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Reframe your definition of training: you’ll train more and more effectively

How do you define fitness training? This is a question worth asking yourself as it is almost certainly limiting the total volume (and the quality) of your training. Most people view training as either working out or specific sports training. That’s it, there isn’t much to it. And I get it, we’re encouraged to view training as only those activities.

The problem is we’re also conditioned to prioritize and value more activities that are “productive”. If something is viewed as productive, we make an effort to do it more. If it’s not, then chances are we won’t make the time do do it in the face of our any responsibilities. What you define as training becomes critical then, as as everything that is not training will get de-prioritized, even if it’s very beneficial for you.

So how should you define training, for yourself? I’d argue that training is any activity that improves or maintain your physical fitness and capabilities. As an example, for most adults, sitting on the floor and getting up would be training, as this will improve their overall physical abilities.

The reframing of what you see as training is simple but can have very powerful consequences. Most people would not classify lifting and carrying groceries as training. But for a large population, these are the only occasions in their daily life when they lift and carry heavy (for them) loads. It’s incredibly beneficial and may be the most strenuous training they do if they have a sedentary lifestyle otherwise.

For another population who does train with weights, these weights (think packs of water) are no lighter than the weight they use to train in the gym. How is the same activity performed with dumbbells or kettlebells in the gym be training and the other not be? And yet, one is viewed as such and will be prioritized while the other won’t be or will even be avoided entirely.

You could well have a person buying a 9 kg pack of water bottles avoiding to lift and carry it as much as possible on the way home (trolleys, cars, etc) only to then go the gym for a session using 9kgs weights and doing even less repetitions in total than they would have done simply carrying their water pack as normal. That’s a training opportunity lost simply because it wasn’t identified as training.

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