No Pain, No Gain?*

Friday, 12 April 2019, By Esther Nair

 

Getting fit isn't as simple as hitting the gym a couple times a week. In order to see maximum results, targeting your workout to meet your fitness goals is important. Whether you want to lose 10kg, increase strength and endurance or build some serious muscle mass…when it comes to fitness, work smarter not harder.

 

Maybe you are the type who picks their favourite exercises when you train. More often than not… your favourite exercises are likely not the ones you should be doing! If you do the exercises you find comfortable all the time, that's not getting you training as hard as you should be to get results. Mixing up your gym routine is crucial in order to evenly tone your body, and stay safe while exercising. Doing the same moves day after day can over-develop certain muscles, while not engaging others. Having muscle groups that are uneven in strength can lead to compensation movements, muscle strain, or injury, so focus on staying well rounded. Don't just exist in your workout, train, improve, do something you've never done before, always push to improve.

 

In the fitness industry "no pain, no gain" has always been the motto. It's time to think about training for longevity and picking exercises that use resistance in a way to keep our joints strong, movements that train the total kinetic chain instead of just pounding the ground.

 

Gym-goers need to understand within their body what pain is. There's a difference between discomfort and pain. It's possible to feel a "good sore" during a workout.
For example, if you are working to build strength and endurance in your legs with a squat movement, you may experience some burning in your muscles during the exercise. That burn is the lactic acid moving out of the muscles and the feeling should go away 30 seconds to one minute after you stop exercising.

Your body is only comfortable giving you a certain level, beyond it…It doesn't like it! While it's absolutely true that you should push yourself and try to extend the limits of your endurance when you exercise, it's not true at all that the best workouts are the ones that leave you feeling horrible, sore and broken the next day. Discomfort is natural, but pain is not !

 

So, what is that soreness you get a day or two after working out? It's called DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) DOMS is the tenderness and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. It turns out that strenuous exercise leads to microscopic tears in the muscle, which leads to inflammation and soreness. This sounds bad but the muscle damage is an important step in the muscle getting bigger and stronger. Your muscles are made up of protein filaments that shorten, leading to a contraction. Essentially, as your body repairs those microscopic tears, you are building new, healthy and stronger muscle tissue (another reason to hit those protein goals!). This is also the reason why weight training encourages you to increase the resistance of your weights as you get accustomed to one level. It's only through this process that you actually get stronger and build more muscle. If you want to avoid that soreness, you need to start your exercise program slowly and ramp up over time, don't do too much before you and your body are ready

 

On a final note, you don't have to experience pain to know you've reached your limit. When posture and technique become compromised due to fatigue, it's time to give it a rest. The best way to be sure you are maintaining proper posture and technique during your workout is to work with a professional fitness trainer who can spot a breakdown in form and posture during your workout. You aren't getting the most of your workout when you perform your programme with improper or sloppy form.

 

Train smarter. Whether you're training for fat loss, power, speed, endurance, size or strength. It's important to have a plan in place to allow you to realise the best aspects of those goals without breaking your body down to the point where you are either getting injured or you simply just can't recover. It's not just about training hard, it's about how SMART you can train hard.

 

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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