What is training?

A while ago I received a message from a friend. I was at the gym at the time, so my friend told me that he was gonna go for a bike tour and then asked an interesting question that went “Does that count as training in your eyes?”. I answered him by asking a question in return “If you go to the gym and lift a dumbbell, is that training?”. His answer was spot on; “No, that depends what you do with the dumbbell”. Because your body doesn’t care if you are on a bike or if you lift a dumbbell. Your body cares about effort, load and intensity. Do bike or to lift a dumbbell can be training, but not automatically. It’s not what tools you use that makes it training, it what you do with the tools that counts.

The reason I find this interesting is because I experience that a lot of people lower their level for what is training more and more. When they talk about training they can refer to talking walks, work in the garden or vacuuming the house. That is not training, that is every day activity. Don’t get me wrong, it’s also physical activity that we need every day. All these activities means movement and that I encourage everyone to do more of every damn day, but that doesn’t mean it’s training. Training means that you challenge your body over the normal every day activity by doing something more strenuous to increase or keep your physical capacity which makes you more prepared for life.

So why do I consider it important to separate training and everyday activity? Because the lower your level of training is, the lower your physical capacity will become. If you consider walking as training, the physical capacity that it takes to run will be more distant. If it’s training to plant something in the garden or vacuum the house it will be tough for you when you are exposed for something that demands a higher physical capacity than that. So go ahead by all means to be physically active every day, your body feels good about it, but remember to every once in a while challenge yourself over whats normal for you.

On the other side of the spectra there is those who raises their level of what training is and have the view that it’s not training as long as they are not close to maximal hear rate, is soak wet of sweat and have muscle soreness at least for a week afterwards. All training doesn’t have to be high intensity, you can do a great training session without barely breaking a sweat and you will get result even if you didn’t get sore muscles. Continue to train hard, but remember that easy session also can be training.

So to sum this up in a smooth way; we need daily movement and physical activity, we need to work with our muscles regularly and we need to get our heart rate up a few times a week. Keep your tough sessions tough and your easy sessions easy, avoid to only be in the in-between. Find a balance in your training that includes strength, cardio and mobility as well as rest and recovery. How your balance looks like and where your limit for what is training is drawn is up to you, so remember to consider yourself, your purpose and your capacity and condition.

Finally, you are awesome. Remember that!

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