I've never admired laziness. It was a value that my father pounded into my existence at a very young age. Good enough is not good enough. If you are going to do something do it right and if you make a commitment then honor that commitment to the best of your ability.
In our world today we all tend to get caught up in the hype, the minutia, and the mastery of minimalism. To succeed at something we not only have to be determined we have to be specific. Specific about what we want and what our goals are. As in training as it is in life 90% of accomplishment in mental.... and the other 10% is well.... mental.
Exercise vs Training
When I look at most of my clients' previous fitness programs before they begin training with me they have usually done quite a bit of exercising. There is no doubt about that. However, the problem with "exercising" is there is typically no specific result attached to it. It's the kind of thing that has no real direction or purpose.
The types of things that fall into the exercising category are "I am going for a run", "I am going to do some weights", "I am going to do some cardio". What the heck does that even mean anyway? Sounds like a pretty aimless use of time if you ask me.
Now things like I am going to work on my squats and kettlebell swings, I am going to do some heart rate intervals on the stairs, I am going to take a Vinyasa yoga class to work on my flexibility, this is much more specific and falls into what I would term the "training" category. There is inherently a goal with training where with exercising there is just a half hearted attempt at getting better.
Weight Loss vs Fat Loss
You will hear endless reports about the obesity epidemic and how our country is suffering from being excessively overweight. While this is true it wasn't until I heard the term over FAT that things really started to click. You see the majority of people who start a workout program do so to lose "weight" but this is ultimately a faulty approach. Losing weight doesn't produce any effective metabolic change within the body.
Typically when you just lose overall weight you are sacrificing muscle as well, and who knows if you are losing targeted body fat. Weight loss without the preservation of muscle mass will not have a long term positive effect on metabolic function.
In a FAT LOSS program however you are using exercise and diet to reconfigure metabolic makeup. You are retraining the body to burn more calories throughout the day, prefer body fat for fuel at rest, and maintain lean muscle tissue. Fixing the over fat problem vs the overweight problem gives you a much better chance at sustaining long term results rather than succumbing to the dreaded yo yo effect.
Workouts vs Programs
This is no doubt this is the final piece of the puzzle. While it is exciting to have a workout with structure and purpose and dare I say it... a strategy... you still need to think about the bigger picture to reach an inevitable goal. The workout serves as 1 aspect to the greater good. The greater good being THE PROGRAM
I fondly remember listening to a lecture by a well known collegiate strength and conditioning coach and he said that from the minute his athletes step in the gym everything they do is geared towards improving some specific aspect of what they do on the field.
This is how you should look at your training. If the program calls for building lower body strength & power then the workouts should be designed to produce that effect and the results should be measurable. Everything should have a purpose and lead you in a specific direction, then at certain intervals the program changes and a new goal is set.
The overall theme of this article is that structure and focus are king. Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance. I believe that most people ultimately quit working out for the simple reason that they don't have focus, direction, and a specific goal to work toward. Once things are clearly identified and you know where you are going that sense of purpose becomes a great motivator. As the great Dan John would say "the goal is to keep the goal the goal". Good Luck!