Myth Busters – 4. No Pain No Gain!!

by Andy Buckle in Education | Training

Myth Busters – 4. No Pain No Gain!!

‘NO PAIN NO GAIN’ is a really common fitness and training myth that has been around for many years. It has possibly been made worse by things like TV shows/films that lead people to believe they have to train like a lunatic in the gym in order to make any substantial improvements. Like anything in life there is much more to this than meets the eye and it is important to understand training and our bodies if we are to look at this myth properly.


Majority of peoples association with this myth is that if you are not aching or feeling pain after a workout then it wasn’t hard enough, and you won’t make improvements or gains. There are many ways to gauge how successful a workout was, but pain and soreness should not be used on its own. Muscle pain and soreness can indicate something called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) which is the soreness felt in the muscles typically a few hours or even days after you have completed exercise. This pain and soreness (DOMS) is caused by small scale damage to the muscle fibres after the exercise has been completed. After such exercise the body repairs the damage to the muscle and thereby the soreness. This repairing of the muscle tissue is a good thing as the muscle repairs back stronger than before leading to a stronger and more capable muscle. Despite this apparent positive, judging the success of the workout on pain and soreness is still not a good idea as it could be caused by something more sinister, injury. The pain and soreness that follows a particularly intense workout could quite easily be caused by an injury such as torn muscle tissue. Therefore, we can categorically say that ‘no pain no gain’ is a fitness myth and pain or soreness should not be used as a single gauge of how successful your workout was.


If you shouldn’t use pain and soreness as a single gauge of how successful your workout was, how can you tell your training is going well. There are many simple ways to tell if you have had a good workout that do not involve struggling to walk for a week following your gym session. Here are some examples of different ways you can tell if your workout was good, and you are making good progress.

  • You feel better – A very simple way to judge if you have had a good workout is that you feel better within yourself and more confident after the workout.
  • You’re getting stronger – One of the best ways to gauge a workout is by checking the numbers you are lifting or exercising with are going up and you are seeing improvements in your performance.
  • You sleep better at night – Sleep can be one of the most important and often overlooked elements of people’s lifestyles. Improved sleep following a workout is a major result of good training.
  • Your looking forward to your next workout – No matter what training you do the most important factor is that you enjoy it, as a result you will maintain consistency and continue training for longer. Find a type of training you enjoy and stick with it 😊
  • Exercise you’ve done before feels easier – Probably the most gratifying gauge of a good session is that exercise is easier than it has been previously. This one is a huge boost for confidence!
  • Your form has improved – A very important way of determining a successful workout but one that can be hard to see. No matter on the type of training, form is always the most important part and one that should never be overlooked. If your ever unsure on your form on a particular exercise always ask a trainer who has the correct expertise to advise you.
  • Your more coordinated – This can be difficult to notice but is another incredibly important way to determine how well your training is going. The coordination skills you develop throughout your training can transfer over to many different aspects of your daily life.


So instead of falling into the trap of following this popular fitness and training myth, think about different ways to check if your training is going well. Follow some of the above tips on how to gauge if your workout was good and focus on some of the most neglected, yet important benefits of exercise and training!!!