Training VS random energy expenditure Featured Image

This blog is about clearing up confusion on what real ‘training’ is vs ‘random energy expenditure’ to save you the hardships often faced with the journey to optimal health and performance.


Application of measurable stimuli with a focus on precise movements with reps, sets, loads, and tempos recorded with periodisation techniques to break plateaus and bring measurable results.

Random energy expenditure:

These can be leisurely activities like walking the dog, playing a football game with your friends on a Sunday, yoga group class, a Boot Camp, or even a random workout in the gym playing around with weights.  None are measurable and nothing definite can be achieved.

Both are needed but they should never be put in the same boat.  They are very different, both for results and well-being…

After coaching hundreds of people and decades of experience with training myself and others, there is a common sequence in regards to exercise and training. It doesn’t matter what your age is, what matters is normally your training age. What is your training age? Your training age is exactly how many years you have been training (not off and on, six months here one year off here)  consistently and relatively non-stop with a few weeks here and there off allowed. Your training age often determines your mindset and physical capabilities, from neural drive to connective tissue health, it’s a big deal.

Not always as it depends who your friends are but this generally determines the sequence of perception I’m about to show you… and yes it is possible to fast track this, if you are open (see below). Take the sequence with a pinch of salt as it’s certainly not always the case but as a general rule this happens the majority of the time to a beginner:

1. You’re overweight/want to build some muscle/have a bit of back pain and decide to go to the gym.

2. You’re not sure what you’re doing and decided to join a group class…

3.  Jane Fonda workouts aren’t doing it for you, you decide to go really hard-core and do a Boot Camp or really intense cycle class with intense music! Why? Because it’s the current trend and sounds fun.

4. You discover fat loss is 90% nutrition and it can also have an impact on joint health. Mind blown.

5.  You’re now getting more in touch with your body and have more awareness of how it feels. You feel you no longer want ‘distraction training’ and discover posture and how it affects movement and recovery on a mighty level.

6.  This might be the point where you hire a personal trainer, pilates instructor or osteopath because you want some structure and have read that program design is very important especially when individualised for your needs. Joint pain from previous bad exercise prescription in these wild classes from the past is also a concern.

7.  You thought it might be boring at first as you haven’t been jumping around wildly like in a concert while exercising but actually you’re feeling stronger and firmer. You’re also aware of how you feel when you eat certain things.  Tempo? Discovering tempo and the many facets of program design can change an entire exercise result by adjusting speed of the Reps, number of Reps, number of sets and rest periods. You wish you discovered this earlier,  it would’ve saved you enormous amounts of time and effort! Less can be much more.

8.  Discovering how important rest is from quality sleep to rest days has been one of the most important things you have ever discovered with exercise prescription. You had no idea you could get fatter from overtraining and burn your entire adrenal system out. Hormones are incredibly important and should be monitored, you now wonder why this is not common knowledge?

9. More knowledge bombs occur: 80% of your immune system is in the gut. After adjusting protocols you now digest your food properly, have less bloating and abdominal tone increases.  You understand a healthy gut produces more serotonin and makes you feel happier, a healthy gut makes you slimmer.  You’re astounded.

10. You now want to either hire a coach who really knows what they’re doing to combine all of this or research and combine what you can yourself, as the body is clearly a system of systems and not about thrashing yourself into a six pack in six weeks while wrecking your hormonal system and future results.  You want to take responsibility and follow intelligent protocols with priorities to focus on growth in this area for the rest of your life (not hacking a result or taking a magic pill which never lasts) and want to learn how to look after yourself!

11. End result: All the experience and mastering yourself has now got you thinking about what you can do next as you feel you can do anything and need a challenge for this ‘new you’… Everest, Triathlons, Marathons, Surf adventure, Swimming the channel, Mastering stress at work, Jujitsu? Something will spark a serious interest as you now know you can do it and go all the way with confidence!

What’s right for you?

A blueprint is needed for a complex building and you don’t just go for a walk and end up on top of mount Everest. The human body is infinitely more complex than either of those tasks… Planning and structure is essential for measurable results. Whereas relatively random movement can be used positively for stress relief, meditation and releasing endorphins also.

Beginners of 0-1 years experience of consistent training:

For those new to exercise and training I strongly suggest you get at least an initial assessment on your posture and fitness levels. Find out what imbalances you have and have a structured program to help rebalance these areas first. That’s not to say you can’t do classes, just lower impact work and sensible protocols as it’s highly likely as a beginner that your system isn’t at its optimal and therefore you must lay the foundation.  Also getting the right information on nutrition and hormone balance would be a very smart move, this will set the solid groundwork for what’s to come.

Intermediate 1- 3 years experience of consistent training:

At this stage you will know your body/mind more than a beginner, therefore as long as you have some structured training and nutrition protocols to counter you will be able to ‘self train’ with random energy expenditure too if you like high energy output classes to lose yourself in the moment.

Advanced 3+ years experience of consistent training:

You will now know what works and what doesn’t for you. This is in regards to nutrition, training, sleep and intensity in a holistic way.  You can train hard or train easy, you know what you need. You probably won’t gravitate towards random energy expenditure training as you will know it won’t get you the specific results you’re after but may want to incorporate it as a break in concentration for exercise. It’s time to pick a masterful goal!

The bottom line: if the end goal is self-mastery be careful where you start. Intelligent training is key no matter if you are a beginner or advanced athlete.

Enjoy the journey

Rupert Hambly