“Why working out will help you become less lazy and get your life in order,” is the original title of the video to this article. You will find out why at the end of this article, but for now, I must explain the technical difference between exercising and fitness. There is an overload on information available in the worldwide web. Which adds to why I must explain these technical terms clearly explained for your benefit in your fitness journey.
Let us begin with, physical activity, is what the American Heart Association wants you to get each week. In their words (found on their website), “physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories” – essentially, not sitting or lying down is physical activity. But even elderly people can take a more productive approach to their physical existence than mere movement for an arbitrarily recommended period of time.
Physical fitness is a related concept and I could read the definition by Kilgore and Mark Rippetoe in 2006 in the Journal of Exercise Physiology Online [9(1):1-10] but it is a mouthful, so let me explain everything clearly in layman’s terms for you.
Exercise is physical activity performed for the effect it produces today — the right now, the short-term goal of simply moving around. 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 — just punching the physical clock. Exercise is physical activity done for its own sake, either during the workout or immediately after it’s through. Exercise may well involve doing exactly the same thing every time you do it, as long as it accomplishes the task of making you feel like you have you have done something for the day.
But for athletes and people with a definite performance objective in mind, Training is necessary. In this context, Training is physical activity performed for the purpose of satisfying a long-term performance goal, and is therefore, about the process instead of the workouts themselves. And since the process must generate a definable result at a point in time removed from each workout, the process must be planned to produce this result. Training may also be the best way to achieve the goals that many people seek through Exercise.
If you ask me how do I get my life in check, I recommend you start setting long-term goals, because once you have identified this, you can then plan a schedule to work around your fitness routine. For example, I am doing a 3-day split strength training program – what this means is, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7am until 8am, I am at the gym performing my squat, press and deadlift to build strength within 3-6 weeks’ time. Then I organize what time do I cook, eat, shower, work, conduct meetings, get a haircut, have a photoshoot, and design programs.
After this 3-6 week timeframe is up and I have developed the foundation of strength, then I move to another training program for a different goal in mind. This may be a knee-specific training program, an Olympic weightlifting routine, preparing for a body building competition, training to become a marathon runner, or so on.
Having your long-term goal in mind allows you to specifically design workouts because training has specific stress adaptations that produce specific desired results. If a program of physical activity is not designed with specific goals to get your stronger, faster or better conditioned, then do not call it training, you are simply doing exercise. If you continue to do exercise, a random series of movements whenever you feel like it, this will waste your valuable time and may lead to injuries.
If you want to do something about your health, then organized your schedule. See what times and dates of the week can you allocate to train. Once you have identified your schedule, then you can work around how many hours you may need to sleep, study, work, cook, clean or any of the other obligations you may have in your life. For me, committing to training at least 3 days a week has brought many benefits mentally, emotionally, physically and even spiritually. It keeps me organized and cheerful, ready to seize the day. Once you set up a plan that continually increases your strength and your endurance, it also controls your diet, and so instead of wishing and dreaming, you are achieving your goals day in, and day out.
Like this article if you found it helpful. Drop me a comment if you are confused about where to start and be sure to subscribe for the next video.
- Mark Rippetoe 2014, The Important Distinction Between Exercising and Training, The Huffington Post, viewed on 2021 May <https://www.huffpost.com/entry/exercising-training_b_4597039>.
- The American Heart Association 2014, Extreme Obesity, And What You Can Do, viewed <https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/losing-weight/extreme-obesity-and-what-you-can-do>
- Blue Cross Blue Shield Association 2015, Physical Activity is Good for your Heart, viewed on 2021 May <https://www.fepblue.org/news/2015/11/16/17/45/physical-activity-is-good-for-your-heart>
- GOAT – Greatest Of All Time. Exercise vs Training