The Myth of “No Pain, No Gain”, and What it Really Means | H4 Training

Jan12The Myth of “No Pain, No Gain”, and What it Really Means

If you’re in the fitness space, either as a trainer or a gym-goer, you’ve probably heard of this phrase before: No pain, no gain. In many peoples’ heads, it’s the philosophy that in order to achieve your fitness goals you must go through pain.

While that’s technically true, the part that most people get wrong is the kind of pain the phrase is referring to.

Pain ≠ Gain

True pain – like inflamed joints, muscle tears, strains, and the like is the kind of pain you want to avoid. Training straight through injuries is a surefire way to regress further away from your goals. Training through an injury can make it worse, which makes your workout worse, and it might get so bad that you have to take time off from training completely – which puts you further back. Now, we can work AROUND injuries and do prehab exercises to speed up recovery, but that is a topic for another article.

Another form of pain or sacrifice that people think they need to endure is constantly training themselves into the ground. Training hard is good, but intensity must be undulated. Just like you shouldn’t beat your car up by flooring it constantly, you shouldn’t work yourself to the point of nausea or feeling like you can’t walk.

Training should be challenging, and it should be difficult, but you should leave feeling energized and ready for the rest of your day. Note: if you just started working out, you might feel more sore or tired than someone that has been training for a little while.

What Kind of Pain is Ok?

The kind of “pain” we are talking about isn’t really that bad; it’s not joint pain or killing yourself in the gym.

It is the discomfort of a hard workout, the discipline of waking up early to work out or doing so after a long day of work, and sticking to a healthier diet that you might not be accustomed to. It’s the hard things. The things you probably don’t really want to do but have to do if you want to achieve better health (and even then, they don’t have to be so hard; start with small tasks that are easier to achieve success with).

So to reiterate: discomfort, challenging, and difficult are all words that you might use to describe the process and that is OK. Pain, as in real joint or muscle pain (sharp)  is not OK. Once you understand the difference, you’ll be in a better place to work towards your goals.