Getting The Most Out Of Your Training
A lot of people go to the gym to get results. A lot of people want a better body; they want to be more functional and, they want to feel and be stronger. This is all great, but the problem is, very few people actually train in the manner that’s going to allow them to achieve all this.
It’s not enough to simply go to the gym and pick up weights and call it a job well done. Yes, you are moving around, out the house and not sitting the whole day on the couch. The heart is certainly pumping! It’s better than doing nothing. But for you, your goals go so much further than simply just to move around. I mean that is why you read my blog after all, the pursuit of a better body, more size and, more strength! Well the thing is, if you keep approaching your training the way you currently are, it’s not going to let you reach those goals in the long-term. I am not saying your training has to be difficult, but it should involve some thought and preparation to allow you to get the results you have always wanted.
Training Vs. Exercise
When it comes to making awesome progress, you have to decide whether you want to just exercise or actually train. Believe it or not, there is a pretty big distinction between the two. In my eyes they are not the same thing, but most people frequently treat them as one of the same. If you want long-term gains in size and strength then only one way is really the optimal way.
“You have to decide whether you want to just exercise or actually train.”
If you ask me what I think, I will tell you this: exercise is just not specific enough to allow you to achieve your size and strength goals. Yes, exercise is a great way to get you out of the house, perform some activities and to get yourself moving. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this! This is enough for lots of people. Their goal: is to be more active. In this case, exercise is exactly all you need to be able to reach this goal. But let’s not forget, there are also lots of people out there who want more than just to move around more. They have more specific goals in mind: increased size, increased strength, improved functionality and, better tissue mobility.
These are all highly specific goals and as such, require a change in approach, an approach that steps beyond just general exercise. This is where the idea of training steals the show and separates itself from just exercise. Here, training for me means a significant degree of preparation, planning, observation, adjustment and, structure. When you look at these qualities, you can quickly see why I believe there is a clear distinction between exercise and training. If you try to take these qualities away, you are simply back to doing a bunch of random stuff that provides no optimal route to your size and strength goals. Still great if you are looking to just move around, but not if you want to achieve long-term size and strength.
I am not trying to bash exercise. It serves an important purpose for many. But exercise itself, will not allow you to reach every goal. For some goals, you just need something with more structure, more specificity and well, something that is more tailored! Training provides those qualities. Which is why it’s always good to ask yourself when considering your goals: should I just be exercising or, should I be training?
“For some goals, you just need something with more structure, more specificity and well, something that is more tailored!”
Consider an ice hockey player. Yes, I am using ice hockey as an example because I love ice hockey, not just weightlifting! Now I will be honest, I have always found ice hockey to be a great sport. Something I wanted to pursue myself. But I am not going to lie; it’s a dammed hard sport to master. You need to be skilled on the ice. It’s pretty much two sports in one. With ice hockey, it’s not enough to simply just skate on the ice. It’s great exercise skating on ice! Strengthens the muscles, gives a huge boost to your cardiovascular fitness, but it’s just not enough to make you a competent ice hockey player. By just skating on the ice you are exercising, but you are not really training. To master ice hockey the game changes completely for you. Switching from ice-skating to ice training, you begin to put together a training plan of action: one that is structured, has some form of progression to it and, will be highly specific to improving your ice hockey skills over the long-term.
From Non-Specific To Specific
Like the ice hockey example, simply picking weight up and putting it down is not specific enough to allow you to optimally reach your strength and size goals. As a form of exercise, lifting weights is great: it loosens up the joints, gets the heart pumping, works up a bit of a sweat and, gives you SOME (short-term) size and strength. As they always say: something is always better than nothing! However, for your long-term goals it takes a lot more than simply the act of lifting weights.
For your long-term goals it takes a lot more than simply the act of lifting weights.”
Too often, I see many people walk into the gym doing random stuff without any order, structure, progression or plan to it. Yes, they are lifting weights but simply lifting them is not going to give you your long-term size and strength gains. If I were to ask everyone who simply ‘lifts’ weights without any plan, what their goals are, this would usually be the split of responses, 50% would say: I want to put on some serious size and strength. The other 50% would say: I just do it to get moving and keep myself fit. Both great answers! But both require different ways of thinking of weightlifting.
If you are in the group who wants serious size and strength gains over the long-term, then it’s time to stop thinking solely about the act of lifting weights, and start thinking more about the approach you take. What I mean is, not only do you lift weight, you need to know how you are going to be lifting the weight, what sort of weight you are going to be lifting, how often, what kind of technique and, how you are going to ensure progress over the long-term. For you, weightlifting now becomes a form of training, then purely a form of exercise.
For most of you reading my blog, simply lifting weights is not going to be enough to satisfy your goals. You guys want more! Most of you probably spend a lot of time doing this and as such, you want the best advise possible. Well, that is why I am here. The main difference between exercise and training is that you go from something non-specific to something highly specific. It is this high degree of specificity that ensures what you do, contributes to your increased performance. For instance, if you want to improve cardiovascular health, most people will go running. But if you want to run a marathon, it takes a whole regime change. Now, rather than just running, you need to think about you are going to approach, plan and implement it in a way that contributes to your long-term goal of running great marathons. Now your training, not just exercising! By approaching your long-term weightlifting goals in this way, I bet you, you will have much better success in the long-term.
If you have any questions about the article or would like to discuss further some of the topics mentioned, then please feel free to leave comments down below!