No Pain, No Gain: Simple Truth or Popular Myth?

It’s a statement that has likely been drilled into your head for as long as you can remember. But is there really no gain without pain, and is it actually a truthful statement to follow?

There’s no question that keeping fit is desirable for everyone. Everybody wants a healthy body, and that requires exercise. But where does the limit come in to play?

Some individuals consider a workout as non-effective unless they’re sore and aching all over by the end of it. For others, this is viewed as a dangerous sentiment that encourages people to push themselves to the brink of injury.

With varying opinions on the matter, it’s time to get to the bottom of things. Read on to discover whether “no pain, no gain” is a fact, or simply a myth that you’ve been lead to believe in.

Everyone Has a Limit

On one hand, there are specific types of ‘pain’ that you can expect to feel when working out.

An example of this would be the burning sensation you may experience when performing a specific set of exercises, such as your leg muscles during a squat. This burning pain is caused by the production of lactic acid, and shouldn’t last more than a minute or so after you’ve stopped exercising.

It’s common knowledge that in certain cases, such as when you’re trying to build up your muscles, that you will be required to exert yourself in order to progress and achieve your fitness goal.

When this happens, you’re almost certainly going to feel achy and sore for the next couple of days. Even then, however, you’re going to need to take the time to rest before you attempt to exercise again.

You never want to reach a level where all you’re getting is ‘all pain, no gain’. It’s said that almost 500,000 people experienced exercise-related injuries in the past year alone.

People push themselves to feeling pain, fail to understand the risk, and continue to exercise not realizing that it can lead to a serious injury. This can seriously hinder any progress you may have made.

Recognize When to Stop

For anyone looking to get in shape, it’s important to learn that aches and pains are a sign of your body telling you to stop, not to push through. There’s a misguided belief that if you don’t feel pain, that you’re not making progress. This is completely false.

In reality, it’s far better to rest your muscles so that you’re able to work out to the best of your ability the next time.

Signs that you’ve reached your limit without taking yourself to the point of pain can include feeling extremely tired, no longer being able to perform your exercises with the correct technique or posture, or feeling overly shaky or sick. At this point, it’s time to stop.

All Pain, No Gain

It’s a complete myth to think that you should feel pain when exercising.

While it’s common to experience a level of soreness after a healthy workout, you need to be able to differentiate between this and when you’ve pushed yourself to the point of pain or are heading towards an injury. This is a mistake that many make.

A lot of people consider their aching, hurting body to be a sign that they’ve had a good workout. There are far healthier ways to track your progress that don’t risk your wellbeing, such as keeping a workout journal, tracking the weights you use each session, and so on.

Learn how to intensify your workouts whilst knowing when to stop. Over-training or completing too many different exercises can cause microtrauma to the muscle, so be sure to allow muscle pain to ease and heal before next hitting the gym.

Signs of an Injury

The most important sign to look out for that you’re taking things too far are sharp pains that occur suddenly during exercise or bad aches that last for days.

If you’re trying out a new exercise that immediately causes you pain, stop. This is a notice from your body to take things easy or to consult a doctor. Anything that feels more than tension, stretching or a light burn is not normal.

Don’t try to work through the pain, you could very well end up making things worse.

Many individuals choose to follow and believe in the misguided “no pain, no gain” motto because they believe it will speed up their fitness progress. In fact, it’s better to slowly build your body up and resist injury, rather than overworking yourself and hindering your progress.

Over time, your workouts will be able to intensify and you will see significant changes without putting your body through any strain. Don’t look to others who appear to be doing more, but trust your process.

Is “No Pain, No Gain” True?

The bottom line is that you should never ignore or try to work through any sort of pain or long-lasting aches that you feel in your body.

Many sports and forms of exercise do require intense workouts, and while it’s good to push yourself, you should never take yourself past your limit.

Blindly following the “no pain, no gain” statement is likely to lead to injury. It’s important to learn your personal limits, build up to high-intensity workouts over time, and take the adequate rest periods that you require so that you can safely continue on with your fitness journey.

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