I see a great many people come through the doors of the gym and they all have various goals. Whether or not they are successful in actually achieving those goals (regardless of what they are) depends on many different factors, but there are certain trends which tend to set apart those that reach and surpass their goals and those that just spin their wheels.
I call those that tend to be successful “trainers”, whereas as those that usually make some progress, although not as much as they could, are “exercisers”.
Now let me clarify something here by saying that there is nothing wrong with being either an exerciser or a trainer. I applaud anyone who makes an effort to work on their health and fitness. However, if you want to be successful, I would strongly argue that training as opposed to exercising is the way forward.
Here is what differentiates the trainer from the exerciser:
- Trainers track their progress. Whether that be how much weight they lifted last time to how much fat they lost in the last 2 weeks – everything is recorded
- Trainers master the basics of each movement before progressing
- Trainers set themselves regular, achievable goals
- Trainers pay attention to nutrition and recovery
- Trainers attack their weaknesses
- Trainers leave their egos at the door and don’t get injured by going too fast or using weight that is too heavy for them
- Although they are social with fellow gym members and like to mess around as much as anyone, trainers focus when it is time to actually hit the workout
Exercisers, on the other hand tend to come into the gym looking with no specific aims or goals. Their measurement of a good workout is whether or not it leaves them exhausted at the end. There is, however, no real quantification of whether or not they actually got fitter.
It is hard to change habits and go from being an exerciser to a trainer. Nonetheless, a few, easy-to-implement steps can make all the difference. You don’t have to live like a monk and focus your entire life on training – far from it. But something as simple as recording workouts and striving for improvements from session to session (more reps, more weight, faster times etc) can be extremely powerful. If you can make the effort to go to the gym 3 times a week, you can surely make the effort to write a few things down.
So which are you, an exerciser or a trainer?