No Pain, No Gain.

You’ve probably heard it said before, and I’m here to remind you again.

The old saying goes: “No pain, no gain”, and this is especially true when it comes to reaching your health and fitness goals.

As I write this, I can still feel my core muscles raging in (good) pain, from a workout with Chris several days ago at Blitz Conditioning. By the end of the challenging 1 hour workout (that, at the time – felt like an eternity), I was exhausted. Honestly, I was ecstatic that the torture to my ab muscles was finally over, but I knew, that the struggle I’d just endured would be completely worth it.

I am passionate about keeping my fitness levels up and working out on a regular basis, but there are plenty of times when I just get by, on the ‘bare minimum’. I do what I can, without pushing myself; I make it through each workout with hardly any struggle. It’s a slower process, and it goes to show that the only way I’ll see quicker results, is for me to put in the hard work and endure the pain.

But, sometimes life just gets in the way. A restless sleep, a long day, or even just a bad day with an energy level of zero. There are times, more often then not, that life just happens to rain on the parade, making an hour at the gym seem like an unpleasant chore.
It’s okay to have “off days”; sometimes your body just needs a break. But don’t misunderstand the difference between ‘taking a day’ and ‘procrastinating’…

In my world, the excuse of “I’ll just go tomorrow” has this evil way of continuing onto the days that follow. Before I know it, a week has gone by and my appearance at the gym is non-existent, while my couch and I have become best friends. I also have this horrible tendency of trying to fuel my tired self with carbohydrates and sugar, in attempts to increase my energy levels. It usually has the opposite effect, which makes the whole situation of not-working out, that much worse. It’s several steps in the wrong direction, turning what started off as a minor blip in a progressive routine into a negative spiral – cancelling out much of the success I’ve recently made.

That’s just me at my worst, and your daily challenges might be a little different. In the end – the lesson is still the same: Minimal effort equals minimal results. So, avoiding the gym because it seems to hard isn’t going to get you anywhere, right?

When a workout seems impossible, try these little tricks: [my own personal suggestions]

1. A 20-30 minute power nap > Just a quick rest can give you a little bit of an extra boost.
2. A small snack > Try a small mixture of  ‘good carbs’, protein, and a little bit of fibre.
3. A super-quick, hot shower > It’ll refresh you, and wake you up
4. Go for a walk > Once you start moving, you’ll be a little more motivated to do more
5. Positive thinking > Think about the repercussions – how are you going to feel if you don’t go vs. if you go and put in even just 1/2 the amount of effort.

Obviously, it’s more optimal if you go and give it 110%. If you want to see the best results, you will have to suck it up, and do a few workouts that feel like pure torture; I promise you, if you keep at it, you’ll see the outcome you were probably hoping for. But, there will be those days in between, when 50-75% is the best you can do – and that’s okay too. Just keep in mind, that a little bit is better than nothing at all. Maybe the next day will be better, and a bit of rest will mean that you’ll be able to work your butt off in your next workout.
Just don’t give up when it gets too hard and try to avoid the ‘point of plateau’. Change it up, keep it interesting, and stay positive.

If I can leave you with one thought, it’s this:
When it comes to your fitness goals, whatever they may be, shoot for the moon. Some days, you might just reach the stars, but at least you’re on your way.

About Chris Tse

I’m a scientist turned owner of Blitz Conditioning, a Fitness Columnist at CBC Radio on Thursdays at 8:20 am, and owner of Tse Social Strategy. Follow me on Twitter or Read my full bio.

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