Ethan Zohn Argues Why Survivor Is The 'Greatest' Competition On Earth - Exclusive

"Survivor." Just the name alone is powerful. Before the side laugh-inducing contest of "Wipe Out" came to TV or the impressive "American Ninja Warrior" showdown started airing, there was "Survivor," the OG reality competition show that really puts its cast to the ultimate test. "Survivor" is still going strong — and despite deviations and additions here and there — the show largely revolves around the same premise it always has: Try to survive with the clothes on your back, the resources around you, and pray to whatever you believe in that you'll make it out. To get an even deeper insight into the show and its unique circumstances, we just had to pick the brain of winner and storied contestant Ethan Zohn, who talked to The List's sister site Health Digest in an exclusive interview.

Zohn, of course, took home the title of "Survivor: Africa," and came back to the franchise again for "Survivor: All-Stars" and "Survivor: Winners at War." His capabilities on-screen are certainly not to be denied, and while his own personal and health life has been challenging, Zohn has proven time and time again that he is worth betting on. But, what does he truly think about the show these days? During the sit down, he explained just why "Survivor" is the greatest competition.

Ethan Zohn recalls the challenges that 'Survivor' presents its competitors

So many of us have watched shows like "Survivor" and thought, "Oh yeah, I could do that too." Then, we get winded going down the stairs to take the trash out. So, we had to ask a true victor like Ethan Zohn what the show is really like to compete on. He didn't hold back, either, and not only dished about his own experience, but spoke about the show in a larger context.

"I think 'Survivor' is the greatest game on Earth," he said. "It's the game that touches every part of you as a human being — mental, physical, social, spiritual, environmental, even financial because you're winning some money."

As to be expected, Zohn learned quite a bit about himself and his own capabilities while competing, and reflected on just how much he pushed his body to its ultimate limits. "Here you are, 39 days with no food, no water, no support systems, no money, ATMs, WiFi, nothing," he said, explaining most people's worst nightmare. "All that you had with you were your clothes on your back. So to be able to go through that experience, [you] know that your body is pretty capable ... of surviving in crazy situations."

Why was Ethan Zohn's return to 'Survivor' so challenging?

Ethan Zohn was not just a one-hit-wonder on "Survivor: Africa," as he returned to the franchise on two other occasions as well and proved that he had what it takes to come back to the most grueling competition on television.  Zohn said that his most recent time on the show was incredibly difficult.

"I'm not going to lie, it was a tough season for me," Zohn said of his return, about 20 years after his victory. "[It was filmed] on this place called the Edge of Extinction, which is literally the edge of extinction. You're withering away in the South Pacific."

On his return to the screen, Zohn expressed that he was "so alone and so isolated from the world," and the experience challenged his state of mind and anxiety levels. "It was a difficult game to play for me this time around," he explained. "However, going into it, I did have some strategies in place on how to get myself out of those moments. So I definitely tapped into some mental health techniques to keep me sane out there."

Watch "Survivor" Seasons 3 and 40, streaming on Paramount+. You can keep up with AKTIV Against Cancer and Trulieve Cannabis, or Ethan's other projects by visiting his website.