Training vs. Working Out

I’ve always had an aversion to the term “working out.” It just doesn’t do justice to the deeper approach we should be taking with our fitness journey. 

There’s a big difference between training and merely “working out.”

“Training” implies that we approach our fitness goals with purpose, science, and intention. It’s about methodically building muscle, shedding fat, enhancing endurance, and becoming more resistant to joint pain.

On the other hand, “working out” often means engaging in random activities that leave you feeling tired but might not lead to the desired results.

And we know that the safest and most effective path to achieving a fundamental foundation of fitness is developing Optimal Relative Strength.

This means gauging how strong you are relative to your body size. While it’s evident that someone weighing 200 pounds will naturally be stronger than a 130-pound individual, they should both adhere to the same core principles. Here are a few of them:

1. Varying Rep Ranges: My training program follows detailed protocols that incorporate various rep ranges. We employ sets of 3-6 when aiming to build strength and sets of 8-12 when focusing on muscular endurance.

2. Controlling Effort: It’s essential to select weights that challenge you within the chosen rep range while ensuring you don’t push yourself to the extreme. Maintaining a perceived exertion level of 7-8 on a scale of 1-10 allows you to safely build strength, add muscle, and burn fat without risking pain or injury.

3. Utilizing Tempo: To become stronger and more resilient, we can’t merely add more weight indefinitely. There’s a point of diminishing returns. Hence, alongside sets, reps, and effort, we use tempo work to increase time under tension and expand our range of motion safely.

4. Checking Your Ego: The question often arises – “Do I really need to lift heavy weights to achieve my fitness goals?” The answer is yes, but the weight should be heavy relative to you, not to your workout partner who might outweigh you by 50 pounds and has more lifting experience. Avoid comparing yourself to others and understand that progress isn’t always linear. Factors like stress, sleep, diet, and recovery can cause good and bad days. Stay within that 7-8 exertion range, resisting the urge to push to a 10, and you’ll continue making progress.

So, as you can see, the distinction between “training” and “working out” is substantial. It’s all about approaching your fitness journey with a structured plan, a keen understanding of your body, and a focus on long-term results.