Letting go of the 'No Pain, No Gain' mentality
“I did two classes today and my body is SO dead I can barely go up the stairs”.
“When I got home from work my body really wasn’t ready to move and I had no energy, but I did it anyway because NO PAIN, NO GAIN.”
Have you ever heard a friend say this? Or perhaps this is you? Although I am getting better at listening to my body, I know that in the past it hasn’t been as easy to take a step back and try out this thing called rest. No pain, no gain is a saying often used in the fitness world to remind you to practice self-discipline in order to get the results you want. I am all about self-motivation and discipline when it comes to setting goals and training to feel the best in your body, however, rest is equally, if not more important than the workout itself!
Similar to the busyness of life, we like to use our soreness and hard core commitment to training as some sort of badge of honour. The more we breakdown our bodies, the more we will be praised. Especially in today’s society of oversharing online, people will always praise us for our commitment based on the social media posts we make, which in turn will make us want to overwork our bodies even more to receive even more praise. The cycle of pushing our bodies past our limits continues which can result in injury, burnout, or plateauing.
So what is my suggestion?
Listen to your body! I don’t mean to imply that we don’t need any discipline and for you to mistake this for laziness, because being in tune with your body is not the same thing. All this means is that we need to allow our bodies time to rest rather than push through pain. While training we must feel uncomfortable in order to gain strength, but there comes a point in time when the body would respond better to rest than being a hero.
How do we do that?
Speaking from experience, deciding your body does not need that intense workout is easier said than done. I, like a lot of you, thrive off of movement so to make the decision to slow things down is a challenge. The ways I treat my body when it needs some extra love include: foam rolling and stretching, sensory deprivation tank visits, massages, and naps.
What’s the result?
I not only feel more relaxed but it is a different way to work the brain and body for me. Although I love the fast-paced action I get in most of my workouts, slowing down is not a bad thing. These are also opportunities for the body to recover. If we don’t allow our muscles to repair and recover in between workouts, we aren’t giving ourselves the chance to work at the highest capacity within the workout. Sometimes less is more - less workouts but more efficiency and effectiveness within the workouts that do happen.
This week, listen to your bodies! Be kind and give yourself the proper refuelling, rest, and recovery you deserve. There are many ways to work out and rest and they might look different for you compared to the next person. Find what works for you - your brain and body will thank you!
Be fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.