Evolutionary relationships among fitness traits are considered in terms of the near-to-universal scenario of stressful environments leading to a resource-deficient and hence energy-deficient world. Fitness approximates to energetic (and metabolic) efficiency under this environmental model. When fitness is high, stress resistance (reducible to oxidative-stress resistance) and metabolic stability are maximal, and energy expenditure is minimal. Rapid development should then be favored followed by a long lifespan and high adult survival. Positive associations among diverse fitness or life-history traits are expected, controlled by stress-resistant 'good genotypes'. Heterozygotes tend to show higher energetic efficiency and hence higher fitness than do corresponding homozygotes under extreme environments, and to give parallel associations among life-history traits. Energy budgets under abiotic environments are pivotal for integrative evolutionary studies of life histories in natural populations.