The Difference Between Working Out and Training

Ask any rich man how he made them millions. The politically correct and most frequently used answer is: “Hard work.”

Cool, but this is not a morning show….

Hard work by itself means nothing and will not produce wealth unless it’s put in the right context. People forced to endure endless shifts in factories are without a doubt working hard. Where’s their money? Well, you can ask the same rich man.


Unless you are in a position where your “hard work” can be appreciated, it will not make you richer. This is a very sad fact of life which illustrates how unfair and evil the system is.

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The same principle of effort appreciation can be found in lifting, believe it or not. Its presence becomes obvious when you realize the difference between working out and training. Exercising, chasing the burn, mixing it, getting extreme….etc. will without a doubt tire you, but does this mean that you are actually progressing? Is your hard work leading you where you want to go?

Just going through the motions until you are fatigued will not be as beneficial as having systematic approach meant to produce the results that you are after for the long run. That’s what training is. Through specific effort and skill development, you try to reach measurable progress. You are no longer spending your energy just for the sake of it. You are walking in a direction that you have chosen. That’s when the mechanism starts working in your favor.

The term dead-end job contains a lot of wisdom. Being in a position where you know that nothing will change despite how hard you try, is not exactly enjoyable. I’ve done my fair share of dead-end jobs and ironically continue to do so. One the first things you learn when you have accumulated decent experience at a similar positions is that progress stops soon. What is the difference in terms of skills you have today compared to last year? Usually, the only difference is that there is more work. That’s one of the very few variables that actually change when you are stuck in a dead-end job.

A dead-end job is essentially bench pressing the same weight every workout for years. The weight does not change. Consequently, your strength stagnates too. The only  diversity is found in things that do not equal progression –  you have a new T-Shirt, barbell, cell phone, bubble gum…whatever. Nevertheless, the motor that drives progress is still the same one. Obviously, we don’t live in a world where training is the norm. We live in a world where people consider the new T-shirt and the new flavor bubble gum progress, not the added weight to the barbell.

This is where training comes in. The most essential thing about training is setting goals. That’s what makes training different from exercising. You have a specific goal and you are looking for ways to reach it. That’s what gets you out of the dead-end job, at least when it comes to this lifting game. You are no longer working out because you saw a training scene in a movie. You do it because you want to be able to acquire a skill, and you are trying to get there. Easier said than done, I know.

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