Recently a client asked me during her workout, "So Aaron, what are you training for?" It came as a bit of a surprise, and it made me think. Am I training, or am I just exercising? Because I think there can be a difference between the two. You can exercise regularly without training for any particular event or goal. If you are training, exercise is sure to be a component. Exercise for most people becomes an ongoing form of training. Once you reach a certain goal that you initially started training for, like reaching a certain clothing size or getting below a certain level of body fat, exercise will obviously be a regular part of life if you want to maintain your achievement. And there's those of us who exercise because we love it.
Fortunately for me, exercise has become a regular component of my life. If I go too long without it I feel cranky, irritable, stressed out, and languid. I've got a great deal of discipline when it comes to sticking to a regular exercise program.
I can only recall about three times in my life when I truly trained for a particular event or occasion. The first was when I was just starting to get interested in fitness, mainly working out. I needed to get stronger so I wouldn't be the weakest kid in gym class. That, plus not wanting to be the skinniest kid is what got me hooked on exercise.
During my senior year of high school I started training seriously for Marine Corps boot camp, running every other day, alternating between three mile runs(a component of the Marine's PFT) and six miles (one better than the infamous 5 mile Battalion run) in addition to some serious strength training. The most recent was way back in 2005. A San Marcos personal training client asked me if I would do the Camp Pendleton Mud Run with him. I agreed to it, and added running back into my workout program.
So, to answer my client's question, I had to consider what current goals I have. I'm big on using periodization in my own workouts, and my client's workouts when it is possible. For me, currently I have certain exercise goals, and once they have been reached, it will be time to reprogram my workouts, and set new goals. It's how I keep my workouts fresh, make exercise fun, and how I stay motivated to workout and push myself.
What about you, are you training for a particular goal, event or occasion, or do you exercise as a part of life? Comments are always welcomed.