Melissa Powex • 19 January 2017
‘No Pain, No Gain’ is a major part of the fitness worlds’ way to help us conceptualise why we would put our bodies through pain with exercising….I personally think, however, that the phrase doesn’t promote what we should be focussing in.
Instead – The pain’s Are The Gain’s seems to fit more for me – and here’s why
1 - The pain after exercise means your muscles have worked. Your body will like you for doing it again…really!
2 – When you work your muscles, whether that be by walking, running, weights, circuits, HIIT - your muscles are being torn. The muscles are made up of 2 different muscle fibres (loosely speaking) that are incredibly clever! When the fibres are relaxed, they don’t interact, they’re totally fine hanging out next to each other. When your muscles need to work, these 2 muscle fibres need to connect and pull against each other to tense the muscle. Your body does this all day long, walking, talking, having a cup of tea. However…they are very used to the amount of force needed to achieve small movements (lift a cup of tea/wine). However….when your muscles are being worked, maybe just a slight increase from your norm your muscles ‘tear’. These tears are the reason for ‘No Pain No Gain’. After the muscles have torn – they repair to be bigger and stronger.
3 - You may have heard the term DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) which happens maybe a day after you’ve worked out. This used to be associated with Lactic Acid (a product your muscles produce when you work at a particular intensity)….but as science is wonderful and useless at times – scientists don’t think it’s anything to do with lactic acid any more, and are not actually sure why people get DOMS – but DOMS are painful.
4 - Here comes the good bit – when you rest/sleep/don’t exercise (for the next day or 2 days) your body recovers, but repairs the muscle to be stronger and bigger. This is what we want! This is the GAIN! The Pains Are The Gains!
5 - If you decide that one circuit class a week has caused so much pain that you are not going to exercise again until the following week, the gain is good for the first 2/3 days. But then your muscles do not remember the gain next time. So it may feel like you are never progressing. This is why 3 times a week is optimal. You could exercise, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and your muscles become accustomed to the exercise and actually are able to work more effectively, repair quicker, and you will feel less pain for less time if you stay exercising at that same intensity.
The Pains Are The Gains can be compared to other real life situations…
When you revise for an exam, or prepare for an interview – you read over and over and over, to make sure your brain is storing the knowledge you need to know. There are plenty of ways to learn the information (writing, listening, watching, reading). You may get a head ache from over exerting your brain, not fuelling your body with food and rest. However, the more you go over the information, the more you will remember it.
Part of my message is not reinventing the wheel – however, thinking about things in a more helping/positive/normal people friendly way! This is all about mindset and finding your own way to conceptualise exercise and the benefits that it holds for you.