This article by Gene Nacey appeared in the Community Voices section of the Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh, PA. Reprinted with permission.
The difference between exercise and training has been discussed and written about many times. That doesn’t mean, however, the topic should be put on the shelf. This distinction, while seemingly small to some, can ultimately change a person’s life, and yet it starts with something as simple as a thought.
In as few words as possible, the difference between Exercise and Training is:
Knowledge Structure Intention
Knowledge and structure can be confusing for sure in today’s environment of information overload. Methods, systems, and out-and-out fads are available today in thousands of smartphone apps, smart equipment with computer consoles at health clubs, and anything with a connection to the Internet.
In addition, we also have lots of smart human beings who work in the fitness industry as coaches, personal trainers, and instructors of specific disciplines. The amount of knowledge and the know-how to structure a true training program can be tricky. It will generally require a little research and evaluation to select the person or program that best works for you. The Cycling Fusion’s Winter Training program is just one of many potential examples.
However, this is actually not the first step. The first step is the last key word listed above: Intention.
I’m not just talking about selecting a race or charity ride, or some other activity-related goal. What I’m referring to is what is behind your desire to do this or any event—why make the big move to training.
To move from unfocused exercise to real training in a fashion that will modify your lifestyle for the better, you need to establish something that has personal meaning and direction. Hopefully this is more than just taking the first step to transforming your workouts to the next level, but if the intention is deeper, it can be the first step in a lifelong journey. I’m talking about looking at a simple goal that is compelling you to train and teasing out what is really behind your personal desire, or perhaps your emotional connection to that reason to train. If you can embrace the deeper things that motivate you, you can harness even greater resolve and resources to see it through.
In a sense, what appears to be a simple move from exercise to training could well become the first outward sign, with clear and tangible actions, that starts you on a pursuit of a better you. Perhaps the best version of yourself; one that is not afraid to do some introspection, challenge yourself, and be determined to be a student for life. Knowledge and Structure will be the outward and obvious attributes of your move to Training from Exercise, but Intention will be the unseen hero that changes your life.