We all know that exercise is good for us. It helps to increase aerobic capacity, reduces body fat, has a positive impact on bone density and muscle mass, and the list goes on. However, many of the patients that I work with for the first time at the Princeton Longevity Center have a long history of exercise with little to show for it. Which begs the question, why?
First, many of these people haven’t set any sort of goal before they begin their journey (see this week’s earlier blog post on goal setting). They have no idea what they want to accomplish through exercise. For some it is strictly about weight loss, others find relief from the days stress and use it as a release of tension. While others simply use it as a way to socialize. All of these are great reasons to exercise but they may not help you to accomplish your goals.
And secondly, many of these exercisers fail to make a plan. The plan is what differentiates exercise from training. Training, to me, is an organized plan outlining your goals, and putting in actionable steps that are progressive in nature towards the goal. The plan is essentially your guide or road map from point A to point B. Without this plan, many exercisers become lost along the way. They have no direction and therefore see little in return. You may have heard the saying, “there’s a difference between being busy and being productive”. In my opinion, exercise is being busy and training is being productive.
As a former Professional and Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coach I can say without any doubt that planning is absolutely critical in one’s success when it comes to achieving results. Without a plan, whether it be short-term or long-term, exercise becomes less productive and ultimately is doomed for failure. Ask yourself this, is your current plan working towards your goals (again, be sure to set SMART goals). If not, develop a new plan and put it into action.