Do you exercise or do you train? That question addresses crucial differences in value and purpose for the way we approach our workouts. To answer the question it will be helpful to understand the distinguishing features of training and exercise and examine how these concepts are related. This post will mostly be about defining terms, in order to be very clear in in framing our answer to the question at hand. Strength coach Mick Fuller instructs students in his strength class on the proper way to bench press. Training involves performance of repeatable patterns of movement that produce sufficient muscular and neurological stress to initiate the body’s recovery and adaptation systems. Each training session is calibrated to be more stressful than the previous session, to account for the body’s recovered and adapted state.
Are you a functional human? To answer that question honestly and accurately, you need to understand how it addresses a central truth of human experience. Every person, at any given moment in life finds himself in one of two categories; he is either functional or dysfunctional. To be functional is to operate well and effectively according to a particular design, plan or set of priorities. A functional tool is useful and effective in the task for which it was designed. The more robust the tool is, either in strength or complexity (depending on what is needed for the task), the more effectively it can perform its function. A functional hammer drives a nail. A functional sledge hammer drives a wedge or a stake. The hammer is sufficient to drive a nail but is dysfunctional when used to drive a stake; the sledge hammer is the more functional tool for that job. A functional tractor pulls things. The average riding mower functions well for mowing the yard and pulling small loads but not robust enough and therefore dysfunctional if you try to make it pull a grain combine.