Process Training Vs. End Point Training
By Will Brink
The title of this blog is not actually a type of training, but a personality type. People who train only to achieve an endpoint I refer to as “Endpoint Trainers” and those who integrate and internalize the process of training into their life, I call Process Trainers. The endpoint Trainer is always focused on the endpoint, and views the process of training as just a means to an end to achieve that end point/goal.
Perfect example of that is the person who is training to hit a specific goal of losing 30lbs, and once they achieve that goal, stop training. People who enter a weight loss contest at work or at the gym, achieve that goal, then stop exercising. This phenomena is not limited to weight loss by any means. We see it a lot with high level athletes at the college and professional levels. Once they stop playing the sport, they stop exercising altogether. I have seen this way too many times to count.
This personality type gets so focused on achieving the end point, seeing the training as simply the means to an end – vs. an integral part of their life – once they reach the endpoint, or worse, fail to reach it when they think they should, they quit. I know many bodybuilders for example who, if they don’t have a specific show to train for, they lose all motivation to workout. I know figure and fitness competitors who are also just like that: if they don’t have a show to diet and train for, they lose all motivation to train at all. No show, no motivation, so they are continuously getting ready for next years show…
Now, The Process Trainer views the very process of training as an important and integrated part of their life. They take pleasure in the process, and don’t need a specific endpoint to motivate them to exercise. Of course they enjoy the results of that training, and strive to reach various endpoints/goals of personal value (e.g., gaining X lbs of muscle, or a personal best at a powerlifting meet, or dropping bodyfat, etc.) but they don’t require a specific endpoint to happen by a specific time to stay motivated. The training itself is its own reward. They know they will have good days, they know they will have bad days, they know life has a habit of throwing a monkey wrench into our grand plans, and they find a way to work with it, around it, or through it, but they don’t quit.
I find Endpoint Trainers to be temporary trainers, as you can’t play sports forever, you can’t gain muscle and strength forever, and you can’t lose weight or compete in bodybuilding or figure forever. It comes to an end, due to age, injuries, or just life, and they quit training. I find they become easily discouraged if things don’t go exactly according to plan as they expect it to. They have never truly come to realize the process is part of the journey and the enjoyment.
The Process Trainer realizes there will be set backs, plateaus, road blocks, and various other realities of life that will conspire to make it difficult to get to the gym, or the track, or the pool, or what ever, but they carry on. Process Trainers don’t like missing time from their training anymore then the next person, but they don’t sweat it either, because they see the long term process, and know year in and year out, they will be there… Process Trainers set goals, achieve them, and move on. More importantly, Process Trainers realize not all goals will be met at the time they expected, but they know they will be back another day to try it again.
The Endpoint Trainer, who sees training as a means to an end vs. part of the benefits of being alive, and enjoying the process, will get frustrated when a goal is not met at exactly the time they planned it, in the way they planned it, and quit. Or, as mentioned above, will reach a specific goal (endpoint), and either find a new goal/endpoint to fixate on, or simply stop training.
The Process Trainer is a life long trainer, who can and will deal with the good and the bad; The Endpoint Trainer, by definition, is not a life long trainer. So look in the mirror and be honest with yourself, are you an Endpoint Trainer or a Process Trainer? If the former, you need to make a paradigm shift in your approach to life long health and fitness, or you will not have life long health and fitness…
See you in the gym!

  1. Jeremy Nelms 16 years ago

    GREAT blog post and paradigm shift. Thanks!
    Jeremy Nelms

  2. Author
    Will Brink 16 years ago

    Thanx Jeremy!

  3. fairlane 16 years ago

    Great philosophy Will. I have always thought of myself as a Process Trainer. To me training isn’t just a tool, it’s a way of life. It’s not meant to be bogged down and cause frustration just because life gets in the way. I’ve been doing this for years, and I remember when I was starting out I had such drive that if I didn’t get in there for some reason, that was it, I failed. I had to start over again. Now, older and wiser, and more experienced, I see my wife, who is only now starting out, behave the same. It’s nice to see she has developed determination, but she is also exhibiting those same reactions “Ugh, I should’ve gone in there today, What’s wrong with me?!”. I smile and tell her, “It’s OK sweet stuff, no worries”. Things happen, just get in there tomorrow.” 🙂

  4. Heather 16 years ago

    Great post will. Sad tho think that at one time I used to be one of those end point trainers. Now my outlook on fitness had done a 180, and a process trainer is what I am and will forever be. training is part of my life, it makes me feel and look good and anybody who ever wants to let go of that is crazy!

  5. Author
    Will Brink 16 years ago

    Heather, some people can make that switch, but many can’t. It’s amazing to me how often I hear the statement “I have not done any exercise since I stopped competing in X sport” and other similar statements.

  6. Wayne 16 years ago

    Terrific Post Will. Thank You for opening my eyes. Years back I see that I was a end point trainer and failed miserably because I could not reach the goals I set for myself. Stopped training altogether and now that I am older and much wiser I see that I need the training to keep myself physicaly strong and Healthy. Indeed it is a life style.

  7. john 16 years ago

    I started out , probably as an “endpoint ” trainer. I was involved in the sport of competetive rowing for close to ten years.
    Rowing is extremely goal oriented. I am no longer competetive in rowing, But I want to remaim fit and Healthy. Process training will hopefully work for me, thanks.

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  9. Anthony 10 years ago

    I suppose that the same can be said of ‘dieting’ versus healthy eating. Dieters are ‘endpoint eaters’, i.e. they will diet down to a specific goal weight then often revert to their old ways again. Those looking to live a healthy lifestyle are more ‘process eaters’ and doing it for the enjoyment of striving to be ever healthier.
    The problem for nutritionists is how do we convert people from endpoint eaters to process eaters?

  10. Dan 6 months ago

    At 61 as I look back I can see that I started as an endpoint trainer. Somewhere in my 20’s I fell in love with the lifestyle. Over time I’ve had some injuries due to poor training techniques. I’m still at the gym most days enjoying the company, lifestyle and process. I agree with you Will but I think it’s also age related. I’ve wondered why some of the bodybuilding greats stop and let themselves go.

  11. Stephen Cartwright 5 months ago

    Good article. Though I think “Process” trainers are by far the minority. Is this true Will?
    I tend to think “End Point” and “Process Trainers” are probably more personality traits than pure training traits. This type of dichotomy is exhibited in many aspects of life.
    I also wonder about the terms to describe certain types of trainers. “End Point” trainers I understand and is self explanatory. However, the term “Process” to describe certain resistance exercise trainers is not so obvious. Why was this term chosen?
    I would have thought the the term “Lifestyle” trainers or a popular wanker term like “wellness” trainers would have been more appropriate.

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