Exercising Or Training: WTF Are You Doin’?!?!

Are you exercising or training? Do you even know? Well, you better! I mean, if you're interested in results. But really, who's interested in that?!

All of us exercise in one shape or another. Not many of us actually train.

Anybody care to take a stab at what I mean?

Are those crickets chirping?

…all these years later, memories of sitting in the corner with a dunce cap on still haunt your days and nights, huh?

Alright. Cool. No problemo.

I. We’re NOT Equals

There’s a difference between exercising and training. The two terms are often used in place of one another but they are not the same thing. They’re NOT interchangeable. Your success depends on your understanding of this.

Ya see, learning the distinction between the two will go a long way to not only figuring out what to do if you’re just beginning your fitness journey, but the ability to tell the two apart will also help to find out what camp you’re in and better grasp why you’re not getting results from whatever the fuck you’re currently doing.

CAUTION: Deciding to read on may very well lead to you becoming a traitorous traitor and defecting to the winning side.

II. I Gave You Fair Warning

Based on the definitions provided by Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength and world renowned hater of all things Crossfit — bless that man — exercise is

physical activity performed for the effect it produces today — right now. Each workout is performed for the purpose of producing a stress that satisfies the immediate needs of the exerciser: burning some calories, getting hot, sweaty, and out of breath, pumping up the biceps, stretching — just punching the physical clock. Exercise is physical activity done for its own sake, either during the workout or immediately after it’s through.

Conversely, training is

physical activity performed for the purpose of satisfying a long-term performance goal, and is therefore about the process instead of the workouts themselves. And since the process must generate a definable result at a point in time removed from each workout, the process must be planned to produce this result.


Exercisers pop in Tony Horton’s P90X, Shaun T’s Insanity, or the latest celebrity fitness DVD by so-and-so. They go to the gym and either do excessive cardio, perform a series of arbitrary movements with free weights and machines, or both. And then you have the rare bird who does all three — what is commonly referred to as “the trifecta of WTF”.

Why do they do what they do?

Beats me.

The reason beats them too.

They do what they do all for no clear, thought out reason beyond the vague desire to lose weight, “tone up” (what the fuck that means, I don’t have a bloody idea), feel crippling soreness the day after, whatever.

These are the people who remain the same day after day, week after week, month after month, godawful Michael Bay film after godawful Michael Bay film; from decade to decade, century to century, millennia to millennia. Beyond their newbie gains, they never make improvements, visually and in terms of strength, despite their being physically active (and if they do, it’s very marginal).

IV. Few People TRAIN

The rare breed not only says that they want to lose weight, improve a lagging body part, break a strength plateau, become muscular, blah, but they also map out HOW they’re going to reach that goal.

And this plan consists of progressive overload, or changing the amount of stress (weight, sets, reps, tempo, time under tension, rest periods) placed on the body for the purpose of having it respond by making the wanted adaptations in strength, muscle size, body composition.

These people tend to do the same bor-r-ring exercises each and every workout, with stress being the only variant.

V. Nope, Not Us

Trainees don’t program hop or routinely change the movements they’re doing from session to session in pursuit of that “muscle confusion” that people hocking P90X, Insanity, or the latest fitness trend (Crossfit, I’m looking at you!) have drilled into your head as being the all-out most importantest thing in God’s green creation and why you should spend your hard-earned dollars on their high-priced, fancy pants program.

Of those people who TRAIN, why don’t they pursue “muscle confusion”?

Because the body cannot produce an adaptation if the physical stress introduced to it is constantly and randomly being altered.

Said in a slightly less technical way, you can’t become better at somethin’ if you hardly does it, yo!


It’s as simple as that why the concept of endless variety is laughable.

You need repetition and practice…unless you’re Allen Iverson.

VI. Yup, That’s Us

Second, these people who train do what they do — you know, that bor-r-ring shit like implementing old as dirt methods and giving a fuck about using proper technique when performing a movement (Crossfit, I’m still looking at you, darling!) — because what they do that’s free of all the bullshit bells and whistles is time-tested and proven effective. They understand that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel twice.

VII. Pshaw! Fuck That Shit

People who train don’t do Kipping pull-ups, deadlifts, clean and jerks or other Olympic lifts for AMRAP (as many reps as possible during a set given amount of time). While using your hips to generate the momentum necessary to propel you up and over the bar a bazillion times may give a good boost to the ole ego because very few of us pussies can even do more than 20 pull-ups in a row from a dead-hang, Kipping will do nothing to better the body.

People who train don’t stand one-legged on a Bosu ball situated over a bed of spikes while curling 5 lbs pink dumbbells and limboing under a bar of fire as “Who Let the Dogs Out” blasts through the gym’s sound system. While doing that may be entertaining, it will do nothing to better the body — fuck what your idiot, big-box gym’s personal trainer says.

VIII. Do Whatever The Hell You Wanna

Exercise might float your boat, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But don’t be an exerciser and then wonder why you’re not making the progress of a trainee.

Have no idea how to train? It’s just your luck that I wrote Take Your Ass To The M*fkn Gym (And What To Do When You Get There), a FREE ebook chock full of goodness that’ll help you do exactly that! All you have to do is subscribe to my mailing list to get your grubby little hands on it.

Which are you, exerciser or trainee? Any plans to change from one to the other? Why or why not? Any opinions, questions, concerns or you just wanna call me a doody head? Speak your mind.
…Oh, you really do have something to say?!?! I was just being polite. Well, go ahead…let it out…if you must!

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