Training vs Exercise: Why do you train?

Is your training serving your life, or is your life serving your training- Mike Bledsoe, Barbell Shrugged CEO


Do you know what exercise is?

Do you know what training is?

Are they synonymous?

A while back I listened to a podcast on Barbell Shrugged about that difference; and a paper written by Dr. Phil Maffetone of how intense continuous exercise/training can be damaging to the body in the long run, which can be problematic to health and longevity. And this podcast about finding the transition point. A few thoughts came to mind as I connected the pieces.

How much exercise is too much?

How far should we push past limits of physical exhaustion?

Does my training goals now of competing in said sport/competition put my body at risk of developing physical, psychological, and emotional issues down the road?

Now don’t get me wrong, exercise and/or training can be a healthy part of anyone’s lifestyle. I am not condemning sport practices, runs, weight lifting sessions, or anything of the like. For many of us, I include myself, it is a part of our fabric; part of how we identify ourselves. Speaking completely for myself I think I would fall into some kind of depressive state if I couldn’t do some form of exercise; maybe you think that’s kinda pathetic…oh well, I don’t care much of that opinion, as I help hundreds of people everyday, every week, and every year take a few more steps to achieving a healthier lifestyle via choosing better foods, and facilitating exercise/training.


In a basic nutshell…training, from what I can piece together, is day in and day out exercise routines/practices to reach a specified goal of competing continuously in a “sport”. Whereas exercise can be seen as a means to increase physical strength, cardiac function, cognitive function, mobility/flexibility, and overall decrease chronic disease risk factors, without the goal of competing. (Arguments could be made of the “weekend warrior”)

THE FOCUS: When we choose to chase those competitive goals, we can often fall into a regime of daily practices/training; waking up early for runs, getting in a second practice, running another sprint(or two); pushing our own physical and mental abilities past the point of pain, and tiredness…and right into injury!  It doesn’t have to be a pull muscle, tare, or broken bone; but a slow grinding away of our physical exoskeleton, that will affect us later in life as we can no longer run fast, jump high, or punch hard; but maybe not even walk, sit, or eat food without a “Purpose of refueling/GAINZ” (Look at retired NFL linemen as one extreme, or ex. Boxers/Fighters who show signs of cognitive decline earlier in life)

THE POINT: Our bodies can only take soo much punishment before we “breakdown”, or lose that “step”. Furthermore, as was mentioned in this podcast, that training lifestyle can take you away from the people that care about you, the ones that want you to succeed not only in your physical ventures, but emotional as well. Training vs. spending time with friends, family, and significant others is important, and can be seen as LIFE TRAINING.

THE WRAP UP: Take some time to really assess your training, who are you ignoring with that twice a day workout, what could this high intensity workout be doing to me physically LONGTERM, what balance can I find between training and my life (although training could be your “life”, unless that training stops…)

WHAT I IGNORED: This blog post is meant to give you an opportunity of insight to assess what you are chasing…training or exercise, and whether, quite frankly, is the former worth it. Recovery can circumvent many physical issues and damages…but even professional sports athletes carry with them many injuries of body and/or the mind, that medicine and proper dieting could only help so much.


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