You should be training, not just exercising. Goals are the difference between “training,” and simply “exercising.” This may just seem like a semantic difference, but there is an important distinction between the two and by the end of this article you will have a better understanding. A “training” mindset makes it easier to push through tough workouts, it makes cancelling sessions much harder to do, and it makes decisions outside of the gym easier. Hopefully if you have previously been “exercising,” this article will convince you why you should set some goals and begin “training.”
First, let’s talk about “exercising”. If you are just “exercising,” you do not really have a quantifiable goal or purpose in mind when you are pushing the sled or pressing the barbell. They are just things you do to get hot, sweaty, tired, sore, and out of breath. In other words, you are just exercising for the sake of exercise. It might be something that just makes you feel good about yourself. When you cancel a session or miss a week of workouts, it is no big deal to you since you do not have a goal in mind. When the workout gets tough, you might complain, only give half of your effort, or even give up. There is nothing wrong with just exercising to exercise, but let’s talk about the importance of “training.”
When you are “training,” you have a specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goal (SMART goal) in mind the second you set foot in the gym. You know where you are right now, you know where you want to be, and you know that you will get there through hard work and dedication. You do each workout with 100% effort and you do not quit no matter what because you know that what you are doing is going to lead to you achieving your goals. Your workouts are near the top of your priority list and missing a workout is almost not even an option for you because you know that deviating from the plan will hinder your progress. You know that you must eat correctly, limit your alcohol intake, get enough sleep, and otherwise make good decisions outside of the gym if you want to reach your goals.
Understanding the principles of “training” instead of “exercising” is important to achieve a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis. “Training” with goals not only keeps you focused and motivated towards your lifts in the gym but with your body awareness outside of the gym. In the blog next week, we will get more in depth on how specific goals and training used in the SMART principle can be a helpful way to Become Better.