No pain No gain has been a very powerful motto for a long time in gyms and many such fitness centres. It works well in the minds of freshies coming there. They feel motivated. They push themselves harder than they could ever do on any normal day. But more often than not, this results in an injury.
And (assuming, you’re one of these freshies too, or soon to become one) you wouldn’t enjoy time off in an injury, would you? No, right. So fundamentally, we must question the basis behind this slang, prevalent since the 1980s.
Does working beyond the edge of our capacities really bore any fruit in the future? Is there any such thing as stress-induced progress? Do we have to become David Goggins in our lives to achieve fitness? Does it produce results as endearing as it sounds?
Let’s find out!
No pain, no gain?
So, this slogan does work. But it doesn’t work on everything related to fitness. It is good to have no pain no gain mentality while doing one set of physical activities. But all other activities apart from it, this saying doesn’t go well. I’ll discuss all these sets of activities in detail now so that you get an idea of why this motto works in some activities but not in all of them.
I think the world of weight training or strength training is where this motto is most popular. It’s all over the posters on the gym walls. So that whenever, you’ve reached your critical point, and want to push more, you find the motivation to do it. You believe in the sacrifice of comfort for the gain of results.
But is it true? YESS..
Why? See, the primary objective of any strength training regime is to build muscles. And as our gyms say, the only way to build muscle is to get out of your comfort zone. Our body can build muscle only when the damaged muscle fibres are fused during their repair time. As a result, you have to go beyond your discomforting point to get better results or if I put it, a progressive workload. E.g – If you could do 5 push-ups at a time, you have to do 7 push-ups to get the results you want and increase it more gradually. But remember, you have to give your muscles a good amount of rest as well so that they don’t become sore.
Aerobic exercise includes all the activities where you can burn calories like running, swimming, playing soccer, etc.
Now, you don’t have to run every time till you faint down on the track or swim some more meters after the point of discomfort as they will not help you increase any speed. However, it may improve your strength and endurance.
Even professional athletes refrain from such painful runs or laps in the pool oftentimes. As such extremes of activity lead to unhealthy heartbeat and chest pain. Ultimately resulting in a cardiovascular disease later in life, which nobody wants.
Whole body workouts-
When you’re doing a whole-body workout and you suddenly start feeling pain in the muscle or any other part of your body, you must STOP!!
When there is pain in muscle or bone, it is not a good thing and certainly not a thing with which you can continue working out without facing a consequence later. You have to have some mercy on your body in these cases.
Stretching is a great exercise to do after your workout as it improves our flexibility, and blood circulation and helps in eliminating lactic acid.
But don’t go too far with your stretching EVER!! Because if you stretch with a lot of tension, you may end up having problems ranging from microscopic tears in the tissues to full tears of muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Always go till there is mild tension between your muscles.
I agree that some people can stretch beyond their pain points. But they are mostly professionals with enough expertise in that area. And fortunately, you don’t have to stretch like these professionals to reap the benefits of it.
So, now let’s conclude all the things.
Don’t go further with the pain in your chest when running or any other aerobic exercise. Neither with muscle pain or body aches during workouts nor with pain due to extreme tension caused by stretching.
You can and should go beyond your pain point when you’re doing strength training (Here I am referring to progressive overload). Or in your runs to increase your endurance. (Just remember that, to increase your endurance, you don’t have to run till your collapse point every time.)
One last tip I would like to share is that even when you’re doing strength training or any other thing associated with No pain, no gain, just give enough rest to your body before your next training session.
I think now, you have enough knowledge about the question “no pain, no gain – myth or fact? ” and you certainly know now that the answer is not objective.
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