Health is Not the Same Thing as Fitness

For years I made fun of guys who ate fruits and vegetables. “That’s fucking gay. I’m not fat. I eat a lot of protein, quality essential fatty acids, and low-glycemic carbs. That’s all you need to do.”

Then I learned that health is not fitness. You can be lean and physically fit while also being sick.

Andy Whitfield is a perfect example. “That is the photo of health,” you would no doubt say. Andy Whitfield died in the prime of his life – a mere 37 years of age – from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

An acquaintance of mine – and a close friend of a close friend – contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The acquaintance is still in his mid-30s with a hot wife and a couple of great kids. The guy looks very healthy as he stayed in shape. Yet he’s sick, too.

No one is quite sure what exactly causes non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Evidence is mounting in favor of the fruits-and-vegetables hypothesis. Namely, that a diet deficient in vegetables has a causal connection to cancer:

Consumption of highest versus lowest quartile of proteins fats  and sweets were associated with a significantly increased NHL risk. The inverse association was found for fresh fruits and vegetables.

More fruits and vegetables means less cancer. I will always train hard in the gym while recognizing that fitness is not health. To stay healthy you need your fruits and vegetables. If you eat them, great. You can also start juicing.

  • M3

    So true. My brother passed at 35 due to Multiple Myeloma. Horrible shit.

    Only two things i can offer to this are:

    1. veggies definitely important. I’m always scarfing them down as snacks when i can. And fruit too, but i try and balance it because of the sugar content in them as well. Great to load up on breakfast fruits and veg for the rest of the day. Bright colours are best for fighting free radicals and containing anti oxidants and high in nutrients. Iceberg lettuce is as good as eating donkey dung.

    Baby spinach is great. Red, yellow, green peppers, carrots, brocolli, tomatos, etc… all good stuff. Same with most fruits.

    2. Meat. Especially burnt, charred BBQ meat. My buddy has been telling me all kinds of horror stories about mean, specially hormone treated animals to grow to gargantuan sizes to fill the demand. And cooking over fire and charred meat produces free radicals that do major damage to our dna increasing chances of replicating broken mutated cells.

    i try and stay with chicken alone and eat a burger so rarely, it’s like once a year treat. i’ve sworn off all BBQ’s. i try and stick with protein shakes and nuts and beans to get what i need. we’re omnivores, not carnivores (thats why we only have 4 sharp teeth).. but north american diet is heavily meat based. somethings got to give.

    thats my .02

    • admin

      Sorry that happened to your brother.

      Cooking meat at high temps is definitely bad news.

      I’m not afraid of grilling a steak…But I treat grilling red meat for what it is – an indulgence.

      I eat a lot of slow-roasted chicken and fish. Not much red meat these days.

      • Carnivore

        I hereby PUBLICLY confess, despite my screen name (HAHA), you are absolutely right. I do eat beef, but only grass fed and cooked at low temp. Grilling a steak is a once in a while treat. Alternate the diet with fish and chicken. AND juicing – thanks, man.

  • Wall Street Playboys

    The second interesting thing about health and fitness is this.

    Health is self control
    Fitness is determination

    Most men have more of the second than the first. Hence why they are unable to handle their cash (no spending self control) get into fights a lot (can’t hold together emotions). So once you have both you’re the king.

    Reason why we view those health nuts as pussies is they are usually just push over guys who are trying to hit on the hot girls in their yoga classes who eat the same “womanly food”

  • Carnivore

    Good distinction. And it’s health that’s important for longevity and slowing the aging process – having the strength and cardio capacity to do what you want in your daily life, not running a marathon, having 18″ arms or benching 405. That’s not to say a guy can’t shoot for those goals, but they have nothing to do with health and longevity.

  • Faust

    It’s obvious now that you say it, but this is something I’d never really considered. Thanks for the interesting post.

  • Thor

    Got a good book for you bud. “Natures detox plan” by Roy Mankovitz. A NASA rocket scientist and his take on health. Very good read.

    • Mike Cernovich


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