We have all heard the phrases such as “No Pain No Gain”, but this statement could not be further from the truth. “No Pain No Gain” is such a crazy statement that you would never say about other parts of your life. You would never go to your hairdresser who hurts you the whole time you are there and then go back to the same hairdresser the next time. When we read this statement, we think of physical pain, discomfort and misery. Training should be none of these.

Let’s be honest if you are going to train and feel pain afterwards you are going to hate it, you will be miserable, and you will not want to continue training for the long term. I for one definitely wouldn’t want to. Training in the right environment, with the right coaches or the correct program, should leave you feeling better than you did before you start training. You should feel stronger, more confident and be moving better as a result of training. Sure you might have some sore muscles every once in a while but not chronic pain.

There is a huge difference between muscle soreness and pain though. Muscle soreness is something which can come on in the 24hrs-72hrs after training it’s a little hint from your body letting you know you worked the muscles. Muscle soreness won’t last too long and shouldn’t stop you from doing things. This is where pain differs. Pain usually appears during training or after training and can last longer. It may keep you from doing things if severe.

Training should be an enjoyable experience which also challenges you. You should be aiming to challenge yourself to achieve the goals you set out, but it should not be the bane of your life. Training should be a tool to enhance your health, lifestyle, confidence and your movement. Training should improve your ability to carry out day to day tasks, feel fitter, and give you energy, a capacity to play with your kids, confidence and feeling good about yourself. If all your training is causing you is a pain then you will not make progress, you will not achieve the goals you set out to achieve, and you will more than likely stop training or have to stop training due to injury.

For myself, as a coach, the best achievement to date was a client, who came to the gym with bad mobility and issues with her back. The client was struggling day to day to carry out simple tasks everything seemed to be a challenge. The client had kids and couldn’t play with them because she found it hard to move around or get onto the floor.

Obviously, this was upsetting and ruining her motivation to do anything. What happened when the client started to train?

She worked out smart not killing herself every session. The aim was to not cause pain while training. After ten weeks the customer was walking, felt better in themselves, was practically pain-free, and could play and run with their kids. This is the way training should enhance your life.

The message is to train smart, enjoy your training and don’t run your body into the ground. Do not constantly be in pain, miserable and less motivated than when you started.

Dean Mckirnan