No Pain, No Gain? How Hard Should I Be Pushing Myself?

You’re half way through a difficult session and you’ve had enough. You’re tired, your muscles ache and your trainer’s motivational words are no longer reaching your ears. You’ve heard the expression “no pain no gain” many times but what does it mean and when should you stop?

Pacing Yourself

One of the important lessons in any form of exercise is learning to pace yourself. That requires a little forethought and strategy. For example, when you run a marathon, do you start out sprinting and giving 100% of your energy or do you hold a little back to see you through? In any workout, the same principles apply. Case being, if you have a 40-minute intense workout and you’re not taking breaks then this may be the reason why you’re quitting early.

Timed breaks can keep you moving faster in the long run. They can also prevent injury to your body. So, try a 10-second break between movements or a 30 second stop midway through to reset your breathing. Pacing yourself also means taking rest days from your exercise. 3-5 workouts per week is great but you need those rest days sprinkled in to help your body to heal and grow stronger.

How Should You Feel?

Many people don’t really know the difference between challenging themselves and pushing themselves too far. If exercise is new to you then you may believe you have hit your physical limits earlier than you actually have. There’s usually more gas in the tank!

Here’s a helpful checklist if you’re not sure.

It’s normal that you:

  • Feel that your heart rate is elevated
  • Are sweating or at least feel hot
  • Sometimes feel a little dizzy or sick
  • Feel an ache in your muscles
  • Feel a little discomfort or tiredness

When to stop:

  • You feel pain in a certain part of your body
  • Your dizziness or sickness persists longer than a few minutes
  • Your heart rate is irregular or excessively fast
  • You experience any sharp or unexpected pains

Above all else, it’s important to understand the difference between discomfort and pain. Pushing through pain is not what we suggest and we need to help you to learn where your limits are. And remember, the closer you get to failure when completing an exercise the closer you are getting to pushing your limits – so don’t be afraid to fail! You’ll be faster, fitter and stronger on the next attempt!

Ready to start pushing yourself and learning those limits? Sign up for a trial with us today!

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Fitness is not about being better than someone else…  IT IS ABOUT BEING BETTER THAN YOU USED TO BE.
— Gordon Slanquit, Personal Trainer Association

When you’re finished with your workout, hang from a pull-up bar and simply relax. Then, walk on the treadmill or outside for about 15 minutes to improve circulation and ensure that your arms recover adequately.

Do this routine two to three days a week, but vary the volume of sets based on feel.

But, don’t stop after the workout ends. Use your arms throughout the day: make a fist, lift objects, glove up and hit a bag, carry your office bag with your grip, not your shoulder.

Here’s how it works:

Perform the first three moves one after another (Handstand Pushup Hold, Pledge Plank, Barbell Curl).
Rest 45-60 seconds between exercises.
That’s one set.  Do up to 5-8 sets of these. Then, move on to the final two moves. Complete as many sets as possible with 30 seconds rest maximum. “You go until your form breaks, meaning you have nothing left”

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