What's the Difference Between Health and Fitness?

HEALTH- the state of being free from illness or injury; a person's mental or physical condition.

FITNESS- the condition of being physically fit and healthy; the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.

Many people wonder, "What's the difference between health and fitness?"

The video above from Stan "The Rhino" Efferding goes into this topic in detail. If you are unfamiliar with Stan Efferding, he is a world-record holder in powerlifting and bodybuilding.

He's not just a meathead though, he's a smart dude. He's also a coach, father, entrepreneur and innovator. (you can see his "Kooler" at the beginning of his videos)

When we look at the definition of both health and fitness we see they are somewhat related but not exactly the same.

You CAN have one without the other.

There are people who are in "good health" but may not be "fit", and vice versa.

It can be a challenge to define exactly what constitutes "healthy" or "fit". In the video Stan Efferding talks about high-level competition and how you are focused on winning first, not health.

Longevity isn't the goal. Winning is.

Going for a couple short runs each week might improve your health. Running numerous marathons each year may not.

“It is important to appreciate that the activity required to optimize cardiovascular health may differ or even diverge from the activity level required to optimize performance,” says Dr. Gordon Blackburn.


Health is NOT the Goal of Competition

High-level bodybuilders, powerlifters, Olympic athletes and all other competitive athletes do not train for health first.

Their priority is winning. Sometimes this comes at a cost. Physically and mentally.

This is not to say that some of the methods they use can't be used by the general public who just wants to be in better shape.

When the goal is winning, health takes a backseat. That's just the nature of sports.

As Efferding says, "If your goal is health, don't use a bodybuilder's program".


Fit for What?

The fitness and health industries can be confusing.

Let's simplify- decide what your goal is.

How will better health and/or fitness help you achieve that goal?

-Do you want a better quality of life?

-Is it your goal to be free from certain medications you take?

-Do you want to look good on the beach?

When you know your "why" you can start to sort out what is necessary and what isn't.



General Health and Fitness

If you want to improve your health and fitness levels but you have no intention of competing in any sport, you can do so with a few days or Strength Training, a solid nutrition plan, some cardio sprinkled in, plenty of activity each day and a steady dose of commitment.

You don't need to go to any extremes. Celebrity/athlete diet and workout programs are not made for you.

Find a program that speaks to you. Start with small steps and build from there.

Just because you aren't competing in a sport, doesn't mean you don't have to work hard or push yourself to achieve a better physical existence.

You still need to challenge yourself, aim for some consistency with your training/nutrition.

Remember the difference between health and fitness and know what your goals are. There's no need to compare yourself to anyone else. Whether that's an athlete, movie star or even the guy next to you at the gym.

Become a stronger you. That's a worthy goal for anyone.

At any age.

If you need help getting started, check out my programs HERE