Stop Exercising...Start Training!
By Coach CJ
You’ve probably had every intention of getting in the best shape of your life THIS year, but still haven’t committed to the process. What went wrong?? It doesn’t matter if you haven’t stepped foot in a gym for 20 years or if you’ve been going FIVE times per week, chances are you’re looking at it as 'EXERCISE' not ‘TRAINING.’
Let’s take a step back and discuss the difference:
Exercise is movement without purpose; motion without direction. It’s what my mother does when she walks around the block, or you go to the gym and make up a workout on the spot.
Training is a mindset. It’s, the way in which you approach any exercise you do. Training is doing that same ‘EXERCISE’ activity, but with a specific, measurable goal in mind. Training involves having a plan of action on how you’re going to get to that goal. If you want results, training is the most effective way to get there.
Here are 5 steps to begin training:
1. SET A PRIMARY GOAL & MAKE A PLAN
We at The Bar Athletics love SMART Goals (Refer back to last week's SMART GOAL BLOG). SMART Goals allow you to get started in the right direction. All too often we hear, “I want to get healthy [fit, strong].” In order to become healthy, fit, or strong, you need a plan to get to that destination. “Healthy” and “strong” aren't specific enough. I want you to think of a road map, the foldable kind our parents kept in the glove box and used for family vacations. My father would unfold the map, mark our home or our starting location, and then find our destination. Next, he would highlight the route from starting location to end destination, figuring out the most efficient way to get there. He included checkpoints for gas and rest along the way. The point here is that he had a goal, a destination in mind, and the map was his plan. Think of your goal as a destination on a map. What route and what checkpoints do you need to go through in order to make it to your goal? How will you become healthy, fit, or strong? It’s time to set some goals and get SMART!
2. SMALLER, MORE SPECIFIC GOALS
How do you know you're headed in the right direction? Smaller, more frequent goals. At any particular moment, training and exercise might look more or less the same. But as we discussed earlier, they are not. When you train, sessions have specific goals relative to the overall goals of a program. The activities, loads, and frequencies you use are vital. You do what you need to do, not just what you want to do. For example, when training for a competition 3 months down the road you will need to set expectations of your training in order to perform at your best ability when the competition date arrives. Smaller goals such as attaining a higher load or more repetitions, will benefit the ultimate goal of your performance down the road.
3. FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
Fundamentals are the basics of your training. Without them we should not and could not train. They also provide the importance of having a coach. Having a coach might seem obvious, but there are many athletes that prefer to train alone. There are several important reasons for having a coach, but two integral reasons are:
1. The coach has knowledge, experience, and can provide an unbiased set of eyes.
2. The coach will get an athlete to do things he or she wouldn't do otherwise.
4. TRAINING IS EFFICIENT
If you look at any particular element in your training program and you can't explain how it will aid in your primary goal, then you probably shouldn't be doing it. For example, let’s say you’re looking to fit into your bathing suit this summer and are only doing cardio and avoiding strength training. Oh, you just want to “tone up?” Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but “TONING” is actually saying you want to build some muscle and lose body fat. Strength training is the most efficient way to “tone” up and lose body fat as it burns calories both during and post-exercise versus cardio which only burns during. An Olympic lifter, for example, would be wasting his time and energy doing hundreds of bench presses and calf raises when his focus should be on cleans, jerks, and snatches. In comparison, a bodybuilder doesn't need to be doing an hour of power cleans every day. My point here is to train efficiently for your goal. Do what is necessary to get you one step closer to where you need to be.
5. TRAINING USES STATS
When training, you will know before a session is even finished whether or not that day was successful. You don't judge training quality based on how tired you are, how sore you got, or the volume you were able to perform. Successful training is not judged on the pump you got, but on the progression toward YOUR GOALS. This is made possible by keeping record of all volumes, repetitions, and drills you use in training. Other items we must keep track of are our nutrition and sleep. If you didn't hit your planned number or rep scheme for the day, then there was a flaw somewhere. Flaws are due to the many variables in our lives. Maybe it was the programming, maybe your nutrition was off or perhaps you weren't rested enough. Good record-keeping will help you identify the problem and point you in the right direction to solve it.
So if you want results from your exercise, set up a training program to get to your goal the right way. Use the five steps we discussed to get started today!
Not sure what goals to set? Meet with one of our coaches for a FREE goal setting session.