More isn’t always better. Variety isn’t always helpful. And new might not be right. Switching routines every week is a good way to keep things fun, But does fun make you better? The new exercise from Instagram looks cool, But is it effective? These things might make you sore and tired, but that doesn’t mean you are stronger, leaner, or healthier. And you definitely aren’t training. Training is different, it is planned, and has a purpose.
Training and exercise are used interchangeably and they shouldn’t be. Words matter. Training and exercise have different meanings, and they shouldn’t be swapped out and used the same. Training is a long-term process focused on a specific result. Exercise is about what you get out of today. Both are different and have their own purpose.
You train for a result, and the training program gives you the plan to achieve a goal. The goal can be weight loss (or gain), strength gain, or rehabilitation from injury. To train, you must have a plan and stick to it. Each day is important because it is part of the bigger picture. You focus on where you’re going over time, not the feeling after today’s session. Training means you have a long-term goal that you are committed to reaching.
Athlete’s train, and the term “athlete” is not limited to the high-profile professionals you see on TV. We are all athletes. An athlete has a goal in mind and trains for it. They focus on what needs to happen today to reach their goal. Every day is important to get what they want in the future. Athletes have a long-term mindset, and they delay gratification to future goals. They focus on simple things that make them better every day. Getting lost in variety and “mixing it up” doesn’t cross their mind – they are focused on their goal.
Exercise, however, is about today. It’s about the workout you do today and the feeling afterwards. If you don’t know what exercise looks like, check social media – you’ll see the best definition there. Variety, soreness, and sweat are keys to exercising. Exercise is about the short-term, or what you get out of today. Exercise is rarely planned because it is based on how you feel. Goals might be set, but they are vague and debatable.
How you choose between training and exercise depends on your goals and what you want. If you have a specific goal, you train. If you want to leave the gym tired and sweaty, you exercise. How you define it to yourself (and others) matters because it shows your priorities. It shows what you are committed to. You can choose to define it either way, but you cannot mix the terms and add your own spin on them. They don’t work that way.