No Pain, No Gain!!
We have all heard this saying, and a lot of people in the fitness world live by this statement. Some people feel if they’re not feeling pain during their workouts and afterwards, they need to keep pushing their bodies harder and harder. Are these people wrong?
Should Pain be Completely Avoided During and After a Workout?
My answer is, it depends.
When you first start exercising, you are working muscles that have probably never been worked, or you’re moving muscles in a completely different way. Regardless, tender muscles after the fact are usually a reality. This tenderness can be a good thing. It’s a reminder that you need some recovery time between workouts. Exercise related injuries often happen when a person tries to do too much, too quickly. My favourite form of exercise to perform with beginners, is body weight training.
If you’ve been working out for years, you may or may not feel exercise pain after a workout. Studies show there’s a lot of variability across the soreness people feel after exercising, even between people with similar genetics and training backgrounds. Changing up your routines regularly, often causes more muscles tenderness because your body is forced to constantly move the muscles in different ways. However, I don’t believe that post-workout soreness should be used as an indicator of a good workout. No exercising pain afterwards is a sign that your body’s getting fitter and stronger; it’s able to handle new exercise challenges more efficiently.
Regardless of your fitness level, there is a good versus a bad exercise pain that you should understand the differences between.
Features of Good Exercise Pain
- The discomfort feels like a muscle ‘burn’, versus a ‘sharp pain or tweak’
- The burn is short term, lasting only 1-2 days
- You feel the burn in the body parts you exercised
- The burn is felt equally in both sides of the body
- The discomfort is felt in the muscle, not a joint
Features of Bad Exercise Pain
- You feel a deep sharp pain or tweak
- The pain lasts longer than 2 days
- You feel the burn in body parts that you didn’t exercise
- The pain is felt in only one side of the body
- You get swelling afterwards
It’s key for you eliminate bad pain from your workouts. If you’re a beginner, start off slowly and build up the reps you perform and the weights you lift, over time. It’s better to be conservative in the gym at the start. Really focus on your form in each exercise and listen to your body. If you’re unsure of how to perform an exercise, don’t be afraid to ask a professional.
To Sum It Up…
If you’re trying new things out in the gym, you may sometimes feel pain, which should really feel more like a muscle burn, after working out. Don’t push yourself too hard while exercising. No pain, no gain is not a slogan I believe in.
Source: Workout conundrum: Is that good pain or bad pain?, Gabriella Boston, Washington Post, March 2018.