What Does Training Encompass?

woman doing one-arm handstand

I was asked this interesting question the other day.

What does training encompass?

Is it merely physical exercise? Athletic training? What about diet training? Here’s my answer.

Training encompasses anything and everything that you have to do to change yourself.

And until you accept this as truth and start to live by it, you will perpetually struggle to achieve anything in life.

  • Want to get fit? You need training.
  • Need a job? You need training.
  • Struggling in a relationship? You need training.

For those with health and fitness goals, such as losing weight, getting stronger, or improving your mobility, training traditionally includes activities such as diet and exercise. But there are many other things that can and often should be trained as well.

Some people need to train themselves how to sleep better (or more). Some people need training in stress management. Others need mental training in order to achieve their goals. And while all of these are good skill-sets to develop and master, each carries a distinct level of importance depending on the individual and their unique circumstances.

For one person, they may have the diet and exercise down, but their rest and recovery is greatly lacking. Another person may have all of the cornerstones of health and fitness in place, but they’re stressed out of their minds, which undermines their efforts elsewhere. Every situation is different.

So, here’s the thing: Life is a skill.

  • Getting enough sleep every night is a skill.
  • Controlling your diet is a skill.
  • Doing your warmups and cooldowns like you know you should is a skill.
  • Thinking positively is a skill.
  • Learning to control your breathing is a skill.
  • Being prompt is a skill.
  • Small talk is a skill.

Life is an infinitely complex orchestration of skills. And in order to fully develop any skill, it requires both practice and training. And that’s good news because it means that you have great power over yourself.

The truth is that you’re always training whether you realize it or not, or whether you want to be or not. Whatever you’re thinking and whatever you’re doing, you’re gradually becoming more and more a product of those thoughts and actions.

  • Sitting in a chair trains you to be sedentary.
  • Spending money you don’t have trains you to be irresponsible.
  • Letting people walk all over you trains you not to stick up for yourself.
  • Thinking you can’t do something decreases your self-confidence.
  • Avoiding your fears reinforces your fears.

These are examples of things that many people unintentionally train. And we are constantly in this flux.

The key is to be intentional about your training so that you’re not getting pushed around by the sea of life, but instead deliberately rowing against the tide to achieve your goals (i.e. whatever objective you’ve established for yourself).

And if you aren’t being diligent in your training, then you can bet your boots that life is pulling you away from them. There is no standing still. You’re either climbing the mountain toward your goals, or sliding down the slope.

There are too many forces in life that will push you around, trying to conform you to the status quo. That’s why training is necessary to achieve anything extraordinary in life – big or small, simple or complex.

So, how do we train?

Well, you can start by modeling those who do it best: athletes. Athletes devote their life to their sport because it’s their job. And there are many lessons that we can learn from athletics.

One of the main reasons that so many people fail in their health, fitness, and athletic pursuits, among others, is that they don’t take it seriously. They don’t approach it like an athlete.

Athletes train. They prepare. They rehearse. They plan and strategize. They seek out counsel and mentoring. They get coaching and feedback. They try, fail, and keep going. They adjust their methods. They work hard regardless of how motivated they feel. They don’t let excuses stop them from doing what they’ve got to do. They make things happen. They go the extra mile when necessary. They skip the food temptations and the late night parties because those activities don’t align with their purpose-driven goals. They put in the work day-in and day-out.

And remember: athletes aren’t born this way. They become this way by cultivating these skills, mindsets, and traits little by little every day through practice and training.

So, that’s all well and good for actual athletes. But what about the rest of us who don’t get a paycheck for competing in a sport?

Listen. You may not run on a track, fight in a ring, or ride bulls for a living. But you are an athlete of this thing called life. You compete in life. You train for life, and whatever it is that’s important to you. And if that involves physical fitness, then you’ll train for that, too.

Soon, you’ll realize that you’re always training, always recovering – and always have been. And when you get that idea into your head, embrace it, and start to live by it, it’ll open your eyes to the magnitude of your potential.

And it all starts with training, which encompasses anything and everything that is necessary for changing yourself – your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.

It’s all trainable if you break it down into its individual components (e.g. baby steps). And that’s good news for you and I because it means we can simply and easily do anything we put our mind to.

Food for thought: what do you need more training in to achieve your goals?

Note: If you’d like to start living a life of training, please sign up for my free fitness newsletter.

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