If I asked "Did you train or did you workout today?" you might say "Yeah, I hit the gym" or "Got my 5 mile run in first thing this morning". Except, I'm asking two distinct questions. Did you train today or did you workout?
Working out is bouncing up and down on the elliptical while watching tv or talking on your cell phone. It's "doing the machines" or "arm's day". It's getting it in whenever your schedule opens up once a week or a couple times a month. Maybe you feel better afterwards. Maybe you don't want to admit that gym membership was a waste of money. You do it because you know you should. While something is better than nothing, there are ways to be more efficient.
Training implies a purpose. Each effort is a mindful, progressive step towards a goal. That goal is clear and specific like completing your first 5k, reaching and maintaining your ideal body fat percentage, or setting a personal record on a certain lift. Those who train know what they want to accomplish and by when. They have a fire inside them that never goes out. Training sessions are always top priority, free of distractions, and nothing less than maximal effort.
So, do you train or do you workout? Training is a succession of sessions that slowly build upon one another to get closer and closer to the desired end result. Working out is a bunch of isolated incidents lacking cohesiveness. It's like throwing a handful of darts all at once and hoping one hits the bulls eye.
I used work out all the time. Yet, all the experts in my field I admire and respect are always training for something like a figure competition, a power lifting meet, or a triathlon. Since working in the fitness industry, I've never had the desire to train for an event and even if I did, I didn't know what. At times I doubted myself as if it made me less "fitness professional-y" than those I looked up to.
It wasn't until recently that I realize I DO train and for something far more important than any competition out there. I train to keep my spine healthy. I train so I can bend, twist, and move pain-free. I train so some day I won't be laying face down on a surgical with my back cut open, spine exposed, as surgeons fuse metal rods to my spine. And I train so some day when my husband and I want to start a family, pregnancy won't collapse my spine any further. Now that I know what I train for, my sessions are fueled by a whole new level of dedication and tenacity.
What are you training for?