequently thrive the most… This isn’t just a philosophical truth, but it’s wired in your DNA.”
This chapter on stress balance and management is the first and most densely packed of the three sections in The Fitness Revival, highlighting the importance of a healthy nervous system as a foundation for holistic health. Striving for “balance within” before making other, more physical changes is key—if we can’t control our stressors, or at the very least our reactions to our stressors, our nervous system will always be in a state of frazzled flux, and thus our minds and bodies will suffer. This advice applies to everyone, from the health novice to the seasoned wellness warrior, and has the power to make a huge difference in well-being.
Part of the power of The Fitness Revival is its profound simplicity. A list of “five ways to stay in contact with your human side” includes details that speak to the basics of life, but that have mostly been drowned out by the hundreds of hyper-technological life-hacking tips that grab headlines. The Fitness Revival recommends paying attention to sensory stimulation like new smells and tastes, playing and walking frequently, reducing the noise of the crowd (whether in person or digitally), increasing sun exposure and avoiding the temptation to over-sanitize our home and body surfaces.
The nutrition chapter of The Fitness Revival is based on a Paleo diet template, one that emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, responsibly sourced meat, eggs and seafood, and healthy oils, fats, nuts and seeds. Here, the term “qualitative diet” describes an approach that is simple and focused on nutrient density, rather than an obsessive fixation on totals, statistics, calories and weight.
The theme of the movement chapter is that moving well should be the priority over moving often; in fact, one of the main tenets of the Result Cult is that “people should move WELL before they move OFTEN.” This is another aspect of the qualitative-versus-quantitative theme of The Fitness Revival—yes, everyone should strive for frequent movement in their lives, but frequent movement with subpar form or inattention to physiology ultimately will do more harm than good.
Movement principles championed in The Fitness Revival include, first and foremost, moving well, followed by the application of qualitative movement and the introduction of play. These principles are in place to keep bodies safe and healthy while removing the aspect of punishment from exercise. The Fitness Revival emphasizes that movement should be sustainable, and one way to make that possible is by injecting an element of fun. Play is the natural progression.
“Movement has been the human language since the dawn of time—it is truly a form of self-expression, and the rules will never change.”
Each chapter of The Fitness Revival ends with a 60 Day Challenge focused on goal-setting, nutritious eating, stress reduction or movement consistency, modeled as a means to reinforce healthy habits without negative psychology. Several bonus tools at the end of the e-book include a guide to understanding blood work, resources for further reading and education, and a list of products recommended by Ritter and Richards. A chapter filled with testimonials exhibits how individuals have tailored the lessons in The Fitness Revival to fit their lives, and with extraordinary results.
The Fitness Revival ends with a checklist of daily habits for holistic health, including the addition of mobility work, barefoot walking, trying new foods, meditation, seven to nine hours of sleep and personal goal setting. It’s an encouraging way to end The Fitness Revival—with a hopeful perspective focused on positive, incremental change.