You wake up every morning chasing the morning Sun, pack on your favourite gym dress and head to the gym; you sweat it out, drink your protein shake and head back home; and you repeat this day in and out. And this is the kind of schedule millions of people have very morning across the globe and it is a wonderful thing to do if you stick with it. So how would you define this morning session of yours- is it a workout or are you in training– two similar sounding words but not synonyms in the true sense. If the session in the morning was a planned part of a larger program designed to improve your performance consistently it was “Training”. If on the other hand you just followed the same thing that you have been doing since forever or you keep changing your program, every time you get inspired by a new social media influencer, you are just working out.
Now you may wonder what the fuss is all about. After all you are sweating; you are getting a good pump- it’s all that matters. Well Yes and No. If movement and cardiovascular stimulation is the goal you are doing perfectly fine. I have said it forever that movement is the key and any form of exercise is going to help. In that case you can whimsically change your program every month, every week or every day! You will still get the benefits of working out. However if you have a fitness goal which you want to achieve or you are an athlete with a particular requirement, you cannot simply just workout- you need to be “training”. The fundamental difference in the two is that the latter works on the principle of what we refer to in fitness sciences as periodization. This basically means breaking down your fitness goal into small well defined cycles, with clear intent and planning.
Training is not supposed to make you only exhausted and sweat! Of course you will sweat, you will get tired and exhausted- but you should be getting better with every session; you should be improving in every session and every session should be taking you closer to your goal.
Let us take a very common example- a lot of people want to lose fat and build muscle-at the same time. Now we have to understand that the two are opposing goals. Fat loss is a catabolic process and muscle building is an anabolic one. Achieving both at the same time is not possible. What one may realistically hope to achieve is minimize muscle loss while losing fat. So in this case the first phase of training would be planning a program primarily for losing fat and the same program would have space for a muscle building plan at the end of a specific time frame. When done methodically you will end up with lean muscle growth, low fat percentage and overall improvement in health parameters. If done without planning you would most likely end up “skinny fat”- losing fat and muscle at the same time- and ending up skinny but with a lopsided body composition- low muscle and high fat percentage! Not ideal at all, is it?
This process is very important to comprehend especially for young athletes who are looking to build a career in sports. Strength and conditioning work is crucial part of any sports training. Many young kids join a gym to do their conditioning work as we do not have good training facilities in the stadiums here. A careful selection of training center and trainer is crucial and may have a greater impact on an athlete’s development than most people consider. While skill training is important, conditioning work is the backbone of skill training. A well conditioned athlete will be stronger, faster with agility and greater proprioception; they will also have lesser chances of injury with strong and flexible joints with good mobility.
Next time you strap on your gym shoes- just pause for a moment and think- are you in training or merely sweating? A simple understanding of this will make all the difference.
The Writer Angshuman Dutta, is the CEO and Founder of Transformers Fitness Academy. You can follow him on http://www.instagram.com/angshuman.fitness
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