Working out is simply putting random exercises together to get up a “good sweat”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you’re doing something, but for long term results, reducing the risk of injury and motivation, this probably isn’t the best approach.

This happens sadly to about 89% of gym-goers. Your typical gym-goer will begin with great intentions, but because they have no direction, no real plan or end goal in sight, they fall by the wayside within 12 weeks of beginning their “program” because they didn’t get any results.

It works, but you didn’t!


That’s kind of like complaining you didn’t win the lottery when you didn’t buy a ticket! Or like expecting to get your bags to arrive from American Airlines on the same flight. That’s kind of like……Oh well, you get the picture!

Back when I started training clients as a PE teacher, I used to throw exercises together making sure I hit every major muscle group and did as many full body movements as possible because the name of the game for weight loss was burn as many calories as possible in the short time I had with my clients.

No session was the same. I got them great results, they loved the variety, it kept me thinking of new exercises and variations of exercises and they got stronger, but there was no real direction in relation to progressive overload. (This is not to say I don’t do this occasionally in a de-load week or at the request of a client) Some people enjoy the randomness and high intensity of a session like that and that’s OK if that’s your goal.

On the other hand, if you have a goal of gaining muscle mass or athletic performance this randomness is not going to work out well for you (excuse the pun). Planning is key. If you make the session up as you drive to the gym, you are just “working out”.

As I honed my craft and learned from those better than I, my philosophy of training changed and naturally, so did my approach. Now, sessions are planned weeks in advance with progressive overload at the forefront, but still with full body movements and random finishers to get that “burn” at the end.

How You Know You’re Training
Training on the other hand is using a safe and effective program targeted towards specific results using tried and tested principles of training.

If you have a specific goal with a timeline, you’re training. The Why is so important when it comes to training, or anything in life for that matter. You must have a strong enough Why because when it gets tough that why will push you on. Write you goals and program down.

If you plan your sessions ahead of time, you are training. You don’t get in your car and just take random turns to get to work. You have a plan and an end goal in sight to get there safely and effectively. This doesn’t mean you have to keep doing the same program over and over again. Your goals will most likely change and with that, so should your program. Planning your session can prepare your mind for the goal ahead and if you have a training partner even better. Accountability will help keep you consistent.

workout vs training_1

If you are consistent with your sessions (as in days you train), you are Training. Consistency is huge because when you are consistent with your training the more likely your nutrition will match your efforts in the gym. Your nutrition is really where your results will come from.

If your nutrition matches your goals, you are Training. Eating like crap and justifying it by saying well I “worked out” or I’ll work harder tomorrow doesn’t work. You will never out-train bad nutrition.

If you are tracking your weights, reps and sets, you are Training. This will hold you accountable so you are not guessing what you did last time and you can focus on what you need to do next session.

• Another sign that you’re training is your weights, sets, reps, movements, rest times etc. change so to apply the progressive overload principle every few weeks. Too often people do the same movements and routine over and over and wonder why they hit a plateau or don’t see results at all. They are “maintaining”.

• You will also know you’re training if you focus on the movement and the muscle(s) you are using and not just trying to get through it as fast as you can. You have to think quality over quantity. This is one reason people don’t get bigger, faster, stronger. Proper rest periods are not used to give the muscle and energy systems time to recover so the most can be gotten out of the next set.

These are just a few bullet points to figure out if you’re training or not. If your happy with your results with random sessions, more power to you, but if you are not seeing results now you know why.

If you need help, feel free to ask me!

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans