Last week I briefly mentioned that there’s a different between exercise and (physical) training. While the terms may have similar dictionary meanings and both involve physical activity, they are two very different practices with very different outcomes. Physical activity is basically anything that that isn’t sitting or lying down. You need physical activity everyday for basic health.
Exercise is physical activity performed to create a specific effect in the moment. The moment being the workout. Exercising simply satisfies the needs of the exerciser during that workout. It could be getting out of breath, getting sweaty, burning calories, moving weight, or working a particular muscle group. It could be the same thing in every workout and there’s no real plan or structure. Exercise is physical activity for the sake of a workout. It will get you fitter than you are, if you haven’t been doing any physical activity, but after that it’s only good for maintaining what little fitness you have developed.
Training, on the other hand, is a process used to achieve a greater and longer term purpose. That purpose must be measurable, and therefore training requires a plan. The training goal can be competing in a specific sport, but most people aren’t doing that. Most people are simply after lifelong health and fitness. Because exercise is only good enough for that workout, we don’t use that approach. We use training.
By using training we’re achieving the goals that many seek through exercise, but where exercise becomes but a maintenance tool, training keeps providing results. Our older members are testament to this – they’re fitter now than they were last year because they’ve been training. By using training, we are able to tell you which aspects of fitness and health are going to improve. You can see those changes, we can measure those changes, and we can also replicate those changes over time.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise with us. If all you want to do is burn some calories, get a sweat on and have a basic level of strength and endurance, just turn up and exercise! Because there’s a plan in place for each workout, each week and for every 12 weeks, you’re always going to get a good workout in. But when you start tracking changes in your fitness between those 12-week blocks, and you start taking care of your nutrition and lifestyle habits, you’re making a decision to train. Exercise may be all you need at this stage, but if you have the goal of lifelong health and fitness, then training is your solution.