I have come to the realization today that I am not training but exercising and so are most of you if we’re going to be brutally honest. This is not to say that your exercise program or mine isn’t intense, varied, or awesome. But unless you’re a professional athlete, amateur with hopes of going pro, or involved in some kind of recreational/institutional/educational sport program then you’re not training, you’re exercising. I can already feel people getting pissed off about this. Get pissed all you like it’s not going to make anything less true. Somehow “exercising” has gotten a bad connotation in our country as if it’s somehow lesser than training. We try to make working out something more meaningful than just the act of exercising to promote good health, strength, and overall fitness. Everyone has to be an athlete now and be involved in a training program. Everyone wants to be a hero and we look for them everywhere, even the gym, even the mirror.
There’s nothing wrong with simply exercising. You need to accept this now and embrace reality. All those coaches and trainers in boxes and gyms across the country telling their customers that “We don’t work-out here; we train” are frauds. More importantly they’re salesman trying to sell a mystique; an opportunity to belong with the elite. Seriously military recruiters could learn a thing or two from most box owners and coaches I’ve met. When someone tells me they don’t workout they train I like to ask them; “okay what are you training for?” I never get straight answers. What I usually get is a blank look or a canned verbatim answer straight from CF’s training manual. Most customers in a typical box and gym are never going to compete in a competition let alone a triathlon, the Olympics, body-building, professional sports or even amateur ones for that matter. Sure we all like to think we could and one day will, but we won’t and that’s perfectly okay. As far as CrossFit goes the odds of anyone making it to the Games grow smaller every year as the number of entrants climb and the skill, strength, and ability needed to compete multiplies exponentially. Think about it; serious contenders from just 3 years ago were left in the dust at this year’s Games and training for an appearance at CrossFit’s super bowl has become a full-time endeavor for those who are serious about it.
I realize in the whole scheme of things that this distinction between Training and exercising is really nothing. I’m not trying to belittle anyone out there sweating their ass off to get better. But I am trying to get you to think for a second; about the line of shit you keep getting fed and about your own worth as a person. After awhile though you get tired of hearing bored housewives and busy office workers whose only real concern is dropping a few pounds or rediscovering the body of their 20’s telling you and others that they are training. Sorry my friends you are by the very definition of what you’re doing; just working out. In fact CrossFit is at its very simplest and own self described criteria no more than a workout system brand. The Games are simply a competition to see who can work-out the hardest, longest, and fastest. If you’re a fireman, cop, or soldier, yes your workout program helps prepare you for the challenges of your job and I’d even go as far as to say in some ways it’s a form of training but for the other 80% we’re just working out. My favorites though are those who say they’re training for the zombie apocalypse or even better “I’m training for life.” That’s one rough ass life my friend. Seriously though; I do understand the sentiment. What they mean to say is I work out and exercise so I can be the best version of myself possible and live a healthy life. If anything they’re trying to make a distinction between training for some kind of sport versus just working out for good health and I applaud the “life-trainers” for that.
I’ve realized that I just exercise. I exercise often and in various ways. Sometimes I lift weights. Other times I do gymnastics movements. Still other times I like endurance workouts and when I’m feeling really froggy I’ll combine the three in some way or another. I’m not training though. One day I hope to make a run at the CF Regionals and I like to think here in another few years I’ll be a force to reckon with in the Master’s Division but for now I’m going to be honest with myself about my fitness routine. I’m just a guy trying to keep his body fat down, his testosterone and strength up, and maintain the stamina I’ve enjoyed in life so far. There’s no need to make myself into some kind of urban warrior or gym hero. There’s no need to justify my fitness dedication under some kind of umbrella of training for something as if this excuses and legitimizes all the time I spend with a barbell sweating. Who cares if people don’t get it, I don’t care if people think I’m obsessed neither should you. And as for training for life if you’re my age and haven’t prepared for it by now; now amount of training is going to make a difference my friend. SO just go exercise instead and be the best version of you possible for yourself. That’s really the best reason to workout I could ever think of.