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How Much Pain For Gain?

How Much Pain Is Required For Healthy Gain?

We’ve all heard the statement “NO PAIN, NO GAIN.” Obviously, without exerting ourselves, we don’t increase our strength or fitness. But what is a reasonable amount of “PAIN” and how much is too much?

Studies involving people who wear devices like a Fitbit or other exercise trackers show that while about 97% of people think physical activity is important for health, only about 3% of people who wear these devices achieve the goal of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. Why is that?

Research indicates that even among people who exercise regularly, the act of exercising can be described as unpleasant. Many feel better after exercising, but the post workout high doesn’t seem to correlate with people continuing to exercise on a regular basis. The measure that does correlate is HOW the person feels WHILE exercising. Taking it a little easier if you are feeling uncomfortable gives you a much needed break and makes the exercise session less unpleasant. Even thinking negatively about your exercise program seems to negatively influence your desire to keep it up.

Researchers say we should take a cue from elite athletes. Most don’t work out at the same intensity all the time. They will work out 80% of the time at a relatively low intensity, and 20% of the time will push themselves hard. For the average person, this low intensity/high intensity approach can increase the enjoyment of the exercise program and help you stick with it!

So bottom line… how much should a workout hurt?

Some, but not too much.

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