CrossFit Eudokia, the biophilic box

Meyken Houppermans, PhD. CrossFit Level 3 Trainer.
Founder and Head Coach
CrossFit Eudokia brought nature inside the box to create the perfect conditions to optimize health and performance. What is a Biophilic design, and what are the benefits for health and performance?

What is biophilic?

Biophilic refers to the concept whereby the building environment we live in, is connected to the natural environment through the use of direct and indirect nature and space and place. It is more than just putting a  plant on the counter. A biophilic environment is a well thought-out concept with significant benefits for your physical and mental health and performance. Before we dive deeper into why and how CrossFit Eudokia has implemented this biophilic concept into the box and what the benefits are for health and performance, we need to take a little sidestep to explain how our eevironment affects health in general.

How does our environment effect our health?

CrossFit Eudokia is an Academy. We focus on working hard, and learning with and from each other to become the healthiest, fittest and strongest version of ourselves. Some aspects that influence our health are fully within our control, such as what we eat and how much we exercise. But some aspects are only partially within our control, and some not at all. Such as the influence of the environment we live in. The influence of environmental aspects takes place at different levels, or better said, we can distinguish different levels of environments that affect our health, directly and  indirectly. How does that work?

First level: our individual mini- environment

You could consider yourself an individual mini- environment. Some aspects of your individual mini- environment that effect your health are within your control, such as what you eat and if you do CrossFit regularly. Yet, some aspects are not within your control, such as your genetic predisposition. Being born with a genetic medical condition influences your health. Or having a genetic higher susceptibility to become overweight under certain circumstances, such as living in an unhealthy neighborhood. (Healthy Ageing starts before birth)

Another interesting example is your personality, which is hardly changeable or within your control. Some personality types are more susceptible to stress related health issues if they live in a stressful environment. As you see, you do not control all aspects of your individual mini- environment that effect your  health. And some of these aspects only efect your health if they are  triggered by a certain type of external environment.

Second level: our social environment

The second level that influences your health is your social environment: your network. Also, not something fully within your control. For example, the degree to which your friends and family support your weight loss  journey will effect your discipline and motivation to stick to your diet. (Motivation is an unreliable friend)

The influence of your social environment on your health can be indirect (having supportive friends helps us to stick to our healthy eating regime, which helps to become healthier) but also direct: Having supportive friends and a dog, lowers our blood pressure, which is a marker of good health.

Our social environment also refers to the socio- economic status of our neighborhood. This also influences your health. A good example is the associated relation between your body weight and the backlog of your  neighborhood. The poorer the neighborhood, the higher the likelihood of being  overweight. As you see, most aspects of your social environment are not fully within your control but they do influence your health.

Third level: our economic, political and  physical environment

The economic environment refers to the availability and affordability of healthy choices. Such as if there is a CrossFit box in the neighborhood to go to; if the kids get a healthy lunch at school; or if vegetables and fruit are affordable at the local supermarket.(The influence of supermarkets) The political environment refers to safety and legislation, such as a sugar tax or a ban on smoking.

The physical environment refers to the built environment (made by man) and to the natural environment (nature). The design of your physical environment can influence your health in numerous ways. For example, if there are no parks or other green recreational areas in the neighborhood, there is less opportunity to go outside for fresh air and exercise. And if there are no safe sidewalks, you will probably take your car more often than go for a  alk. The influence of the physical environment on your health also refers to air and noise pollution that effects your physical and mental health. (Vitamin G for health).

Our environment can have a huge impact on our health, directly and  indirectly and at different levels, and it is only partially or not at all  within your control.

Maximize your chances by creating optimal conditions

Now that we know that our health is under the influence of a broad variety of aspects of which only a small number is within our control, wouldn’t it be smart to optimize those aspects that are within our control and thereby optimize our chances to become the healthiest, fittest and strongest version of ourselves?

Why waist energy on things we cannot control?  Exactly that is why at Crossfit Eudokia, we have created the optimal environmental conditions for you to reach your potential in health and fitness, by implementing a biophilic design.

Why has CrossFit Eudokia implemented a biophilic design?

We spend more than 85% of our time inside and in 2050 more then half of the world is expected to be urbanized. We spend less time in nature and there is less nature. Spending less time in nature is associated with exercising less. And exercising less is associated with a sedentary unhealthy lifestyle and higher risk for chronic diseases. Not to mention the effects of living in an urbanized environment for our health, as briefly discussed above.

Spending time in nature can have great health benefits. Medical symptoms related to stress and mental health issues can be treated by spending more time in nature. Research demonstrates that spending time in a forest has benefits for our cognitive functioning, immune system, blood glucose levels in diabetic patients, blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, pain treatment and recovery after a medical procedure. (Forest bathing for better performance)

Unfortunately it is not always possible to spend time in a forest and benefit from nature. Simply because we don’t have that time or there is no forest nearby. The biophilic concept is the perfect solution. By connecting nature to our interior, we can get similar health benefits! Such as lower levels of physiological stress, better brain functioning, higher productivity and performance and enhanced well-being.

Why did CrossFit Eudokia choose biophilic?

1. To enhance well being

First, a biophilic design enhances well-being, health and performance and that is exactly what we aim for at CrossFit Eudokia. We focus on coaching you to become the healthiest, fitters and strongest version of yourself. With a biophilic design we have created the perfect conditions for you to unleashing your potential.

2. To create a learning environment

Second, we are an Academy. We focus on personal growth and learning with and from each other. In order to grow, we must be brave enough to be vulnerable. Learning means trying, failing, practicing, trying again and eventually succeeding and celebrating. In order to feel free enough to do that, to just be yourself and go flat on our face, stand up and try again, we  must feel safe and supported. Being part of the great CrossFit Eudokia community makes us feel supported and it is known that a biophilic design has a strengthening effect on social bonds. Feeling safe means being in an environment that eases our mind, that makes us feel in balance and that feels  ‘natural, logic and sound’. (same as the functional movement in CrossFit!: they feel natural, logic, sound). That is CrossFit Eudokia’s biophilic designed box.

3. Because we are Eudokians

Third, is the fun historic detail. We are CrossFit Eudokia, which is ancient Greek for what is good or beneficial to someone and is highly regarded. Eudokia lived around the same time in history as the  ythical Hanging Gardens, of which descriptions were found in ancient Greek. The concept of biophilic goes back to these Hanging Gardens, which is one of the seven world wonders.

How has CrossFit Eudokia implemented biophilic, and what are benefits?

Biophilic refers to the use of direct and indirect nature and space and place for benefits in physical and mental  health and performance.

1. Natural landscape and fresh air for performance and health

The direct experience of nature means that when you are at CrossFit Eudokia you are able to breathe in fresh air from outside and feel the natural ventilation and temperature. This experience promotes comfort and productivity. You can also see and hear the weather outside and that promotes mental stimulation. The natural landscape in our design, with plants, animals and natural light increase our feelings of satisfaction, increases our physical and mental health and wellbeing, it increases our performance and it lowers stress. 

2. Fresh air, daylight, and natural materials for mental focus and energy

The indirect experience of nature means that CrossFit Eudokia uses natural materials and fabrics such as high quality sustainable wood, rubber, leather, stone, cork and bamboo as much as possible. Natural materials are mentally stimulating because they change over time, as do we! We have special daylight lightening that has the same health benefits as natural daylight. We also limit the volume of music during the workouts. This interor stimulates a mental state of energy, balance and focus. 

3. Welcome and challenging to enhance wellbeing

Experiences of space and place refer to on the one hand the welcome environment of CrossFit Eudokia. On the other hand the experiences of space and place refer to movements, challenges and stimuli incorporated in CrossFit Eudokia’s workouts. Experiences of space and place enhance our wellbeing. 

Experience it yourself!

CrossFit Eudokia Life Science & Healthy Ageing Academy in Rotterdam is all  about your well-being, by giving your high quality coaching and creating the perfect conditions for you to unleash your potential and become the healthiest, fittest and strongest version of yourself! Experience the benfits of our biophilic design yourself, you are welcome!

Create your own health!© 


This  article is based on several publications including Beatley et al (2011). Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature  into Urban Design and Planning; Beatley et al (2013). Biophilic Cities Are Sustainable, Resilient Cities; Boekhout (2018). The obesogenic environment; Boekhout et al (2018). Health  behavior: Interaction between individual and environment; Gray et al (2014). Are biophilic-designed  site office buildings linked to health benefits and high performing  occupants?  Kellert.  (2018). Nature by Design:  The Practice of Biophilic Design;  Kellert et al (2015). The Practice of biophilic design; Lee (2017). Health  and well-being benefits of spending time in forests: systematic review; Loureiro  et al (2017). Green exercise, health and well-being; Nijkamp (2018) The  interaction between the individual and the environment theoretically  explained;  Ryan et al (2014).  Biophilic Design  Parameters: Emerging Nature-Based Parameters for Health and Well-Being in the  Built Environment; Yin et al (2019). Effects of biophilic interventions in office on stress reaction and  cognitive function: A randomized crossover study in virtual reality.