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No pain, no muscle gain for beginners?

Lately, I often see the phrase “no pain, no gain” (“no pain, no reward”). The phrase may be good to motivate people in a certain way, but to be put into practice does not seem the most advisable thing to me.

In this post, I would like to tell you my opinion about why I consider that the phrase “no pain, no gain” is not the best option to progress in our workouts. Above all, I would like to focus it more on beginners, who are at higher risk of injury if they take this phrase very seriously.

It is very normal to hear people who do physical exercise say that both the aches, discomfort, or pain that we feel after each workout, act as an effective method to optimize our progress.

From my point of view, this is not the best way to progress. Personally, if something hurts or causes me too much discomfort, I immediately know that I have failed at some point in training. One possible cause is that you have not used good technique and have been performing the exercise incorrectly. Instead of thinking “I’m doing well, I feel a lot of pain and I must continue like this”, you have to look for a possible cause and solution for why this is happening.

You don’t have to go to training with the mentality that you have to be suffering all the time. Things can be done with great intensity and feeling that what has been done is worthwhile. At no time should we think that a persistent discomfort is making our progress, we do not even have to settle for it, but we must remedy it.

The phrase, as I have already said, can be truly motivating. It is clear that you have to work hard and be persistent to reach the end goal. There’s no doubt. But from there to that we have to feel pain every time we train to ensure good progress and think that it has served for something.

Also, regarding the issue of stiffness, I remind you that it is not a sign of progress. Having soreness is not related to optimizing results. A person seeking soreness or pain will increase their risk of injury and/or prevent them from engaging in proper workouts.

Therefore, instead of progressing, what will happen is that we will worsen our results. Everything that has been achieved so far would begin to be lost by paying attention to this type of myth.

But what about beginners? Should they 100% heed this phrase? My answer is no. It is not for the simple reason that someone who begins to do physical exercise does not fully know what the limit of it is. The desire to improve is inevitable, and instead of doing quality workouts, he will seek to do hard, heavy workouts that, ultimately, do not suit him.

From a beginner to someone advanced, you must know the difference between training clearly and intelligently, working hard and without any technique. I’m not saying that beginners don’t try hard, no, on the contrary. The effort and intensity with which they do things will pay off, but always with a head and with great patience.

Also, many people will not do a workout if it hurts. If it is already difficult for them to get to it, imagine if we tell them that day after day they will suffer pain in each training session. You may feel sore and weak in the initial weeks of a training program, but when the pain persists too long, it is the right time to stop and recover.

I hope that everything you do is correct and healthy and that you run away from similar things that prevent you from continuing to improve. We must always strive with everything, but in this case, the effort does not mean suffering the most.

A hug to all, see you in the next post!

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Shawna Anderson

Bsc in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the Complutense University of Madrid. I love writing about nutrition and health and related topics. I have written for some famous newspapers and magazines for the last 6 years.

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