Training vs Exercise: What's the difference?

February 9, 2022

Let's talk about exercising & training. “But Chris aren’t they both the same thing?” I can hear you say… When it comes down to it, no they’re quite different.

But before I go any further, let me clarify that both are great! Doing something or anything over nothing is always great!

Inherently exercising and training are both quite different. I’ll start with exercise. Exercise is basically doing anything that gets your body moving and heart rate up. This could be anything. Walking, jogging, doing star jumps in the living room or something like Jazzercise. 

Exercise is doing physical activity that gets your heart rate up, moves your muscles but there is no real set structure or intended goal of the activity. Apart from A. getting the heart rate up, B. moving around and C. it can be fun! 

Training on the other hand is structured and follows a specific process of loading, deloading and improvement to work towards a specific goal. That goal could be increased strength, improved aerobic/anaerobic fitness, larger muscles, mobility, reduced body fat, sports performance etc. 

Training requires a goal, planning, knowledge, structure and a baseline. More often than not depending on the goal it requires some equipment too. A well planned training program will include progressive overload, or waived volume and intensity and will have a set start and end date. And if done correctly, it will have measurable results between the start and end of the program.

The reason why I wanted to make this distinction between training and exercise is because they’re two very different things. And there are a lot of people out there who are exercising but are expecting a result that comes from training. 

If you’re doing random workouts at home or in a gym with no real set structure or program, then you’re exercising more than training.

Again I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with exercising and it’s a fantastic way to help stay healthy. But if you want a specific result or have performance goals then exercising only is not the right way to get you there. 

Both are great for you and your health, but we need to remember to use the right tool for the job and not try hammering in a nail with a screwdriver.

How can I build the right training program for me?

Training programs are targeted to specific goals, so the first thing you need to do is to identify your main goal. Are you looking to lose fat, gain muscle, become more mobile or improve your cardiac performance? You can buy off the shelf training programs or use training apps, they usually describe the expected output so you can get the one that fits your needs. 

Another option is to work with a professional personal trainer or an online coach. This option will give the most customized program for your goal and current level. If you are interested in this type of service, you can book a call with me to discuss your options. I am based in Brisbane and I work 1:1 and with online clients across Australia and New Zealand. The first call is free and its main goal is to identify if we’re a good fit: