Torres column: Fitness is not the same as health
Last week I assessed one of my clients. He had lost 12 pounds in two months. He said that he enjoys our sessions, feels healthier, has more energy, is stronger, and — most important — he’s happier. When he refers me to his friends and shows them my website, some of them expect to see a picture of a bodybuilder.
He was telling me that he knows a couple of guys who are huge; they use drugs to increase muscle mass. Some other guys he knows use supplements. Since I advocate “natural fitness,” he assumes I don’t take any drugs or supplements.
While it is true that six years ago I used protein shakes and creatine, I now know that these products don’t really help me perform any better or add value to my health. Also, they are likely to do more harm than good. In my experience, acne and lack of oxygen at night were only two side effects of these products, which is why I stopped taking them.
When it comes to drugs everyone seems to have a different opinion about them. My opinion is that drugs simply don’t contribute to health even though they may increase muscle mass, endurance or some other facet of human performance.
Even though it sounds sad, many professionals nowadays don’t distinguish between fitness and health; but being fit does not mean being healthy. Someone taking drugs or using supplements may be able to run fast, have tremendous lean muscle mass or lift incredible weights and can be classified as fit. However, this person may not be healthy. Such a person may suffer or develop side effects such as sex impotency, osteoporosis, high blood pleasure, cancer and others.
However, fitness is a factor that contributes to health just like eating nutritious foods and controlling thoughts and emotions. But many people put their health in jeopardy to be fit.
Weight loss has also taken the same path. Many people have heard from their doctors that they need to lose weight because of their high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, knee problems, etc. Many look for the easy exit, taking pills, using hormone therapies, taking supplements or undergoing surgery.
Even though weight loss is the goal, the purpose can get lost while trying to attain the goal. The purpose of weight loss is to be healthy. While some people are looking to lose weight for a better appearance (and there’s nothing wrong with losing weight to be physically attractive), they, also, miss the real purpose. Losing weight in an unhealthy manner won’t help an individual become more attractive.
Getting to know the difference between fit and healthy helps us a lot with the habits we need to practice. It helps us be aware of our health while we get fit and to remember that we get fit to contribute to our health. Weight loss is not about being fit only. It is about being healthy by incorporating fitness in our lives.
Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs and author of the book “Lose Weight Permanently.” His column appears on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month in Body & More.
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