Many people hit the gym multiple days a week, eat pretty healthy, and wonder why they aren’t seeing any major results. A lot of people attribute this to their diet but for a personal trainer who’s seen people “working out” for 10 plus years, more times than not, the problem is that they are “working out” instead of “training”.
The distinction between “working out” and “training” is not common knowledge. Most people think they are the same thing when they are in fact, they are two totally different things.
This post is going to explain the difference between the two so you can work towards getting long lasting results and avoid not reaping the fruits of your labor.
Let’s start by defining the two:
Working out is a random approach to fitness without any direction toward specific goals. You show up to the gym, put in a bunch of work and hope you’ll see some results.
The problem with this is, you’re simply burning some calories and breaking a sweat, which leads to not achieving significant results.
The truth is: everyone who goes to a gym is looking for results, but so many people struggle to achieve them because they are working out instead of training.
With no rhyme or reason, working out is better than no activity, however it is not geared towards getting results (like building muscle, toning up, leaning out, etc.)
Training is a carefully crafted fitness plan targeted at specific results; You go to the gym, precisely carry out your trusted training program and the results follow.
Training programs come on all shapes and sizes depending on your specific goals. That said, it is crucial that you have a professional check your movement patterns before starting a program.
Also, one rule of thumb when starting a strength training program: a quality program should include the fundamental movement patterns: push, pull, hinge, squat, lunge, rotation, and carries.
My goal is to educate you on how to train efficiently so that you can make your time at the gym worthwhile and get the results you deserve!
Here are the 5 signs you are “working out” instead of “training”
1. Going to the gym without a plan
For Pete’s sake do not do this!
This type of random approach at the gym will steer you away from results. You need to have a plan in place and that plan needs to be directed towards your specific goals.
Without a game plan, you have no business expecting results to magically appear.
A well-developed program must be tracked on something-excel, an app, or even pen and paper!
Regardless, you need some type of concrete evidence that you are progressing in your training.
2. Trying to confuse your muscles
This is a made-up term used by the workout community. Confusing your muscles is not actually a thing.
The idea is that you “shock & confuse” your muscles into getting bigger or stronger by doing vastly different exercises each day. If you are following this “strategy”, then you are working out.
Our body doesn’t work that way. Period.
Trainer tip: Stick to the basics, they work. If your program doesn’t seem fancy, or better yet, boring, it needs to be.
Practice the fundamental movement patterns mentioned above and work on getting better over time.
3. Not adjusting your program
Another detrimental approach is to carry out the same exact workout routine for years at a time without any progression or adjustment.
This is an easy trap to fall into because you get comfortable with your routine, but beware that this means you are working out instead of training.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. This is 100% true when it comes to training!
Your program should be adjusted every 4-8 weeks and apply progressive overload gradually and appropriately. This can be done by switching variables like weight, repetitions, sets, tempo, or rest times to name a few.
If you are looking for a customized program, click here to schedule a call to discuss a plan that is designed for your specific goals.
4. Quantity Over Quality
When you notice that all you talk about is how fast you completed your workout, how many sets of squat jumps you completed, or how long your workout was then you are working out, not training.
Working out tends to emphasize quantity of work instead of quality of work.
Taking this approach at the gym will most likely result in burnout and or injury. Performing exercises in an uncontrolled matter will squash any chance of results (while creating imbalances that lead to injury, eek)!
Training, on the other hand, focuses on learning the skills of resistance/strength in a controlled matter. Form is always first and foremost. And a lot of times, less is more when it comes to resistance/strength training.
When you are training, you never sacrifice quality for quantity.
5. Workout as a reward
Eating back calories burned or “earning” your food by working out is a tell-tale sign.
When you find yourself adding extra sets, reps, or workout time day after day in order to cancel out cheat meals, then you are guilty of working out.
When you are committed to a specific and planned training program, breaking even isn’t even applicable. An example is strength training, you must eat to fuel your body AND to repair and grow your muscle.
Individuals who are training base their eating habits on the bigger picture, not on what they are going to eat or drink that night.
Plus, individual who strength train can eat more since their body will have more muscle which makes their BMR higher.
If you want to actually see measurable results such as increased strength, more defined muscles, a shapely figure, or heck, maybe you want to be able to do a push up or a pullup.
Whatever the goal may be, you need to start training like you mean it. So uplevel your workouts and start a strength training program, 3-4 days a week. I promise you will kick yourself for not doing it sooner.