Why you should be training & not exercising

Great power is held within and transmitted by words. We all know this in the way we choose one word over another, depending on the intensity of emotion we wish to convey. An important distinction is made when we use ‘like’ rather than ‘love’, or ‘dislike’ instead of ‘hate’.

Of course, the power of words goes beyond pure emotion; selecting one word over another also reveals much about our mindset. In thinking on this, I was reminded of the following:

lately i’ve been replacing my ‘i’m sorrys’ with ‘thank yous’. like instead of ‘sorry i’m late’, i’ll say ‘thanks for waiting for me’, or instead of ‘sorry for being such a mess’, i’ll say ‘thank you for loving me and caring about me unconditionally’. and it’s not only shifted the way i think and feel about myself, but also improved my relationships with others, who now get to receive my gratitude instead of my negativity.

I think this is a rather beautiful concept. That in substituting ‘sorry’ with ‘thank you’, we shift from an inwardly focused negative, to an outwardly focused positive. Such a simple, yet incredibly effective way to change the entire energy of our response.

training, deadlift, exercising, lifting, fitness, health, wellness, training mindset

Photo by Aperture in Action – Photography by Sheridan Hetherington


I had another one of these little reminders when the tagline for a recent Nike campaign landed in my inbox – ‘Stop Exercising. Start Training.’ Reading this I thought, ‘YESSSSS, this is PERFECT!’ I know some people still take the whole ‘no pain, no gain’ approach to fitness, but I think that’s kind of an outdated attitude. I love working hard, but I honestly believe that moving your body should be fundamentally enjoyable.

Exercise feels externally driven –something happening to my body from the outside in.

To me ‘exercise’, sounds like a chore – something that HAS to be done and got out of the way … with fun not necessarily included. I’ve been there many times before. And so it’s no wonder the things I used to do, are just that – things I USED to do and not what I CURRENTLY do.

Training feels internally driven – something I’ve decided to do for my own betterment and enjoyment.

When I talk about training, everything changes. Training instead of exercising creates a mindset shift which translates into the way I approach every session. Sure, I might still sweat bucketloads and aim to do better than my best … but training is all about working to improve myself. In many ways it’s a ‘work in’ rather than a ‘work out’. The mind leads and all else follows.

I train to be better than I was yesterday.

To maybe be stronger, more skilled, or just one step ahead of where I was. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that training will always give linear results. In fact, every day can feel like a clean slate, a chance to try again – I’ve never trained on this particular day, never been in this particular moment, or faced the exact same circumstance I’m about to.

And it’s in this way that anything becomes tantalisingly possible.