Are you Training or Not?

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I was watching the simulcast of Felger and Mazz when the Olympics were still on and they went through a pretty funny segment of determining if something was a sport or not.

One of the criteria was “its not a sport if alcohol is served while you play.” This eliminated bowling and golf. I think there was something like 5-7 categories. All that was really left was football, hockey, soccer, baseball, basketball, track, and horse racing (in terms of the horse).  Jockeys are out of luck, seated activities are not sports.

So lets have our hand at the fitness edition of training or not. We are going to define training as the proper strategy to reach a goal that you want to accomplish.

Training should be progressive which means that it gets harder over time improving some quality of fitness. This can be more weight, reps, distance, less time, or easier.

-If you spend most of your time lifting 3 lb weights you are not training

And the “isn’t it better than nothing argument” does not apply here. At least you are not being duped into a lie by sitting at home and not exercising.

People dont look like this with 3 lbs

People dont look like this with 3 lbs


Lifting weights that are really light are only effective for a short period of time. Once your body adapts to that stimulus you need to add loading to continue to improve. So 3 lbs might be effective for the first 10 seconds of your workout but not much more than that.

The fix: I don’t want to blindly ask everyone to start lifting the heaviest dumbbells in the gym but each workout should add weight, add reps, or be done in a shorter period of time.

-if there is no rhyme or reason to what you are doing, you are not training

There is a different between working out and training. Training has purpose and a plan to get someone towards a certain goal. Workouts can be hard, challenging, progressive, and satisfying. We need to train more than we work out.

The Fix: Follow an organized, planned program. Winging it is a sure fire way to stall progress and only do the things you want. A lot of athletes wonder why they do not get stronger going to the gym on their own. There is no plan or program so they just do the things they like and not the things they need.

The Exception: Beginners can workout for a long time before they need to start getting into a more organized training plan.

– If you have been doing the exact same thing for 1+ year you are not training

I used to be a member at WOW when I was younger. There were always the same people there, doing the same things, and sometimes in the same clothes. Hopefully they were clean.

These people were working out but they weren’t training. They were passed the point of adaptation and they were just maintaining their ability to do those rehearsed workouts.

The Fix: Programs need to progress over time. We need to add weight, volume, complexity, and sometimes variation as we train. Do not confuse this for changing everything up all of the time. There is a balance of making progress over time and just doing whatever the hell you want.

I enjoyed writing this. Leave a comment if you liked these “training or not” examples. Feel free to leave your own examples below too.