"Training" vs Exercise

When it comes to an athlete, there IS a difference. 

Many athletes today are working out in group classes, usually circuit training, cross fit, “hiit”, or boot camp style classes.  If you put in an effort, you will get a good workout and the sweat may be pouring off you.  Does this type of exercise make you a better athlete or improve your performance?  Maybe. But, probably not.

An exercise class will be helpful if you are overweight. Any exercise that decreases your body mass without sacrificing strength will be helpful.  If you are playing sports year round, all week long, and you are still overweight, exercise isn’t your problem, food is.  That is another story for another day.

When in a proper strength and conditioning or athletic training program, the order and progression of the exercises are designed to improve your ability to handle the demands of your sport. Some days you may crawl out of the gym, other workouts may not be as strenuous.  The point is, there is a focus or goal for the training session.  The exercises may be designed to prevent injury.  Other goals may be to improve strength, speed, explosiveness, balance, or power, among others.  Regardless, there is a plan.  That, is the difference.

A good program designs your workout depending on your sport, season, age, training experience, and athleticism.  It is not, “one size fits all” or as I like to say “one workout maximizes profit”. If everyone in your group is doing the same exercise, it is not a proper athletic training program.  Period.  End of story. 

So, if you are in middle school or older and serious about improving your performance and preventing injury,  you need to train, not just “exercise”.  Find a program that is comprehensive and based on science and progressions, not one that is convenient!


Bob Scaccia PT, CSCS is a physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist.  He is the owner of Complete Athlete Sports Performance Clinics and Scaccia/Dracut Physical Therapy. 

Easy and Portable Breakfast Ideas for the Busy Athlete

One of the most common challenges our athletes ask us about is how to improve their nutrition. Eating right isn't just about being healthier (although that does count for something right?) it can play a crucial role in an athlete's performance. Beyond the obvious factors of how nutrition can effect body composition is how it can more immediately impact our energy level. I tell athletes all the time that I have more energy now than I did when I was a teenager because I eat much healthier now. When we compound this factor with early morning training, practices or even games and tournaments the right approach to breakfast can play a pivotal role in an athlete's performance. 

We asked Noreen Gallo, a dietitian and friend of Complete Athlete to give us some useful information to share with you all and this is what she had to say.

You Wouldn’t Skip Your Workout – So Why Skip Breakfast?

We have all heard the old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Breakfast breaks the overnight fasting period, jumpstarts an athlete’s metabolism (calorie
burning engine) and most importantly kicks the appetite stimulating hormones into gear so
that they can alert you to eat during the day. In order to get the most out of your workouts
and compete a high level, you have to properly fuel your body all day long! Food Is Fuel!
To get the MOST out of your training you have to consider FOOD as PART of your training.

No Time in the Morning? I’ve Got You Covered!

  • Toaster waffles with peanut butter smeared on top
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs and a container of OJ
  • Yogurt and granola parfait
  • Greek yogurt squeeze tube or smoothie and a banana
  • Individual peanut butter packets like Jif to Go and sliced apple or banana
  • Trail Mix – nuts, dried fruits, cereal
  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Bagel or 2 mini bagels and peanut butter and a milk box
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich and chocolate milk
  • Leftovers from Dinner
  • Cheese stick and a granola bar. Some of my favorite bars: Cliff, Cliff Whey, Luna Protein, RX, Kind, Balance, Zone, and Detour Smart. Look for a bar that has at least 8 or more grams of protein

Noreen Gallo MSRD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and owner of Your Forever Nutrition
Counseling. For more tips and motivation, contact Noreen at 603 553-1334 and follow her Healthy Living Blog

Why choose Complete Athlete?

As a parent, athlete or coach, this is a very important question. And one that isn’t all too often pondered. Yet we look for the latest and greatest athletic shoe, pay exorbitant amounts on “skill” camps and private lessons as well as play and pay the sport year round. This undoubtedly improved your athlete, but to what extent and at what cost? The CA Speed & Strength program has been improving athletes from Day 1 to D1 for over 15 years...