Cake and Other Analogies to Explain Fitness vs. Wellness

The road of life is much smoother when you can find balance despite what comes your way. When I think of balance, I think of two kids slowly rising and falling on a playground seesaw. Focusing only on your physical fitness is like standing on one side of that seesaw and expecting it to continue to rise and fall. Sure, the seesaw moved, but there is no balance. However, focusing on your overall wellness is understanding that for your seesaw to work, every component must be balanced and in sync.


Fitness is a component of wellness, but wellness isn’t a component of fitness. Make sense? It reminds me of the only thing I remember from ninth grade geometry class (other than it was the lowest grade I’ve ever received). What I recall from geometry is that a square is a rhombus but a rhombus is not a square. Here, fitness is the square and wellness is the rhombus. As a journalism major, that’s probably the only math analogy you’ll get from me. We need to dive a little deeper to understand the real differences between fitness and wellness and why both are important.


When I think of striving toward wellness, I think of yoga. For me, yoga and wellness are about the balance of mind, body and spirit. So it begs the question: Are you fit, or are you well? Do your personal goals revolve around working out to stay in shape (fitness) — or working out for your mind, body and spirit (wellness)?

Fitness is simply attention to the body, which leads me to my third analogy: the sports car. Obviously, the exterior of a car might look good, but it will only get you so far (actually, it won’t get you anywhere). You may have the nicest sports car on the block — all shiny and fit with a luxury custom interior and decked out rims, but if you don’t service that vehicle on a regular basis, one day it will break down. If you don’t put the right gas in your tank (eating well), if you don’t service the engine (letting your body work and rest), if you don’t change the oil (clearing the mind), you may find yourself calling AAA from the side of the highway of life. Just as a car has many working components that all need equal attention, so do you.


My parents used to read the bedtime story, “Three Little Pigs,” to my brother and me when we were kids. My mom read it to get us to stop playing knee hockey on her living room carpet, and I think my dad read it to teach us the benefits of hard work. Anyway, here is the third analogy: Is the foundation of your life built on straw, sticks or bricks? Are you fit, or are you well?

Let’s be honest for a moment — building a home is hard work. I’m sure the two pigs who built their homes from straw and sticks still worked hard. But, the pig who built his home from bricks worked just a little harder — and smarter. That extra attention to detail in building a strong foundation saved the pig when the wolf came and tried to blow his house down.

A strong foundation starts with balance. It starts with understanding that true happiness in life takes work, no matter the route. If you put in a little extra work and focus on the body along with the mind and spirit, you’ll be prepared to weather the windy storms of life.


Fitness is a slice of the cake, wellness is the cake.

Being physically fit is an important part of life, but wellness of the body, mind and spirit is what life is all about! Start giving those three areas the same love and care, and you just may be able to have your cake and eat it, too.


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