Hey guys, it’s your boy Mitko Kazakov here and today’s topic was inspired by something that happened to me just yesterday while I was at the gym.

I’m still injured (tennis elbow on both elbows) so, of course, I was there to train legs and what happened was I only had a vague plan about what I was going to do.

I knew I was going to do some squats and then hit my hamstrings and calves but I only had a vague idea regarding what weight I was going to use, how many sets I was going to do, for how many reps…

And maybe this is the way some of you work out as well.

It’s an intuitive approach where you manipulate the basic training variables based on how you feel that given day and every workout is sort of a stand-alone thing.

Here’s why that’s bad…

The Difference Between Exercising And Training

exercising vs training

Exercising is awesome.

You constantly hear health professionals say that you should exercise for an hour a day.

Do some squats one day, do some push ups the next day, go for a jog…

The idea behind exercising is being physically active and there really is a myriad of health benefits related to it.

But there is an important distinction between exercising and training.

While exercising means being physically active for the sake of being physically active, training means being physically active with an end goal in mind.

And what that means is that the physical activities you engage in are modulated in such a way that your body is forced to adapt to increasing stimulus and every workout is viewed as a building block in the larger scheme of things.

The key word here really is progression.

If you treat each workout as a stand-alone thing and there’s no overall progression in the long term, then you’re not training – you’re exercising.

Which means that you are going to be in good physical shape, feel good and be healthy (which is awesome), but you ain’t achieving a 400 pound squat or your dream physique anytime soon.

It’s science: provided you’re on top of your nutrition and recovery, your body adapts to the increasing stimulus of training by growing bigger and stronger.

If there was no increasing stimulus to adapt to, why would your body grow bigger and stronger?

There would simply be no reason for it to grow.

So while exercising may be great if general health and well being is what you’re after, training’s where it’s at for those of you looking to achieve big lifts or transform your physique.

The Importance Of Having A Goal

Road-to-Success-

And this is why it’s so important to have a goal – you need to have something to aim for, otherwise you’ll be all over the place.

Do you want to build 20 pounds of muscle?

Do you want to squat 2 x bodyweight?

I won’t go in depth regarding goal setting since I’ve already covered that topic in another article, however you NEED to know what your goal is in order for you to be able to pick the right training program for you.

The Importance Of Tracking And Measuring

how to track your training

Having a training log where you write down your workouts is one of those things that everyone knows will help, yet hardly anybody does.

Aside from boosting your motivation and acting as a reference to the more distant past, how are you supposed to remember every single detail about last week’s workouts without a training log?

How do you know what to lift (sets, reps, weight) without having written down your workouts?

It’s ridiculous to remember every detail and that’s where a training log comes in handy.

Program Hopping

program-hopping

You probably know someone like this:

They start a new training program, they’re super excited and for the first 3 weeks they follow it to the T only to switch to another one shortly after, never really putting in the work to finish one and reap the benefits.

If this is you then stop and realise that a good training program is designed to provide increasing levels of stimulus to which your body adapts over a period of time.

By switching programs all the time you never go through the designed progression thus your body never adapts to the increasing stimulus.

You’ll never see the results you want if you never finish your training programs.

In Conclusion:

If you’re in the gym for health and general well being, then there’s nothing wrong with exercising.

For those of us who’re after big lifts or physique transformation however, what works is picking a good training program with a well outlined progression, sticking to it, finishing it and then, and only then, starting a new one.

Doing that over a long period of time is what really gets results.

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