Updated: Dec 13, 2019
It’s that time of year again. You know, when the excuse of winter is behind you and the thought of showing some more body is a bit daunting. Of course… it’s time to do more (or even some) exercise. But what’s the best way to go about this? NZ Ministry of Health will have you doing 2.5 hours exercise per week. They say get outside, get moving. As long as its not sitting or lying down it counts as exercise. But you know you really need more that a bit of movement right?
What is exercise?
Exercise is any physical activity performed for the effect it produces today — right now. Each workout is performed for the purpose of producing a stress that satisfies the immediate needs of you, the exerciser: burn some calories, work up a sweat, get out of breath. Exercise may well involve doing exactly the same thing every time you do it, as long as it accomplishes the task of making you feel how you want to feel while you’re doing it.
For athletes and people with a definite performance objective like triathlon in mind, training is required. In this context, training is physical activity performed for the purpose of satisfying a long-term performance goal, and is more about the process rather than the workouts themselves. The process must generate a definable result at a point in time and to produce this result it must be planned.
Most people are not competitive athletes, do not see themselves as competitive athletes, and have no definable objective other than losing some weight and being “in shape." If this works for them, then great, exercise is all they need.
Why exercise for exercise sake often fails
For many of us, however, exercise fails. While modern gyms, boot camps and one size fits all exercise programmes successfully do their job to deliver exercise, we are constantly frustrated because the truth is they are not a fail safe way to transform your bod. Their function is to burn calories, get your heart rate up, and make you sweaty. Rather than get a new body, you're likely to end up with a consistent way to increase fatigue and overuse injuries.. This is the very reason for the high dropout rate.
5 reasons why training for event works better for most people
Whilst you can rapidly outgrow the limitations of exercise, you can take the logical next step and train for an event. You may not realize it but training for an event will take your fitness to the next level, and in the process improve your physical capabilities. Both the experience and the sense of achievement ensure you maintain your motivation and effort for longer. The benefits contribute to your health as well as your stash of lifetime experiences.
Getting “hooked” by the atmosphere, hanging with the community and living the possibilities for continued improvement are three reasons why training for an event works better for most people. They all work naturally to fuel benefit number four, your motivation - as you aim to improve your experience next time. Which leads inevitably to benefit number five - the conclusion that the next phase of exercise must be planned to produce the specific result you have now grown to value. At that point, you are not exercising, you're training!
How to get started - training for events can work for every body
Training for events is addictive and for that reason alone, is the most effective way to get the results most people want from exercise, especially if that goal is more than just maintenance. No sooner have you finished one, then you're looking to the next. To get started, set your goal by signing up for an event - choose one within your reach allowing just a little bit of stretch, then begin preparing for it (you'll need to start a good 8 weeks out before your event), set your plan for incrementally improving your physical capability, increase your strength and your endurance, determine your nutrition, and there you have it, you’re training! You don't have to wish for a better body, you have one in the making - with a workable plan in place to achieve it.