Training Vs Exercise; What is the difference?

Training Vs Exercise: What’s the difference?

Many people equate exercise and training to the same thing, and may even use the two words interchangeably when talking about running, hitting the gym, lifting weights — or doing anything to get your heart rate up, muscles “burning,” and blood pumping

There is however a major difference and that is all in the intention behind the activity, it’s more about how you approach the activity rather than the activity itself.

If you’ve got a specific goal, it’s important you know the difference between exercise and training and apply each of them appropriately.

Let me explain:


Exercise, in its most basic form, can be defined as something that “enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness”.

The fundamental goal of exercise here is also very clear: it keeps you healthy.

There are a myriad of health and wellness-related benefits to regularly exercising – including improved cardiovascular capacity, immune system functioning, brain health, sleep quality, and mental wellbeing. On top of all that, exercise can help with weight control (although it is impossible to out-exercise a bad diet)

I think that we can all agree that exercise is a good thing. Even if we don’t always do enough of it, we all know that we should be…

In practice exercise is going for a run, coming to the gym for a session that you make up as you go along, attending a HIIT class etc. Basically anything that takes a more ‘random’ form


When someone says that they are training, it means that are actively trying to improve something – usually in a systematic way.

Runners train for marathons. A boxer trains to get ready for the big fight. An athlete trains to excel in their chosen sport

Training has a clear end goal and requires you to have a systematic plan or program to force your body to adapt, recover, and increase your capacity or skill overtime. A training plan typically involves progressive overload, skill progression, and assessing and tracking progress over time.

Lastly, training requires you to have a mindset in line with your measurable goal. There has to be a desired outcome and your “why” behind that is what will keep you on track on the days you truly don’t feel like following your program.

Training uses stats, has primary goals and has smaller specific goals


Should you train or should you exercise?

Now that you know the difference, it’s time to evaluate your goals.

If your main goal is to be generally active and healthy, then simple exercise will probably be enough for you, and you should move in ways that thoroughly bring you joy and excitement.

Whether that means hiking, jumping on the trampoline with your kids, taking a group class, or taking your dogs for a walk, getting moving for a few hours each week is sufficient to help you maintain general health and wellness levels.

On the other hand, if you have a specific goal such as building muscle mass, improving strength, fixing your balance or posture, returning to health post-injury, competing in a sport, or running a marathon — you need to TRAIN.

You don’t accidentally get prepared to run a marathon or compete in a sport. You won’t just wake up one day ready to compete in a Strongman competition. To reach a specific goal, you must follow a specific plan based on where you are now and where you want or need to be



If you are generally healthy, have a specific goal, and are ready, willing, and able to follow a specific plan, then training is the right option for you. We recommend following a plan specific to your ability level that has a clear goal in mind.

If you’re primarily interested in supporting general levels of health and wellness, then exercise is probably the answer for you