I Don’t Workout. I Train.

Recently, I’ve started saying “I’m going to train” instead of “I’m going to work out.” An obvious continuation of the conversation, this leads one to ask if I’m training for a race, competition, etc. But currently, I’m not training for an event. Yes, I’m working toward my goal of fat loss but this includes an arbitrary end point; there is no race or competition in sight. So why do I say I’m training as opposed to working out?

The devil is in the details, as they say.

Working out brings to mind the image of a person killing themselves in the gym. Sweating profusely, perhaps not enjoying their time spent in the gym; they go through the motions because it’s required to meet a goal, not because they truly want to work out. A workout is a single occurrence.

Some characteristics of working out include:

  • There is little to no structure to your workouts
  • You decide what you’re going to do when you get to the gym
  • You find you’ve been using the same routines for a while, without changing or using heavier weights, if you’re strength training

On the other hand, training brings to mind an image of an athlete. Pushing through a tough workout when it’s required, but taking days off and fluctuating training loads to enhance progress and improve performance. They approach their workouts from an organized perspective; there is a reason for each and every exercise, day, and movement they incorporate. Training is an ongoing process.

Some characteristics of training include:

  • There is a specific goal and endpoint
  • Each session includes exercises programmed in advance, so you know what you’re going to do before you get to the gym
  • There is progressive overload implemented and you’re constantly progressing both exercises and the amount of weight lifted

Approaching our individual fitness journeys with the mindset of training, can enhance our connection to our sessions. We feel more accountable and seeing progress can be motivation to continue on our fitness journey. We define and individualize each step of the training process in order to best achieve our goal, regardless of what it may be.

If you find you’ve been training for a while and crave the freedom working out provides, I encourage you to use the principle of movement. I use this once a week and do any activity that allows me to “just move”. While movement changes and it can be any number of activities, there is structure in the way that each movement has a purpose. It’s not as random and unstructured as a workout. Options include: mobility work, yoga or stretching, a circuit-style workout, or long, slow distance cardio if you’re used to strength training consistently.

I encourage all of you to adopt this mindset as well. Think of your workouts in terms of training and moving, instead of “just a workout.” Chances are you have a goal in mind already, and making a few simple changes:

  • Approach your training sessions with a pre-defined plan of action. Each movement and exercise should have a purpose and reason behind it.
  • Focus on your movement throughout your session. Read my article from Monday about internal focus and its benefits!
  • Make sure you’re progressing! Using heavier weights or measuring body circumferences are just two ways to make sure you’re moving toward your fitness goals.

Not sure how to structure your workouts in order to best reach your goal? Contact me here, tweet me, or send me a message on Instagram and I’ll help you out!

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