What do you think about when you see the word “conditioning”? Did it have something to do with cardio? I wouldn’t blame you if that’s what first came to mind.

We like using definitions here so lets take a look into what our working definition of conditioning is. Conditioning as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, as a noun, is the “state of something with regard to its appearance”. As a verb, conditioning means to bring something into the desired state of use. So, when we use conditioning as a noun, we are referring to someone’s state of health or physical fitness. When we use conditioning as a verb, we are referring to changing the state of health or physical fitness.

We may bring about that change of an individuals state of health or physical fitness by using a variety of methods: physical activity, nutrition, ergogenic aids (supplements, performance enhancing drugs), or other methods such as massage, thermal treatments, or seeing a chiropractor. However, for the purpose of this post we’re going to be looking into how different forms of physical activity can be used to bring about a change in an individual.

Now I want you to take a moment and think about what you think when you see or hear the words ‘physical activity’.

What did you think about?

Did you think about getting outside and going for a walk, a run, going for a swim, or riding your bike? Did you think about playing with your kids in the backyard? Did you think about your job and all of the physical work that you do each day? Did you think about going to the gym and lifting weights, running on a treadmill, or taking part in a crossfit class?

I want you to keep whatever it is that you thought about in mind as we continue on and look into the definitions of physical activity and exercise.

Physical activity may be defined as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure” (1). The types of physical activity that we are often exposed to are locomotion-walking, running, swimming; activities of daily living-gardening, picking up groceries, doing laundry, playing with our kids, etc.; occupational-jobs requiring physical exertion/manual labor, and exercise-lifting weights at the gym, going to a crossfit class, hitting a spin class, etc.

Exercise, as defined by the ACSM, is a subset of physical activity that has a specific objective- the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness. In an article by Winter & Fowler (2009), they built on the ACSM definition of exercise by defining it as “activity that disrupts homeostasis – the body’s internal state of balance – through muscle activity.”.

Both physical activity and exercise require physical exertion. However, the purpose of physical activity does not have to be to sustain or improve health or physical fitness. For example, someone who works in a manual labor role performs physical activity, but the purpose of this activity is not related to health or physical fitness. Whereas exercise itself has the specific purpose of maintaining or improving health/fitness. Exercise is a type of physical activity. Therefore, all exercise is physical activity, but not all physical activity is exercise.

If we utilize Winter & Fowler’s definition of exercise being muscle effort with the purpose of disrupting homeostasis (your bodies inner state of balance) , training then may be said to be the process of using exercise to bring about a specific change in an organism’s condition.

Exercise, in the context of this article, does not have a specifically defined goal. Each workout that is performed is done so with the intent of disrupting an individuals internal environment enough to maintain or improve their physical fitness, however, there is no specified goal per se.

It’s really important to mention at this point in time that exercise is a really good thing. We highly advocate for people to get out and exercise, however, if we’re looking to take that exercise a little bit further and have it transfer over to a specific area of our lives then we need to sit down and attach a goal to that exercise. Because in doing so we end up shifting our focus from exercising to training.

Training , is performed with the long-term goal of bringing a specific adaptation into fruition. From a physiological perspective, that adaptation may come in the form of increasing strength, power, lean muscle mass, speed, endurance, flexibility, mobility, coordination, balance, or losing a specified amount of weight. However, our training may also encompass other areas of our lives, i.e., increasing our current level of overall fitness to be able to keep up with our kids, to handle the requirements placed on us in our work environments, to accomplish the activities we do each day, or to be an effective leader.

Training has an intention- a specified purpose. The purpose of a training session can be a tangible number, something quantifiable like the number of sets or reps completed, the load lifted, or the time it took to complete something. The process that is associated with training may be to produce a desired outcome/result- such as adding an additional 5-10kg on your back squat in 8 weeks, shaving time off of your 40 yard sprint, lifting a prescribed load for a number of sets and reps, to shave some time off your Fran score or even win a local crossfit competition. Yet on the other hand the purpose of training could be less quantifiable and have more of a ‘feel’ associated with it, like performing a lift a rate of perceived exertion of 7/10, feeling like you owned a workout, or feeling confident about yourself and your ability to accomplish a task.

Bringing about a desired result or adaptation doesn’t just magically happen overnight it involves the process of assessing, planning, implementing, and monitoring programs based off an individual or group of individual’s needs. This process includes planning the appropriate exercises/training methods while applying sufficient volume, intensity, and frequency to bring about the changes or adaptations that are desired. The increases that we see in our overall level of fitness while training are often planned for and don’t happen as a result of pure luck.

So, what now? Why did I make the note of showing you the difference between physical activity, exercise, and training? Because, our society doesn’t place enough value on training. We often perceive physical activity as being enough and don’t get shown that training can be one of the many things that helps to increase the likelihood that we will be able to participate in whatever for of physical activity it is that we enjoy most well into our late 80’s.

Do you value being able to get outside and be physically active- having the ability to get outside and go on hikes, swims in the ocean, or go mountain biking? Do you value having the ability to lift things at work without hurting your back? Do you value being able to play with your kids or grand kids? Do you value being able to participate in your sport whether it be powerlifting, weightlifting, crossfit, or some form of team sport?

By setting that goal or purpose of being able to perform better at a specific task we flip that switch from performing physical activity and exercise for the purpose of accomplishing a given task or maintaining/increasing our current level of fitness to something more purposeful- a given task. No matter how vague that task may be it is the thing that allows what we do inside the gym to transcend the gym and transfer over to the rest of our daily lives.

Cheers,

Kels

Hey team, if you liked this article please like it, share it with your friends, and leave a comment. If you’re looking to make a change in your training and life we exist in this space to help take the time and hassle out of you planning your training. Much like a master chef knows how to apply the correct ingredients to a recipe at a specific time, we know how to apply the types of methods that you need in order to bring your goal into fruition. We offer a free initial consultation with each of our programs. Contact us here today! Don’t forget to check out this weeks free training below!

Training for the week:

Day 1

A. Back Squat: 4 x 5 @ 80% 1RM or RPE 8 @ 3,2,1,1

B. Sumo Stance Good Morning: 4 x 6 @ RPE 8 @ 3,2,1,1

C. I) Close Grip Bench Press- 3 x 5 @ RPE 8 @ 3,2,1,1

II) Bent Over Barbell Row (Supinated Grip)- 3 x 7 @ RPE 8 @ 3,2,1,1

D) Face Pull- 3 x 8 @ Rpe7 @ 1,1,1,1

Day 2

A) Strict Press- 3 x 5 @ 80%1RM or 8/10RPE @ 1,1,1,1

ii) Scapula Pull-up- 3 x 5 @ 1,2,2,1

B) 10 Minute Alternating EMOM

I) 5 Push Press (use the load you did for strict press)

II) 5 Chest to bar pull-up (Strict or Kipping only)

C) 3 Rounds for quality

I) 40m Single Arm Over Head Carry

II) 40m Single Arm Front Rack Carry

III) 40m Single Arm Suitcase Carry

D) Additional Goodies

I) Alternating Bicep Curl- 3 x 8-10/side @ 1,1,1,1

II) Tricep Pressdown- 3 x 8-10 @1,1,1,1

Day 3

A) Conventional Deadlift- 4 x 4 @ 80% @ 1,1,1,1 *reset each rep (no touch-n-go)

B. I) Single Leg Romanian Deadlift- 3 x 6-8/side @ Rpe 7 @ 1,1,1,1

(Peform with dumbbell or kettlebell)

II) Front Foot Elevated Split Squat- 3×6-8/side @ Rpe 8 @ 1,1,1,1

C. Kettle Bell Swing- 3×8-10 @ Rpe 8 @ xxxx

D. Hollow Hold- 3 x 30s

References

  1. Caspersen, C., Kenneth, P., & Gregory, C. (1985) Physical Activity, Exercise, and Physical Fitness: Definitions and Distinctions for Health-Related Research
  2. Winter, E. & Fowler, N. (2009) Exercised Defined and Quantified According To The Systeme Internationale d’Unites