Train Appropriately

I am going to keep this brief.  This is a quote from a book called “Easy Strength” by Dan John and Pavel Tsatsouline.  The quote comes from a strength coach by the name of Brian Petty.  For me it was thought provoking, as this is something I tried to relay n my presentations to the Western Hockey League athletes, in a much nicer way.  But more than anything I wanted to see what others though of this view.

“The difference between exercising and training is having a point. Exercises done to waste energy burn calories or blow off steam, access mental and physical energy and tension. Training is done in order to improve something strength endurance neuromuscular control etc. exercise is a singular event with an immediate goal


The success of the training can only be judged by changes over time and performance. Exercise just doesn’t have a point beyond the immediate session if you leave the gym sweaty mess it was a good exercise session or workout. If you show up every day and breathe hard and get tired and sweaty you may consider yourself to be successful at exercise. By contrast training can only be judged as a success if it works – that is if after an appropriate amount of time you can clearly show improved capacity for physical work. You may show up every day and push and pull and grunt and sweat and even limp to your car – but be terribly unsuccessful at training, overtime if you are not getting any stronger faster leaner more agile better at your chosen sport etc.

Swinging a weight around with the express goal of becoming extremely fatigued is what I would do if I had a lobotomy.  With a full frontal lobotomy destroying my ability to plan over the long-term, I would believe that the goal of exercise was achieving a certain specific response – I would search for it the immediate effect of exercise. I would forget that as biological organisms we not only respond in the short term to a stimulus but also adapt in the long term to the sum total of stimuli we are presented with – so long as we are able to recover. The idea that anything that made me horrendously fatigued to the point of nausea vomiting dehydration hypothermia and even rhabdomyolosis would constitute as effective – or killer – workout would appeal to my zombielike short-term thinking mind. I would strive in my workerouts for failure or forcing my body to stop working. Fascinated by the immediate effects of exercise and unable to plan I work at top voluntary intensity every time I exercised always attempting to maximally disrupt my body functions. I would also be unable to follow a program so I would change exercises constantly attempting to confuse my body and prevented from getting used to my exercise sessions.  I would change aimlessly, regardless of whether the exercises were useful or dangerous, choosing them solely based on how bad they made me feel…

If you want pain, learn Muay Thai.  If you want to learn failure, play golf.  If you want to vomit, drink syrup of ipecac.  If you want to become stronger and more fit, train appropriately.”


Yours in Health and Performance

Jeff Osadec, MKin, CEP, CSCS

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