No Physical Pain, No Fitness Gain!

If you want to enjoy the benefits of exercise, get fit and get the physique of your dreams, then you've got to be prepared to push through the pain.

a man exercising on a rowing machine at a very high intensity


In this article I will argued that we should be regularly engaging in high intensity training. That at a minimum at least one exercise session a week should induce physical discomfort. In addition, it will be shown that failure to over-exert physiological systems – the muscular, cardiovascular (heart) and respiratory (lungs/diaphragm) systems – will result in physical stagnation and/or decline.

But first an anecdote

I was half way through a gruelling circuit and, after completing a nasty series of inclines on the treadmill, progressed onto the rowing machine where I would spend the next 40 minutes fighting to keep the pace below 2:00/500m. Though wearied and feeling lightheaded from fatigue I remember as I sat on the rower a fat woman on the adjacent cross-trainer turn to me and, like Napoleon from his high horse, say, ‘You should be enjoying it.’

When I found my breath and wiped the stinging sweat from my blinking eyes I refuted her statement and informed her that physiological adaptations – that is, improved fitness – will not take place in the absence of intense physical exertion. She smiled sympathetically and went back to watching the collage of flat screen TVs that were suspended in front of the CV equipment.

The majority of people who engage in physical exercise stick to the same routine and complete that routine at the same level of intensity. The ubiquitous yet erroneous belief that any exercise is better than no exercise is perhaps partly responsible for why few people ever exert themselves during physical training.

It seems as though many people who engage in some form of exercise have fallen into the assumption that physical development and the associative health benefits will be conferred by proxy of merely entering a gym, or donning training attire.

This of course is not true and that fat woman proves the falsity. At the time I worked at the gym that provides the setting for the anecdote and that woman had been a member for many years. Yet, even though she exercised three times a week, her disastrous state of health never improved. Of course, I suspect her diet and lifestyle played a significant role in this also.

Another reason that may well explain why a substantial number of people think this way is due to the misrepresentation of reality perpetuated by ‘health gurus’ who have obtained substantial notoriety.

Lean in 15? Total rubbish!