Do You Even Lift: Workouts Are Not Training
Stephanie loved to workout, in fact you could say she was a bit obsessed with the gym. Every day she could be seen coming to the gym like clockwork at the wee early morning hours to hoist some weights around and then power through some cardio. Sometimes she even came back in the evening if she didn’t feel like she worked hard enough. Although that wasn’t her real problem…
Steph really wanted to do a figure show in the summer and she was dead set on looking fabulous before she turned forty. She was already in great shape but she knew she had a long way to go in order to compete. She thought out might be best to ask Steve, one of the best trainers she knew about what she needed to do to get too the next level with her training. Steve was popular with the ladies, especially the physique competitors and so she thought she might be able to glean some useful information from him.
Steve was hanging out at the front counter one day and Steph stopped by to see if she could get an assessment done with him.
“Hey Steve. How you doing?” Stephanie asked.
“Good, Steph. How’s training coming?” Steve asked nonchalantly.
“Alright I guess. I’m a little stuck right now and I want to do a physique show in summer, but I’m not sure how to go about it,” Steph said.
“Sure, you have your program all mapped out?” Steve said. “I can take a look.”
“Well I don’t really have a program.” “I just do whatever I find on the internet the night before and knock it out the next day,” Steph said.
“Oh, I see,” Kevin said. “You don’t have a body part split or written program?”
“Nope. Sometimes I see some exercises on YouTube and try those out though,” Stephanie said proudly.
“Oh boy,” Kevin said, clapping his hands together, “can you come in tomorrow morning at 7am. I have some of my other gals in at that time. You can train with them for a while until you get the swing of things.”
“Okay, sure, see you then,” Steph said, not entirely sure what she’d just enlisted herself up to do.
Stephanie’s First Training Day
The next morning Stephanie arrived at the gym earlier than usual. Steve introduced her to the general warm-up as she got acquainted with the other gals, Julie and Natasha. Both gals were lean and muscular and whipped through the warmup with ease. Stephanie was a bit out of breathe, but caught up quickly.
“Alright ladies time to train!” Steve said clapping his hands enthusiastically.
“What are we training today,” Natasha asked.
“Chest, upperback and a bit of biceps,” Kevin said. “It’s a pretty easy day. I just want to make sure we start our newbie off right!” Kevin nodded towards Steph, smiling his cheesiest grin.
The workout proceeded slowly, with some bench press and a few minor exercises that worked some smaller muscle groups. Stephanie got poked and prodded multiple times by Kevin, who shifted her body this way and that. She thought she knew how to do the exercises, after all she tried a lot of them before, but Kevin had her feeling things that she never knew were possible.
Her hips were tight, legs and glutes were engaging and she was even lifting several pounds heavier than she had ever lifted before.
Strange as they were training upper body today.
The exercises changed after a certain number of sets and reps. Stephanie’s chest and upper body were already tight and tired already. She was pumped though. She was feeling muscles in different places she never even knew existed.
Steve put her on this exercise called the t-bar row, which she’d never done before and told her a couple cues. She worked hard at the exercise, but she couldn’t get the form quite right after the second set. Steve pulled her aside from the other girls and helped her focus on her form and told her to drive her elbows here and squeeze her shoulder blades here.
“There you go, now you’ve got it,” Kevin said, enthusiastically. “Great work ladies. NOW TIME for the finisher.” And boy what a finisher it was. A combination of pushups, abs and more upperback for time.
Stephanie stopped breathing hard about five minutes after the workout had ended, while the other gals were laughing and foam rolling.
“Was that an hard workout, or is it just that I’m out of shape,” Steph asked Steve.
“Well, it was an easy workout for the girls, but a hard training session for you because you’re not used to training that way,” Steve said. “It not uncommon for you to experience this bit of fatigue when you’re not used to following a TRAINING program.” “You see this is what I wanted you to learn out of today’s session,” Steve said counting off on his fingers,” one, that training is different than working out.” “Two, there’s a lot more involved in working your muscles than simply watching a YouTube video.” “Three, you have to work hard in different areas, but focus on certain aspects of your physique if you want to improve.” “Especially if you want to compete –in any sporting event.”
“Yeah, I can see that I was just all over the place in my workouts with no real pattern or objective,” Steph said. “You had me feeling muscles that I never even knew existed before!”
“Yeah, and that’s only half of it,” Steve said. “Somethings you really have to be shown how to do or shown how to feel, because it’s not simply enough to just go through the motions and expect to get what you want out of it.” “That’s the difference between training and working out. When you’re training you’re working towards a specific goal, whereas working out is as simple as just doing whatever you want. Just don’t expect to get superior results from just working out. The two are linked, but working out just isn’t focused enough for what you want to accomplish. It’s the same for any real goal orientation.”
“Yeah, totally never thought about that before,” Steph said. “And I don’t think I’ve ever trained that hard before.”
“And that’s the other advantage of having a small group of girls and a coach to help push you into the next level,” Steve said. “Look at all the other athletes out there in the world—do you see the Olympic athletes doing great things by themselves? How about all the football, soccer, baseball, tennis and tennis players out there? Hands down they all have a coach or even a couple coaches behind them to help them get to the next level.”
“True,” Steph said, taking the roller out of Steve’s hands.
“No one seldom gets to where they want to be without a coach or mentor of some sorts,” Steve said, motioning for her to roll out her upper back and lats. “Understand?”
“Yes, totally,” Stephanie said. “Can I continue to train with your girls for my show?”
“Of course. The spot is yours,” Kevin said. “Just promise me that you’ll not be doing some silly YouTube exercises or internet programs again. They’re not specific enough to your goals to really be effective.”
“Oh, don’t you worry,” Stephanie said. “I’m sure I’ll be sore for a week after today’s workout.”
“Most likely you’ll be a little sore, but in a good way,” Steve said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
CPT SMASH – Remember that there’s a huge difference between training and simply working out. When you’re training for something specific, it’s not enough to simply flit about the gym without a purpose or direction. Choose what you’re trying to do with careful precision and then blast it with as much intensity as you can muster.
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