About The Physical Rules

of Nutrition, Metabolism, and Exercise Science

The Physical Rules is more than just a visual based lesson book I wrote for teaching Exercise Science and Nutrition at Saint Paul College in Minnesota; it is a way of storytelling and speaking to all audiences interested in connecting more completely with the natural world, food, and how a healthy body works inside and out.

I began by teaching children at a YMCA in 1992 after graduating from the UW-Madison, Wisconsin School of Education with a degree in Exercise Physiology. Now I use art and specialized visual props to teach all audiences in a variety of venues.

I bend the light of imagination so people can see things anew… using metaphor, analogy, and passion. I show. Please see students’ testimonials.


“Hardly anyone imagines functional nutrition concretely, as an actively occurring event within the body.”


However, people unconsciously speak of metabolism in terms that have concrete outcomes, e.g. physical weight gain/loss, feeling muscle cell recovery from weight training, or healing from illness, cancer, burns, etc.

Such ‘metabolic outcomes’ occur because nutrition is an active event in the cell as shown below in a prop using candles and food colored water.


The way to ‘see’ nutrition as an active event is to view images that freeze time and capture a moment of the micro and macro world. For example, an unseen metabolic event in your muscle cells (fermentation or glycolysis) and movement of your whole body (sprinting) occur simultaneously – and in fact are one and the same synchronous event. You would never know this unless you were shown the connection.

The case above is based solely on physical motion. This nutritional event in a muscle cell –> it consumes glucose and eats – is simultaneously the same physical action of muscles moving the whole body in space.

A cell eating is when your body finally eats. The food you swallowed was just digested and assimilated, but not metabolized until your cell eats it. When muscle cells eat quickly, you move fast.

This conception above is the first bridge for imagining cellular events synchronized as one with the macro world – but make it understandable for laypersons. It is the beginning of greater vision, namely conceiving functional nutrition, healing and regeneration, as well as degeneration… concretely as:

“Cells doing stuff are me healing, changing, and/or doing stuff” or “My cells collectively are me”.

This way of thinking is then extended to describe functional healing and regeneration, as well as degeneration – as inseparable physical events at the micro and macro levels.

All this serves as a way for conceiving any particular food’s relationship to a cell’s physical action e.g. – its way of working, its healthy state of being. Making analogies to things already familiar to people is the key for learning.


“Rather than judging food like a caricature imposing its trademarked value inexorably upon the psyche and body as a final outcome – the functional perspective sees the time and place for needing any food or nutrient in relationship to the conditions, purpose, and needs of cells and the body as a whole.”


Thus, a new perception of ‘healthy or unhealthy’ food and overall dietary structure is created – examined in Week 5.


“As trainers, healers, and scientists we can’t actually see biochemical-nutritional events happening inside a muscle.”

We need models and the language of metaphor to visualize ‘nutrients transformed’ within a muscle (or any cell within the body).

Consider how, at a glance you understand ‘hot colors’ express hot temperatures on a weather map, even though you do not see ‘faster molecular vibration’ of air molecules. Likewise, color analogizes the rate of a cell’s nutritional demand (rate of anaerobic glycolysis) with speed of moving the body.


“My presentations employ a variety of visual props, metaphor, and schematics to help people connect the events of the cellular unseen world – which they feel – with familiarly known activities, natural phenomena, and of course during sports and exercise.”


Through these perspectives, an eye learns to ‘see’ metabolic activity within a cell as more than just the transformation of food stuffs in a cell into physical action.

A learned trainer or wise healer sees transformation of energy as synonymous with maintaining and/or restoring the integral function of the cell.

Illustrating Exercise Science & Nutrition down to the Cell Level

Edward Watson

Edward Watson

Inventor. Trainer. Teacher. Owner Physiologics Training and Consulting