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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Pain no Gain - Train out your Pain

"Train through the Pain"
"Push through the Pain"
"No Pain no Gain"
"Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body"
"If you do not Test the System you Will not get Stronger"

You might have heard coaches, trainers or therapists say phrases like these or see "motivational" memes floating around on social media. STOP AND THINK

Training or rehabilitating through pain breaks down your body and causes damage to tissues. It is counterproductive and can slow, or even reverse progress. 

Pain is weakness entering the body

This graph is an awesome visual of what happens when someone overtrains or overreaches or trains through pain. The body is broken down repeatedly and health and performance eventually decrease as a result.

In this article you will learn about:

  1. Context - What is pain and some misconceptions surrounding it
  2. Compare - How to differentiate pain from soreness and lactic acid burn
  3. Train out Pain - How to progressively build up your body without ANY pain


Before we go any further let's look at what pain actually is in the context of training, rehab and exercise.

Pain is a neurological response your brain sends when your body is in a compromising situation, position or movement. It is an uncomfortable sensation designed to make you avoid tissue or structural damage to your body. 

There are other reasons and factors humans experience pain such as 
  • Every individual will experience pain differently
  • Pain thresholds vary from one individual to another
  • Chronic Pain
  • Hormones or Nutrition
  • Neurological Factors
For the purpose of this article, we will focus on pain in the context of training and rehab.

Compare - Pain vs Muscle Soreness vs Lactic Acid Burn


What is it?

Pain is a neurological response our body feels in response to a compromising movement or position. It is a signal warning us that tissues and structures are being compromised. The tissues are too weak or broken down to handle what they are being asked to do. AVOID.

What does it feel like?

A sudden sharp feeling of pain. Can be experienced in muscles or in and around joints. Weakness in certain positions or movements is also often accompanied by pain.

Muscle Soreness 

What is it?

Micro tears in the muscle belly as a result of physical exercise. This is normal to experience post-competition or training. The body will build itself back up stronger to be able to better handle the activity next time. THIS IS GOOD (within reason, stay tuned for a future blog post on this topic)

What does it feel like?

Dull soreness and stiffness in the muscle belly. Range of motion may be slightly restricted but will return through mobilization exercises or rest.

Lactic Acid Burn

What is it?

Build up of lactic acid in your muscles during short bouts of strenuous anaerobic (no oxygen needed) activity such as sprinting. 

What does it feel like?

Burning sensation in muscles. Will subside quickly with rest. This is the "pain" many trainers or therapists are talking about when they say to train through pain. Language is important as many people do not understand the difference! BURN IS GOOD!

Train out Pain - Progressively Build up your Body without any Pain!

It is important to note that while I am advising to avoid pain during exercise, this does not mean you should simply rest or treat your pain using remedies. This will not fix the problem or eliminate pain. Often people experience pain due to muscle tightness or overuse. 

For example:
An athlete who experiences knee pain during activity and is advised to simply rest, ice and take anti-inflammatories. The pain subsides after some time but returns as soon as the athlete returns to sport. Often the pain can be worse than before!

Train out Pain...

When training for athleticism, general health, pre or rehabbing keep these points in mind. 

  1.  Mobilize through strengthening. Strength through Length! This will improve the strength of your muscles in greater ranges of motion allowing for better protection from injury and improved performance.
  2. Increase blood flow. Exercises that increase blood flow will help speed up recovery better than massage, ice or heat. This will lead to healthier tendons and stronger joints.
  3. Progressive overload. Focus on avoiding pain first, then as your mobility and strength improve slowly progress to higher reps or intensity. AVOID PAIN at all costs.

Final Thought

One thing I have noticed in the fitness community is that most people associate working out or training with pain and suffering. Its seen as "good workout" if your body is sore as hell and broken down the following day. Often you can see people on social media saying things like "spin class fucked me up" or "I could barely walk the next day".

Maybe if fitness wasn't seen as "pushing through the pain" or "grinding" people wouldn't find it so hard to keep up with their workouts.

While it is true that pushing yourself will elicit results, I would suggest that this might not be the best way to go about it.  

Think about it...

Maybe people would find it easier to motivate themselves to work out if they associated exercise with positive feelings and actually feeling better than they did prior to the workout! 

Stay tuned for a future post where I will outline a few ways how you can do this! 

Please share if you learned something, or if you have any questions feel free to reach out!

Check out these articles and our IG page for more workouts designed to train out pain!

Thank you for reading!

WhatsApp: +1 204 891 6851

The information above is not a substitute for medical advice. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, it is always better to see your doctor before starting any type of rehabilitation to ensure you are properly diagnosed.

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