Austin Personal Training Redefined

Exercise v. Training

IMG_2934You show up to the gym for the day ready to work. No matter what your preferred mode of fitness—weight lifting, cardio, CrossFit, a group exercise class—you are diligent about getting your workouts in, and often leave the gym feeling a sense of accomplishment. And that sense of accomplishment looks different for different people—we call that your "why" for why you workout. Some workout to feel good, others, to…look good, stress less, eat more, eat pizza and beer, improve at a sport, improve their performance, get stronger, get leaner—and a slew of other "whys" in between. No matter what your reasoning, when it comes to your fitness—your time in the gym—are you exercising or are you training? There IS a difference. While the two seem very similar, they actually have two completely different goals and two completely different outcomes. In layman’s terms: Exercise=Physical activity. Spinning your wheels in the gym. Moving your body and working out, but with no real purpose, or distinct objective in mind. Training=A process by which you learn and practice, assess and reassess, test and see, reflect, grow; A program with clear objectives. For example: Exercise: A CrossFit enthusiast who shows up to the box day in and day out, eager to do whatever met-con is on the board; or the WOD-junkie who hops from blog to blog to blog, looking for a great, hard workout. Versus Training: The trainee who shows up to the gym, with a plan of attack in mind. Today they are going for 85% of their 1-rep max back-squat for 5 reps with 3-second holds at the bottom, after successfully completing a similar rep and tempo scheme at 80% the week before; or the former met-con-aholic who finally got tired of working out but not necessarily progressing—tired of doing handstand pushups and deadlifts, or kettle bell swings, running and pull-ups for time at the same weights or the same pace—and began training other movements to help him with his met-cons (rather than met-conning himself to death). Or another example: Exercise:  The personal trainer, who really, is more a babysitter or workout prescriber for her clients—taking all of them through similar style workouts, based on what she knows has personally worked best for her or what she learned in her text book. Versus Training: The coach or trainer who performs an in-depth physical and lifestyle assessment with each and every one of her clients, listening to their true goals and taking their personal limitations, strengths and weaknesses into consideration, in order to then design and implement a program that effectively guides and helps them “get there.” And one more: Exercise: A 40-year-old soccer mom who goes to Barre class to whittle her middle; the 35-year-old business dude who goes to the gym to run on the treadmill every day after work for exactly 30-minutes then grabs a smoothie from the smoothie bar on his way out; or the 22-year-old former high school football stud who shows up to 24 Hour Fitness every day for his 2-3 hour workout, working his one body part per day (mostly chest, back and biceps), but sticking to a very similar routine week in and week out. Versus Training: The 40-year-old soccer mom who goes to Barre class because she enjoys the group atmosphere, but she’s conscious to get in at least 3-4 days per week of weight training, following a program individually prescribed for her to enhance her bodyfat loss goals; the 35-year-old business dude who strategically incorporates longer runs, with sprint type workouts throughout the week and mixes it up with active rest days in the pool or on the rower; and, lastly, the 22-year-old former highschool football stud who is keeping a log of his weekly sessions, varying his training and using his gym sessions as opportunities to grow and stretch his own capabilities. As you can see, there is a difference. While one is not necessarily better than the other…one gets you nowhere (exercise), while the other gets you somewhere (training)—in physical goal speak at least. Some find that the mental release of exercise alone—just moving their body—is perfectly A-OK for them. The need to know, or even the awareness, around why they are doing particular exercises, or how they work together, or how their movement impacts their results or does not impact their results, is left by the wayside. And that is your prerogative. For those who truly train though, those invested in the mind-body connection of a workout, these individuals integrate meaning into their movement. They strategically use exercises, lifts, accessory work, assistance exercises, variety, data, testing and re-testing within a program for a greater purpose and goal for their time spent in the gym. Those who exercise believe variety, delayed onset muscle soreness and sweat are the objectives; while those who train see and understand the value of progression and practice and specifically working on their weaknesses in order to make them more strengths. Exercise is not measurable outside the amount of sweat or fatigue one may feel; Training is measurable based on gains, new personal successes, and sometimes, just the commitment to sticking to a plan—knowing there is great reward in consistency. We could go on and on. Think about your own workouts: Are you exercising or are you training?  And are you satisfied? Central Athlete’s Exclusive Coaching can help bring back purpose to the gym and align your personal goals with the work you put into your fitness. Schedule a free consult today to chat about our remote coaching or on-site training options, truly committed to your personal success.


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