Health vs Fitness & your goals. I'm writing this article today with a heavy soul.

My Personal Trainer has been diagnosed with cancer, a very fit guy with what we would definitely call a "healthy" physique. It got me to thinking about "health and fitness" and how we lump these two words together as though they are one in the same.

They're not.


Health is defined in Wikipedia as: The level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain (as in "good health" or "healthy").[1] The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Fitness can be anything from cardiovascular, strength, endurance, power, flexibility, agility and ability (skills based).

I just got a couple of new clients (sisters), who by all accounts (sans blood tests) are very healthy, they had nothing circled on my health screen. Their only issue is excess body fat and a lack of fitness. They ARE healthy, and they want to STAY that way long term.

When working on our goals, it's important to really define what it is we want. If we want to get healthy through losing weight, then we are automatically assuming that it is our body fat that is the cause of our lack of health, when really it might be something else altogether. We might define our goal as getting fitter to improve our health, but if our health is impacting on our hormonal ability to get fit, then the goal is unrealistic, and the underlying health issues would be best addressed first.

The overall point is this. What is it you actually want out of your body and are you prepared to take the path less travelled by the industry in general to get there? Are you humble enough to look at your fit body and accept that you aren't actually healthy, or are you strong enough to accept that to get a fit body you need to get healthy first, in whatever form that takes? Of course, if a fit body with health issues is your goal, then this is completely valid as everyone has the right to free will.

Here is just a brief list of what a healthy body would look like.

Your level of health isn't "healthy" or "not healthy", it is a sliding scale between 0-100%, the more you have on this list, the healthier you are, AKA metabolically homeostatic. How many of these can you tick off? · Optimal digestion and elimination (ie, daily #2's, good consistency, no IBS, bloating, reflux etc)

· Balanced energy rhythms (good sleep at night, good energy through the day)

· Free of pain (So many of us are treating pain as "normal" these days). Pain includes things like joints, muscles, headaches, menstrual, organs, back etc. · Balanced mental health (free of depression, anxiety, negativity etc and full of gratitude, love, compassion etc)

· Free of disease (cancer, heart disease, diabetes)

· Balanced and functional fertility (good sex drive, good fertility, low problem pregnancy)

· Efficient function of body parts, neither overactive or sluggish (lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, brain, thyroid, bladder, bowel, intestine, adrenals, diaphragm, heart, gallbladder, testes, uterus, ovaries)

· Balanced feeding and satiety signals (no cravings, food energises, able to stop eating when not hungry)

· Low problem menopause / menstruation

· Healthy skin, hair, nails

· Fresh breath

· Stable, easy to maintain bodyweight at your body's "set-point" regardless of nutritional intake and exercise frequency.

· Balanced cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, iron, B12, Folate, cortisol....etc (This list is large). Free of nutrient deficiency. This list might seem a bit daunting, as many of us have some sort of sub-optimal health issue, but it just gives you a brief blueprint of what health actually represents and why it is so different from fitness and the general broad concept of "health and fitness"

So, if you're eating well and exercising and not getting fitter or healthier, it might be time to step outside the conventional "health and fitness" box.

I love having a fit Personal Trainer, but right now, I'd just rather have a healthy one.

Stacey Hancock
October 2012

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