I posted this on Twitter yesterday after coming across a good forum post related to Crossfit*. To highlight, it was discussing the difference between 'exercise' and 'training' in definition.
"exercise, which is “physical activity for its own sake, a workout done for the effect it produces today, during the workout or right after you're through.”
"....defined training as “physical activity done with a longer-term goal in mind, the constituent workouts of which are specifically designed to produce that goal.”
It's an interesting topic. Taking climbing, many people go through large periods of 'exercising', i.e. going to the wall purely for the social. it's one of the great selling points of climbing,** hanging out with friends, goofing around and getting a workout at the same time! And then one of few things happens: it gets near the summer and you need fitness!, or you're going on a trip so a-few-to-several-weeks-in-advance you start focusing on whatever the discipline is (boulder, sport, trad, alpine, big wall), or a competition is coming up, etc.
But in doing so (i.e starting to prepare for a trip, or a comp, or the summer), do you actually change anything, or is it just a conscious thought in your mind? I.e. do you change up your routine, or is it more of the same (with perhaps, just doing more routes/boulders/etc)? And if you're not really changing anything, is that really training?
Do you vary the routines?
Do you vary the intensity of different sessions?
Do you focus on weaknesses?
Do you work on general fitness, and on your max strength?
All thoughts welcome......
*As an aside, I gave Crossfit a shot for a few weeks as an experiment primarily to understand what it was all about as I've heard so many people talk about. It's not for me to be honest (a purely gym environment doesn't suit me), but I can see why it's so good for so many people - the community, motivation (the hardest set of sprints, and the hardest amount of effort I've ever put into a set of weights probably happened in those four weeks), banter. Fair dues to you if you do it - some of the WODs aren't easy! Personally I prefer the focus of a personal trainer....
** I'm still an advocate of 'beginner' climbers not doing much more to 'train' than going climbing frequently, trying lots of different routes, and problems. But where do you draw the line at what is a beginner? :)