I’d be super happy to never hear “I just want to get toned” ever again.

Why? Because it lacks specificity of any kind. “Toned” is really an increase in muscle mass with a decrease in body fat.

Training implies an intention. It’s specific, measurable, actionable…you know. It’s SMART. Training allows you to improve upon something and work towards something, whether that be a professional athlete training for the Olympics or the couch-to-5k athlete running their first race at age 50.

Training is sustainable. It’s useful for life, whether you like to golf or take long walks on the beach. Your mobility (that is your ability to move around restriction-free) is everything to your long-term health, both physically and mentally.

Exercising on the other hand is mindless. It brings to mind someone doing the elliptical in sandals at a 3 resistance watching their iPad. What’s the point?

If your primary complaint is that you don’t have enough time to workout (let’s actually change that verbiage to “train” right now…), be more efficient and train for something.

Have a plan.

Try signing up for a race, like a local 5k, or something more serious like a triathlon or Tough Mudder. Make it fun, and train with a buddy.

One of the first things I explain to a client is the progression of becoming fit. First, you gain more energy. Then your mental state gets a great boost - “I feel much happier.” Then the results start to pour in.

What was once an obligation is now a necessity. When you feel better on the days you workout as opposed to the days you skip, you’re hooked. The snowball effect of inertia starts to work - what is in motion tends to stay in motion. Your travels become a little more active, you spend weekends enjoying the outdoors rather than lying in bed, and the food you eat becomes fuel for living life at full tilt rather than a governor on your energy levels.

I love watching this transition. We’re all athletes, but somewhere along the way we sometimes get trapped inside our desk-ridden bodies, aching (literally) to get out and play like a kid again.

Why do I train, you ask?

I train for physical readiness. I never want to be bad at something and I never want to get left behind. In fact, I’d rather excel at everything. Any challenge, at any time, I want to be ready.

My goal is to be the best at being good at everything. I’d like to pivot from a triathlon right into golf season straight into snowboard season.

If there was a decathlon in mountain biking, surfing, yoga, rock climbing, golf, HIIT training, snowboarding, gymnastics, running, and swimming…. I’d like to win that.

I spend time in the gym so I can prepare my body for the demands of adventure. I don’t spend time in the gym to “get toned.” The “toning” comes in due time after the hard work in the gym and in the kitchen.

Nike got it perfectly right - stop exercising, start training.