No Pain, No Gain | The Fitness Show

No pain, no gain. If there's one thing we believe, it's that people should not have to live in pain. That's why this is such a sensitive topic for us. Our job is to keep members safe, but when they think pain is normal, we have to work with them to figure out all the different ways they can work out that don't hurt.

In this episode of The Fitness Show, we tackle the "No pain, no gain," mentality, why it's dangerous and what people should do if they're in pain and want to get out of it.

Cliff notes below!

The Take-Away:

1) People Shouldn't Have to Live In Pain

The American Academy of Pain Medicine sites a PR Web study that found that an estimated 1.5 billion people world wide live with chronic pain. At lot of people come to us because they're in pain, but know exercise is important and want guidance on how to start.

Here's how we handle pain. First, we go through a Functional Movement Screen. If there is pain during the screen, we refer to a medical professional. If there's a tightness or awkward stretch, we work with the individual and evaluate further to try and find the root of the issue.

We NEVER address pain directly, but sometimes a movement screen will show us a pattern of dysfunction that leads us to believe a breathing drill or foam roll technique may relieve the discomfort.

If we can't help, we refer them to a professional we trust for further evaluation, with 1 of 3 expected outcomes. The individual sees the doctor and: A) Gets out of pain, B) Gets some relieve from the pain, and a road map to eventually get out of pain, or C) They are referred to another professional for further evaluation.

2) You Can Work Around Pain

With a doctors blessing, we've worked with many clients who have had substantial injuries. A favorite example is the time we worked with 2 clients, within a few months of each other, who had broken a foot.

Instead of giving up, they talked to us and figured out ways to workout that didn't involve the broken foot. We avoided lower body strength exercises and biased different lower body positions for upper body movements. We did half kneeling or tall kneeling ropes, halos or band rows. By focusing on breath and posture during these movements, members got stronger and improved their movement while recovering from their injury.

3) Don't Do Exercises That Hurt

If there's pain during an exercise, talk to a coach for a substitution. Pain doesn't necessarily mean injury, but it does mean stop and assess. Maybe the set-up was just a little weird or maybe there's a lack of mobility somewhere that's causing the discomfort.

Continually doing exercises that hurt won't necessarily lead to injury, but it will effect your nervous system and has the potential to limit your range of motion to keep the body safe from whatever potential injury could occur. There are thousands of exercises choices, so skip the one that hurts and talk to a coach!


Ultimately, this is a close topic to Coach Mike. Between 2015 and 2016 he dealt with very limiting back pain. He saw a physical therapist who relieved the pain completely. However, from life factors, the pain came back 4 months later. He went back to the therapist, and this person was not able to relieve the pain. At that time, he was referred to The Hospital for Special Surgery for further evaluation. He ended up getting a cortisone shot which ultimately eliminated the pain.

During that year, he tried his best to stay motivated to workout and find the substitutions that worked for him. Sometimes he was successful, but a lot of the time he was discouraged and chose to skip exercise for most of the year until he found a solution. He hates seeing people in pain and truly believes that people in pain can still exercise, as long as they're willing to stay humble and work on whatever they can to stay active while they're in the recovery process.

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