Fitness and health is in many peoples eyes one and the same, but I want to testify that from both experience and expertise they are very much not.
You see people think health and fitness are interlinked in that as your fitness improves so too does your health, and it does, for some, as in if your health and fitness is on the floor and as you improve your fitness, so too does your health….. but only to a point.
I have always and will always state that as a coach I will let competitive athletes know the consequences of their actions and that is when competition starts, health ends.
Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit rightly summed up that people will die for points, people will give their right arm to win and the harder they train, the bigger the commitment, the more they are willing sacrifice and very often its their health that takes a hammering.
And while you may think that elite athletes are in peak physical condition, which they are, you cannot confuse this with health. The very same athletes are held together with tape, have daily visits to physios, osteos and pop pain killers like smarties, then you have the females who have at best an irregular menstrual cycle if they have one at all. They often retire to a life of immobility and major replacement surgery after the wear and tear on the body from competitive sport. And we haven’t even discussed the imbalance between a work life, social life, family life and their sport / mistress !!
You see, competitive athletes live extremely unhealthy, unbalanced lifestyles where the body takes incredible punishment and the more specific their training, the fitter they become in their chosen area, the less healthy they become.
The easiest way I can describe it that fitness is like a bell curve or a horse shoes. If your fitness and health is on the floor and you start eating better and exercising, sure your fitness and health will improve together, but only to a point, that point is when you start exercising so heavily your getting injured and wake everyday with niggles, that point is when you no longer have energy to be productive in work or with your family, but you only have energy for training now, that point is when your so mentally fatigued you start to snap at those around you, that point is when your out of balance and your training takes a priority. That point is where your fitness and sport continues to improve but your health deteriorates.
Now, I am not in anyway shape or form going to tell you that being ultra competitive or prioritising your fitness is wrong if you have set out to win and or achieve some fitness related goal. Go ahead and knock yourself out, I did it for 20 years and I wouldn’t change a thing.
However, I just don’t want you fooling yourself into thinking as your fitness improves so too does your health.
There is a fine line here, if you don’t exercise, you most certainly wont be fit and healthy, however, if it becomes your everything, then you may be fit but wont be healthy.