What is the difference between fit & healthy? Are they the same thing?
There was a time in my life where I used to have a cigarette before going on a 3km morning jog because I felt like it opened up my lungs and made me breath easier. I especially loved my post run smoke because it felt like the hit of nicotine was stronger when I was out of breath.
I was fit. Fitter than most of the people I knew at the time but was I healthy? Most definitely NOT.
Fast forward a few years and I decided that I needed to give up smoking so I decided to train for a marathon because I knew that I could not smoke and do a marathon so it was a good way to distract me from wanting a cigarette. It worked, I gave up smoking and threw myself into the world of long distance running. I was even fitter.
I joined a group of runners and started learning about energy gels and pre & post work out drinks and carb loading and all sorts of things that I had no idea about. I tried a heap of things, I put my body under an extreme amount of stress with the supplements and the training because one thing I didn’t realise was the amount of caffeine I was taking. I was taking a big dose with my pre-workout drink, more doses with the energy gels I was consuming during my long training sessions and then more doses after training with my coffee’s and coke zero’s. I really cringe now to think how much caffeine I was consuming on a regular basis.
Having this much caffeine can cause digestive issues, high blood pressure and dehydration. I thought my digestive issues were due to the training because it was common knowledge that endurance training could cause digestive problems, I just didn’t link it to what I was putting in my body.
The reason I am sharing this story is to share how my belief that I was fit was mixed up with my belief that I was healthy. Through ignorance and following the crowd, I was putting a huge amount of stress on my adrenal system.
So how do you balance fitness and being healthy? One way I have been learning to train recently is by following a program run by the guys at GMB. They do programs that build strength, mobility and flexibility through functional training using animal movements. It is very different from any training I have ever done before and I noticed an increase in my flexibility and strength within the first few days of following the program. If you want to learn more about it, go here (this is not a paid endorsement)
So then, my next focus was on my nutrition. I know I have shared this before, but in case you have heard the story about my first ever juice cleanse, I’ll give you the summary version. I did not believe that a juice cleanse would do anything for my health and I thought that it was another fad and a bit of a crock of shit but despite that, I agreed to do a 5 day cleanse with my partner. I didn’t follow any instructions and I went cold turkey into the cleanse with no preparation. I can tell you that that is a bad idea. The caffeine withdrawal symptoms hurt more than I care to remember.
I would never recommend doing a cleanse like I did. It was unpleasant for the first 3 days but then I noticed the changes that were happening very rapidly. I had a clear head, I slept deeply and felt refreshed the next day, I was energised and focused and felt amazing. So, I was well and truly hooked on cleansing as a method of cleaning out the cobwebs in my body and giving myself a tune-up.
So from this experience, cleansing became a part of my life to help improve my overall wellness and to repair some of the damage of my earlier years. I have since experimented with different foods and drinks including going vegan for a little while (gee, that is hard work) and vegetarian for a while longer. I found that I prefer to include meat and other animal products in my diet but with a balance of non-meat and non-animal based meals and with regular cleansing to reduce the overall load of inflammation on my body.
I know that I am much healthier now than I have ever been in my life. I still have a ways to go, I ok that it is a journey. One of the ways that I know that I’m healthier now is my skin is clearer and brighter.
Health has been defined by the World Health Organisation as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It includes aging well, longevity, quality of life, freedom from pain etc. Fitness, on the other hand, is defined as a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity.
In order to be healthy, you need to be fit but to be fit, you don’t need to be healthy. And the reason that this is so important? Health and happiness go hand in hand and we all want to be happy.
Credit for Podcast intro: http://www.purple-planet.com