Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Training vs. Working Out

By: Joel Luedke

When you go to the gym are you going for a workout or are you training? 

What's your goal?  To get a good sweat in?  Train for your next event?

This is something I never really thought about when I would head into the weight room.  Sure I had some sort of idea of what i was going to do, maybe a set and rep scheme that I was going to do for the day or if I was really thinking ahead, maybe that week but I never really had a plan.

Nothing has become more clear to me this year working with strength and conditioning our UWL Football team as well as trying to train for my first half marathon (didn't run it but gearing up for one this summer) as the need for training, not just working out.  Now, lets start with the half marathon training.

Never ran more than a 5K in terms of a race before.  Sure I had gotten myself up to 8-9 miles (or so I told myself) but that was also on whim, never planned in a strategy.  Then for this half I was planning to run we (girlfriend and I) followed a training plan.  It didn't make it simple and easy but it definitely helped structure what i was trying to accomplish and it made a huge difference.  You can' just go out and run 13 miles, well you can but not really do it well.  You have to build and work and find way to get yourself to that volume and allow your body to take it.  Learning this was step one for me.

This idea of 'training' expanded exponentially this spring while working with (and continuing to do so) Dr. Glenn Wright of the UWL Human Performance Program.  Working with him in the development of a training program for the team in the off-season and laying out a plan not just for one or two blocks (4-8 weeks) but for the entire year.  Now, disclaimer, things change as we move along but the process was put out and a road map was set.

Why is this important?  Many people think that in order for a workout/training session to be a success you have to walk out of it exhausted and that you left it all out on the gym floor.  Every set should be to failure and if you aren't adding weight then you aren't getting anything done.  This is great if you want a great work out but your body will not hold up if this is your goal day in and day out.  Mark Rippetoe discusses this in his article on CrossFit, "CrossFit.  The Good, The Bad, The Ugly".  He outlines that most CrossFit set ups the goal is to just work hard and there is no set plan for what are trying to accomplish long term.

This is where a training plan comes in.  Building your training up and in a progressive fashion can be a huge benefit to not only your training performance but in giving your body a break when it needs one and not overloading it consistently.  In the example of football there is no reason to be your fastest or strongest in January, that is needed July/August as you're gearing up for the season.  You use these months to build your fitness, build your work capacity and set yourself up to perform as you get started into your season.

Bottom Line: Think about your goals and what you want to accomplish and then map out how you want to get there.  Smarter not harder can be key.

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