Why Exercise Is Not Effective

Exercise vs Training

Why Exercise Is Not Effective

You probably read this headline with a response of “what?” But seriously, exercise is NOT effective at getting or maintaining a lean body.

“Don’t you run a personal training studio?”

Yes, but there is a substantial difference: Our clients don’t exercise, they TRAIN.


Most people have no idea that there is a difference between the two and by the end of this blog you will be among the select few who value training and understand WHY you are doing what you are doing.


To start out, lets use a couple examples of exercise vs training:

  • Running vs doing 20, 40 yards sprint/walks
  • Zumba vs Metabolic Strength Training
  • Swimming at the Y vs Doing 20 laps with a 30 second pause


The examples on the left side demonstrate the average American’s definition of exercise: general activity. These people probably are still stuck in the 90’s low fat craze, go to weight watchers and celebrate general movement because they believe that it will make them healthy.


What if I told you that this is flat out WRONG?


So now you may be thinking, “Hold up! So your saying that swimming, running, zumba isn’t healthy?”

Let me explain.

I’m not saying its unhealthy, I’m just saying the relative reward is almost nothing.You can run for an hour, swim for 2, zumba all night and get next to nothing out of it. There are studies that show that running actually INCREASES belly fat!

“Ok, now I’m lost. How is that possible?”

Calm down my padawan. Learn you will.

In my opinion, everything in life is a continuum. The continuum of exercise to training is no different. Is Zumba better than doing nothing? Of course, but we’re talking about going from a 0 to a 2 on a scale of 0-10.

So what is more of a level 7-10 activity:


However, I understand why this is most peoples go-to exercise. Here’s why:

Few TRAINERS know how to assess you to identify your muscular weaknesses and postural imbalances (we call it structural balance). Without this, general training of particular muscle groups will probably lead to more problems and injury. It’s very hard to attain the knowledge needed to know what to look for and to evaluate yourself so you need someone else to do it for you.

Few TRAINERS know how to write quality programs. I’ve spoke with colleagues who estimate that about 80% of the personal trainers we’ve met have absolutely no clue how to assess properly or write a QUALITY program. Quality is not a random assortment of exercises that make you “burn calories,” its a program where every exercise has a very specific purpose that is customized for your goal, training age and strength profile. It has specific sets, reps, tempo (the speed at which you perform a movements), rest and includes variety at the optimal time. Based on that, there is a slim chance that an average person can write a series of quality programs. However, with some studying, consistency and hard work you can write decent programs that will get great results. Or you can ask an expert to write one for you and by looking into our Program Design program.

Few people are CONSISTENT. Your results are only as good as the program will allow, but you must follow the planto a T and make consistent, measurable progress to expect progress. You can’t just show up and expect miracles to happen!

Most people have low energy. This leads them to always take to easy way out and say “It’s better than nothing,” which for the record is the 2nd most annoying statement you can make to a trainer, trailing the infamous “It could have been worse” comment when justifying the half pizza you ate on Saturday night (breathe Marshall, breathe). This low energy is likely due to stressful lifestyles/ jobs, poor sleep (not getting 8 hours uninterrupted), poor nutrition and hormonal/neurotransmitter imbalances that need professional help to improve.

Here’s the solution:

Hire a Quality trainer. At Faster Fitness, we re-evaluate you every month to make sure you are training safe and have a program that is optimized for your body. Our Group Personal Training sessions provides the perfect program for your goal and maximal convenience (up to 9 different 45 minute sessions a day). Most importantly, its proven to get great results consistently.

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If you have to go at it on your own, write a program that has measurable progress.

Just remember, select exercises that are scientifically proven to provide maximal effectiveness and efficiency. Ex: sprinting is proven to be effective at helping you get lean, while running will decrease your muscle mass, strength, metabolism and can increase belly fat.

Our bodies respond very well to max effort training which is technically called “high intensity.” As your training age (the number of years you train) increases, you will get better at tapping into higher % of your true 100% intensity (which refers to the % of muscle fibers that are recruited during exercise). But maximal effort followed by adequate rest is a good general tip for all forms of exercise.


Finally, exercise can be misleading. The general notion of “getting a good workout” is typically a cardiovascular challenging workout. If you are new to training or your learning new exercises then you probably won’t get that effect!

Aiming to be wiped out after every workout shouldn’t be the goal. You have to start with the skill of strength training properly and or programming sprints properly.

But the effect is all relative to your goal.

If you want to lose fat or maintain a lean body then you should experience a challenging workout, that may even leave you feeling a little pukey 🙂

If you want to increase muscle mass or strength then you need longer rest periods and it probably won’t be that cardiovascular challenging at all.

I think you get my point.


All I’m saying is to be patient and develop the skill of training to get the results you want.

It’s the first step to reach your goals and be Lean.


Marshall Ray – CSCS, CES, FMS, Biosignature


About the Author: Marshall Ray

Marshall Ray is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Level 2 Poliquin International Certified Strength Coach (PICP), Biosignature Practitioner and a certified Precision Nutrition Coach (Pn1). He is the founder of Faster Fitness and co-founder of Femme Fit. He's passionate about building a community of people who love fitness and taking control of their health.