Settling the debate: Training Vs Exercise

Let’s go by the book and look at these two terms - Training and exercise - in isolation.

What is exercise?

Exercise is a physical engagement of your body that increases your heart rate, causes you to sweat and makes you breathe more heavily. It is driven by a short term goal and immediate requirements like fat loss, weight reduction or muscle gain. It is an enjoyable thing to do and becomes a part of your daily routine. It can be as simple as swimming, dancing, cycling or even playing sports. 


What is training?

Training is a well planned and process oriented regime of physical activity that is driven towards a specific intention or a long term goal. It is more structured and prepares you for a bigger task ahead. It measures the performance and tracks the fitness progress aligned to a specific purpose like marathon or trekking against a particular time frame. 

That being said, let us now reflect upon training and exercise in unity.

Exercise is more of a physical activity whereas training is targeted towards specific muscles and body parts to strengthen them to be used during a particular activity or sports.. The selection of movements is more narrow to get you the maximum return on your time invested.  Note than training is not only done for sports, but it is also done for jobs like firefighting, military personnels, refinery employees and many more. The ultimate goal of training is to make an individual better at a specific activity, however the ultimate goal of exercise is to improve overall health.

training vs exercise

Workouts like P90X and CrossFit that focus on involving many body parts at once and utilizing the maximum amount of muscles, can also be termed as exercise. Any fitness program comes with a set of definite limits of physical stress to be endured by the body. With regularity in these programs the body adapts itself to these limits. Here is when you make up your mind whether to push these limits or stay consistent at it. Given that the main motive of exercise is to burn calories, get the heart rate up, and make you sweaty and tired. 

In the case of people who outgrow exercise, training seems to be the logical next step. People who consistently exercise outgrow its effect on their body. In such cases, training is what can make the workout routine for challenging. This way the body can utilise these new goals to defeat the previous benchmarks. It may be safe to assume that once your body has exhausted the benefits of exercise, you can look at training to take your fitness regime to the next level. The specific goal here then becomes staying fit and healthy

Training and exercise need not be compared, but there needs to be a priority. If you want to get better at something, you need to treat it as practice–that’s training. You need to focus and concentrate and have persistence and patience. You need to take advantage of rest and you need–more than anything–to employ progressive overload while simultaneously assessing the weakness. Redundancy should not be entertained. You need to challenge the demands so that the body gets a target to constantly adapt to something new. For example, you need to lift heavier, do more sets, stretch more often, and get used to being upside down. Mixing and matching exercises into a circuit isn’t training. That’s working out.

The simplest way to put it is this: Training is an activity used to prepare for something. Exercise is done for its own benefits. Having said that, the benefits of training and exercising definitely overlap into each other’s territory.

Know the difference. Take your pick, and decide what you want to derive from your work out sessions. 

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