No Pain, No Gain – the flip side

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Last week I discussed how the phrase “no pain, no gain” means don’t work through injury. This article will discuss the true essence of the phrase, which I take to mean, “you must endure (more than) being (slightly) uncomfortable to see changes and results.”

At a big box gym a women, who I guessed was between 64-66 years old, saw me using a foam roller and asked me what was so great about it. She had tried using it once and it was painful. I went on about all the benefits like, breaking up adhesions and scar tissue, improving blood flow, etc. that ultimately helps me move better so I get stronger and feel better. Her response was, “At this age, I don’t do things that hurt.” After a while I came back and asked her “Do you care about the quality of your life when you are at an advanced age?” I asked her because I know going through a little pain right now, like the pain of foam rolling to stay mobile, is well worth it if it will keep me independent and functional for the rest of my life. Her answer didn’t really shock me. It was “No, my mother is in a nursing home, I’ll probably be in a nursing home and I can’t control it.”

Challenge Yourself To Become Better

I’ve talked to this woman before, so I knew her personality enough to know there’s no changing her mind. She believes she is not in control of her life and won’t challenge herself if it’s uncomfortable in any way. She doesn’t really care about results; she cares about going through the motions and having a social hour with her friend.  Do you remember that this conversation took place in a gym, somewhere that you expect to get uncomfortable?

The fact that she wasn’t willing to go through a small amount of discomfort to get great benefit is incomprehensible to me. This is exactly what “No Pain, No Gain” means! You must endure, feel pain, sacrifice, or give up something in the short term to receive something so much greater and worth- while in the long term!

What It Takes

A fitness and health enthusiast who wants to be strong, healthy, fit and leaner works out hard and gives up having a glass of wine every night. A marathoner endures long training runs, which never seem to end, to be able to cross the 26.2-mile marker and feel the glory of achieving something unimaginable to most. A body builder takes excruciating measures to plan every morsel of food and does hours of intense exercise in hopes of winning an award. Athletes practice early in the morning and late at night when everyone else is sleeping or spending time with their family and friends just to get an edge over their competition.

It’s uncomfortable, it hurts, it’s time consuming, it stretches your mind to push through a workout that makes you want to puke, or makes your muscles burn, or makes you think your legs will fall off, but in the end, it’s worth it because you get gold!

p.s. This doesn’t mean that you have to push every workout to the point of your legs falling off, but come on, a little foam rolling won’t kill ya’!