What is Pain’s Role in Exercise?
Back in the ’80′s there was the old bodybuilding mantra “No pain, no gain.” Of course what they meant by “pain” is the muscles working and fatiguing, not the pain of an injury occurring.
And they’re right. If you don’t work your muscles, you’re not going to gain a thing.
But since most people are so averse to moving their bodies – and consider even the slightest movement like walking up a flight of stairs to be torture – they associate exercise fatigue as pain.
And some don’t even know the difference between that and injury pain; they think it’s the same thing. But they’re not – though sometimes sloppy and haphazard exercising can lead to injury.
If you feel like something’s going to rip, tear, snap, pop, break or anything else that’s bad, then you’re not exercising correctly. Stop immediately. You’re doing your body more harm than good.
Slow it down, start from the beginning, and test the waters of your movement to see if things are okay. Slowly and gradually push the envelope.
Now, in regards to the good exercise fatigue (which is not pain), that needs to be approached slowly, too.
Each workout, regardless of level, is based on how your body is feeling at that precise moment, not on what you did in the past or think you should do, but what you can do right now.
If you’re a beginner, don’t kill yourself exercising. Don’t go brutal. Going through the motions at first is fine until you get used to training. Start slowly increasing the intensity so you’re always pushing a little more. That might mean one more pushup or going a little bit faster. Keep building on this each workout if you’re up to it.
Beginners might be physically ready to push very hard but mentally they’re not, at least not doing so consistently. A beginner’s role is to acclimate his body and mind to the long term habit of consistently exercising.
Hardcore training for the beginner, even if it doesn’t result in physical injury, will usually result in mental pain – mental fatigue, disdain for working out – which will ultimately lead to quitting. Very few beginners are able to push hard for a long time without quitting.
Yes, I fully understand the desire to get to the goal as fast as you can but if you don’t take a long term approach you’re never going to get there.
Fitness is a process. Start from the start and move. There are no skipping steps.
When you get to the advanced level, then you can start playing around with the hardcore brutality of pushing yourself to the extreme where you go animal or go home. You’ll intuitively understand what your body and your mind can handle, and you’ll understand what it needs each workout.
Building the proper mental and physical foundation is the most important thing for your fitness success.
Pain, whether it’s physical or mental, has no role in fitness.
All the best,
P.S. To understand how to progress through the process of physical supremacy, check out my courses here…