The Difference Between Training and Exercise

We are BearWolf Training, not BearWolf Exercise.

Aside from the former rolling off the tongue a lot better, we do not operate in the business of exercise, but in training.

Everyone that steps into the gym has a goal in mind. It might be a 'wooly' idea of what they want to achieve, but there was a reason why they decided to start. Chasing that reason is what going to the gym is all about.

People take two very distinct paths on their way towards a fitness goal.

The majority of people exercise.

The rest - train!

I wouldn't blame you for not knowing the difference. The reason why the majority exercise instead of training is for that exact reason.

Once you do know the difference, you are unlikely to go back to exercising in the gym. It just doesn't make sense! For the often small changes you have to make to turn exercise into training, they payoff is a more efficient route to your goal.

So here are the differences between the two in each of the primary fitness goals.



You step on a treadmill and think '20 minutes to go.'

Exercising to lose fat is a great start. The typical gym session may require long stints on cardio equipment, you will work up a sweat and burn some calories. You may go home, feeling like you had a great workout - thats awesome, but its not to say you can't do better.


You should step on a treadmill and know exactly what it takes to be better than the last time you stepped on that treadmill.

People that train to lose fat, understand exactly what needs to be done. They will understand the stresses that they need to put on the body in order to stimulate change, resulting in them aiming to progress each and every session. Eventually they decide that if they get stronger and take on new skills, not only will they lose fat, but they will look and feel better for it. Realising that sweat doesn't make a good session, but fitter and faster does.



You step up to perform a deadlift, you think 'right, lets pick this up!'

People that exercise for strength may very well pick it up. It may even be a solid lift. But where is it in relation to the previous session? What about the session after? What do you need to improve on to lift more?


You should step up to a deadlift having effectively mobilised and warmed up. You should have known about this exact set, the weight and the reps, long before you even set off to the gym. When you grab that bar, its a matter of executing on your plan.

People that train for strength know all about patience and planning. They execute on the plan and see it through. There is an appreciation that progress comes with the practice of lifting heavier and heavier weights and not relentlessly testing a one rep max. A strong lifter understands their weaknesses and activley work on improving them, happy to leave their ego at the door.



You step in the gym and walk over to the bench press. You lift your weights and get a great pump. On to the next exercise.

People that exercise to build muscle may stress their bodies. Few of them may even get in good shape. Have they done it efficiently though?


You should step into the gym having looked at your log book. Knowing that every set you perform today, can be stronger than it was previously and understand what is required to do so.

People that train for muscle building identify the minimal amount they need to achieve a personal best - they then apply maximal effort to make sure that they meet, or even surpass it. They appreciate that a pump is far more meaningful when it is achieved through progress and that there is no place for poor form. These people aren't willing to 'exercise' for muscle because they realise that few possess the genetics where exercise will suffice. The word 'random' is never confused with the word 'efficient.'


You have the capacity to train and get the best results you ever have. You just need to:

  • Get a clear understanding of why you are training.
  • Focus on that goal with every element in the gym.
  • Create/have a coach create a plan that will get you there.
  • Understand the plan.
  • Eliminate all of the BS outside of the plan.
  • Execute the plan.
  • Not just progress every session, but know exactly by how much you have progressed.
  • Assess the results.

For help on creating your plan, click the button below

Now go train!