The Difference Between Training and Exercise, Which are you doing?

Personal Training

For the vast majority of people, exercise and training mean the same thing.

Meaning going to the gym, lifting weights, doing circuit, going for a run- whatever it is that gets you sweaty and your heart pumping.
If you’ve spent as much time around gyms as I have, you have probably heard people refer to what they’re doing as ‘training’.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have someone walking out all hot and sweaty saying they had a ‘good workout’.
I think most people just think they’re the same thing? Or haven’t even thought about it?

So what is the difference?

According to Mark Rippetoe who is one of the most accomplished and experienced strength coaches in the world puts it best saying:

“Exercise is the physical activity performed for the effect it produces today – right now. Each workout is performed for the purpose of producing a stress that satisfies the immediate needs of the exerciser: burning some calories, getting hot, sweaty and out of breath, pumping up the biceps, stretching – basically punching the physical clock. Exercise is physical activity done for its own sake. Exercise may well involve doing the exact same thing every time you do it, as long as it accomplishes the task of making you feel like you want to feel today.”

Now, there is nothing wrong with ‘’exercising’’ – if your goal is to ‘’simply’’ burn some calories or get those endorphins pumping to a point where you’re motivated enough to go home and clean the house on a Saturday morning. If that were the case and you find going to the gym a burden, you’d probably have more fun shooting some hoops, surfing some waves, or going to a dance class. All of these will achieve the exact same result and you might enjoy it.

Now, you might think “I exercise a lot..but come to think of it, I don’t seem to make as much progress for the amount of effort I put in”

If that’s you, perhaps you fall into the bucket of exercising?

But as they say ‘ no amount of exercise can outdo a bad diet (lifestyle)’.

So what is training then?

Training is about having a goal in mind and creating a plan to achieve said goal (losing weight, muscle toning, preparing for a marathon).
Training is about incremental, specific, and objective improvement.

Training in its most basic form is doing something in a progressive and periodized way; it’s structured, regimented and planned out.
It’s the same principle for building a successful business, a successful marriage, and a successful life… – ‘you fail to plan; you plan to fail’.

Exercise is random and chaotic.

Training is not.

But should we all be training?

It all comes down to intention. any specific goals you may have. I am in no way suggesting training is better than exercise. If your priority is maintaining your health and producing the positive feelings you get from it, then exercise is efficient enough.

Walking is exercise. Yoga is exercise. Cleaning out the garage is exercise. So are jogging, badminton and Pilates. All of these are better than sitting on the couch.

However, if you want to improve body composition, get stronger, increase your energy or build more lean muscle , you need to be training.
These things don’t happen as a result of general exercise and ‘’mere’’ movement; instead, they are a predictable response to routinely putting your body under increased amounts of tension and forcing it to adapt.

Training doesn’t tickle.

Which is why most why away from it!

And just to be clear, going to the gym and throwing around weights without a plan or structure training program isn’t training. It is just another form of exercise.

And this is why you see a lot of people frustrated at the gym without any desired results, and ultimately give up.

They are hoping to achieve results that only training can offer but are unwittingly exercising instead. Their mindset and goals aren’t in alignment.

But…they could be.

Exercise is life. Training helps you get the most out of it.

Do you exercise or do you train? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.