With all the new technology to help you track your daily activity, you might find that you’re walking further than you thought in a day or burning more calories in that yoga class then you had anticipated. Or, you might find that you are doing less than you expected. But whether you’re using the Apple watch or latest Fitbit, the important question to ask is are you exercising or training?
Using a tool to stay motivated or to reach a goal of 10,000 steps a day is great and I strongly encourage the use of any device that gets you more in tune with your fitness levels. You can also stop by the gym after work and use the elliptical for twenty minutes or clean your house to some loud dance music. All of these activities add up to bonus points when you’re trying to stay active.
Training is the next level of exercise. Instead of burning one or two hundred calories at a time, the focus is on building specific muscles and strength. In turn, you will burn calories long after the activity has stopped. The intensity of training means that you’re pushing your body further, and building a foundation by which to grow. And contrary to popular belief, training won’t instantaneously turn you into the Hulk (unless that’s the look you’re going for)!
I have a client that started training with the goal of completing a marathon. She was already running 25 miles a week when I met her but wanted to run faster and train hard to ensure success. The first thing we did was start a training program that did not include more running (or “exercise”). She met the goal of completing her marathon just a few months later but stayed on as a client. The reason? She couldn’t believe the changes she saw in the mirror as well as the strength she had gained. Being fit was always a goal but now, muscles and definition were showing up in places she hadn’t expected and her running had improved as a result, even more than she hoped. Her words to me were, “I just wanted to finish the marathon, I didn’t think working with you would actually change my body this much! I love it!”
So before you stop by the gym, take a moment refocus on your goals. Exercise will help you burn a few extra calories and I strongly recommend my clients stay active. But if your goal includes reshaping your body, getting stronger and leaner and changing the way your body uses the fuel you give it, then consider training – dedicated and focused movements for your body that will challenge your muscles and grow your strength.