Health VS Fitness - Where Do We Draw The Line?

Health & Fitness are two very common words both in my life & of course in todays society! They are often coupled together in the same phrases and situations - but they have some very distinct differences!

You can’t have one without the other!

The definition of Health is;


  1. the state of being free from illness or injury.

The definition of Fitness is;


  1. the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.

So - as we can see they have two different meanings! Some will argue that the meanings above are incorrect or different - but for context, let’s go with what we have here.

This blog post comes again as a result of me thinking. And me thinking about the “health & fitness” space.

The thing is that fit people are not always healthy & healthy people are not always fit. Someone training 5 days per week for a marathon or an Ironman might look fit - but under the hood they are unhealthy. Someone that is healthy, free of pain & disease might not be able to run down the road without getting out of breath.

So yes there are crossovers but there are differences too!

You might think this is ironic coming from a guy who ran 24 Marathons in 24 Days or who cycled and ran across America - but since I started to make my health my main priority in mid 2017 - things began to change!

My fitness increased & my endurance got bumped up a notch?

Why or how? I became healthier - I stopped looking for what gel I could use, or what sugar-loaded mix I could put in my water & I stopped smashing carbs down every day of the week. Went against the grain you could say. I visited and communicated a little more with my doctor / GP & I soaked up any education I could from my Performance Nutritionist Barry.

I began to see that there was more out there than the “Go Hard or Home Model” that is currently popular in fitness & in gyms all over the world.

I began to look under the hood and into that my body was doing on the inside. I became fitter by focusing on my health. In preparation for crossing America - I made my health the priority. It paid off.

Take a moment to look around at the start line of your next endurance event?

How healthier would a lot of the attendees be if they became a little more health-conscious? How many of them need to drop anywhere from 5 to 25 pounds? And I don’t point this out to offend anyone - I make this point to help you realize that focusing on your health first forges massively into your fitness.

Think about shedding the few pounds

Think about getting enough sleep

Think about balancing your training load over the weeks and months

Think about what you eat 365 days a year - not what gel you take 2 hours into a long run.

Think about your health - the fitness then follows!

When it comes to the industry I work in the needle sways to both sides! We have folks doing endurance events that are hugely under trained & under conditioned and then we have athletes who are burning themselves out by training full gas every day of the week!

These are different scenarios for sure - but just have a think about it! Open your mind to playing the long game and steering away from the No Pain No Gain model. If a trainer says that to you - politely ask for your money back and never go back to them. Yes you need to train hard & yes you need to train hard on days you might be a little sore etc - but doing that all the time is just downright stupid.

We will be going into this in further detail this weekend, the 21st & 22nd of September at our Resilient Runner Seminars in Cork & Dublin!

You can still register by clicking HERE

Again I write this to make you think!

You can strike balance between training hard, recovering & seeing some amazing progress. But that point is different for every one of us.

We all absorb training loads differently & recover in individual times. This needs to be respected!

But also be conscious of the fact that fit dosen’t always mean healthy & healthy dosen’t always mean fit!

Are they different? Yes! Can they be brought together? Yes they sure can too!

But start off by identifying both sides & take it from there!

Personally speaking - I know if I am healthy - when it comes to endurance, I can achieve some pretty cool things over the next 10 plus years! You can too!


Shane Finn