Simon Sinek gave a TED Talk back in 2010 explaining why some companies or people or organizations are more successful than others. His premise was that there is something fundamentally different about the approach these different groups took when taking a product to market or promoting themselves or their ideas to others. He said that the most successful groups all, beyond knowing what they are doing and how they are doing it (ex: Apple makes computers and phones by ordering parts, assembling these parts, programming, etc...) these highly successful groups also know why they are doing it. This idea has stuck with me ever since I first watched his talk and i believe it goes well with this idea of training vs. working out.
When an athlete or a person is training, they have a goal in mind, something to focus their efforts towards, a "why". What sets a great athlete apart from a good athlete is the focus of the effort towards the goal. Every training session, every recovery session, every meal, every decision is taking them one step closer towards their goal. Anyone can come into a gym, sweat a lot for an hour, burn a ton of calories, do a great workout, and that's great, but then what? Did that workout make you better or did it just put you at a caloric deficit for tonight's big dinner?
I am not trying to say that working out like that is bad; you're in the gym and that's great, but again, to what end? Those cardio kings and queens and circuit training fiends, they come in everyday and do the same thing everyday to the point of monotony. Your body has adapted already, change it up, try something new, have a plan! A plan that extends beyond what you will do today or tomorrow but one that will look weeks and months out. Have a concrete goal, a "why." If what you are doing is working towards that, great, if not, maybe it's time to reconsider your method. Think of your body is a piece of marble or an engine ready to be built, without final drawing or instructions, how can you bring out the sculpture or put all the pieces together into something that works the way you need it?