Let’s talk about a topic near and dear to me – results.
Everyone works out for results, right? Ultimately, what starts us all on this journey towards fitness is a desire to see our bodies and minds improve in some way – usually a quantifiable improvement like weight loss, reduced bodyfat percentage, etc.
What I’ve learned, 3 years into my journey, is this – there is more than just a simple difference between the terms you can use to describe the process and what results you get.
When I started out, I was working out and dieting. I was getting places, sure – I lost a bit of weight, I felt a little bit stronger, but I wasn’t doing what I knew I could.
Starting in 2016, I modified my approach. I nerded out on fitness blogs, YouTube, and other such things. I went away from working out towards training, and from dieting to nutrition. These are subtle, almost pedantic sounding changes. What was different?
Working out is what people without well-defined goals do. Its not bad, but it isn’t results-driven. Working out is going to the gym, doing the same things with mostly the same weights to keep your body about the same, or to drive small improvements.
Training is results-focused, data-driven, and seeks to push you towards a definite, well-defined goal. Training invovles the bedrock principles of bodily improvement – progressive overload, time under tension, and constant evaluation of your results. It’s you against you, focusing on losing x pounds of bodyfat, putting on 15 pounds of lean muscle, improving your quarter-mile time, or reaching a certain weight on your lifts.
Dieting vs. nutrition is a similar focusing of energy. Dieting implies a temporary change in how you eat made to drive towards an ambiguous result – wanting to feel better, or getting your bellyfat gone. Nutrition as a concept recognizes that there is an ongoing process – that you aren’t about to change your eating back to the old, unhealthy ways. Nutrition requires understanding how your body works, what it needs to thrive, and providing it that to fuel your daily life and your training.
Switching away from dieting and working out to training and nutrition helped fuel a big change for me. 3 months of 2015 gave me 10 pounds lost, but 3 months of training and nutrition in 2016 gave me 60 pounds lost and impressive progression on my lifts.
Again, I want to emphasize that working out and dieting aren’t inherently bad. If you’re looking to spur on a temporary change, or to maintain your body as it is – these are the ways you can pull that off.
But if you’re blasting through workouts, searching for better progression than you are getting – maybe you need to switch your mindset.