No Pain, No Gain! In life too?

Change comes with pain…

But this pain later becomes a gain.

No pain, no gain! Fact or fiction?

This is a common saying that you often hear when people are headed to the gym, or used by athletic coaches in reference to toughening up. Jane Fonda popularized the saying in the 80’s in her aerobic workouts touting, “No pain, no gain.”

However, the saying actually dates back prior to the 1980’s exercise queen. Benjamin Franklin said a similar phrase in the 1700’s, “There are no gains without pains.”

When lifting weights, there is truth that tearing down muscles (which can cause a little pain) will make them grow stronger (leaving you with gains). Nevertheless, my physical therapist approaches this phrase with caution, and states that long term soreness for days after a workout is unnecessary and can lead to overtraining and injury.

I certainly agree with him when I’m working with him during my marathon training—as I don’t want to get injured. However, I do believe there is truth in that statement when it comes to gains in life.

Think about the pain from challenges in life that you have faced, setbacks you have experienced, unexpected shit that happened to you. Have you gained from any of it?

I would venture to say that although you might not necessarily say you are thankful for the pains you have encountered, more likely than not, when you get to the other side of the pain, you are left with some gains.

Life is full of pain.

  • Childbirth = PAIN— The gain is you have an adorable baby to cuddle after.
  • Investing money in the stock market and then losing it = PAIN— The gain is you learned a lesson for your next investment.
  • A divorce = PAIN—The gain is your personal growth, insight into yourself, and a better understanding of what type of partner (if one at all) you want in the future.

If you are no longer feeling pain (or discomfort) after lifting weights, it is likely that you have plateaued. But does the same go for life? If you never experience pain in life, can you reap the same gains?

  • If you adopt a baby without the pain of giving birth, can you still have the gain of happiness of becoming a new parent? Of course!
  • If you have never lost money in the stock market, can you still have the gain of enjoying your earnings because you invested wisely? Of course!
  • If you never experienced a divorce, can you still have the gain of loving yourself and knowing exactly what you desire in a relationship? You bet your ass!

I’m certainly not suggesting that you must experience pain in life to have the gain of appreciation and gratitude. But there certainly is a lot of research out there suggesting that setbacks, losses, and challenges help us gain perspective.

A research study published in the Journal of Happiness stated that no pain, no gain applies to happiness. Working hard at improving a skill or people who work through pain maybe experience sadness or stress, but they experience greater happiness long term.

When you are in the middle of pain in life, it is so so sooooo hard to think that the hurt, anxiety or discomfort you are feeling could be an amazing gain in the end. But I’m here to tell you, I’ve experienced it and can honestly say that gains I have encountered after shit happened in my life…unbelievable.

So, my food for thought is when life gives you sour “painful” lemons, don’t make lemonade—instead, bite that lemon! Learn from the bitter taste, embrace those puckered up lips, and gain all the knowledge you can from that lemon encounter. Then, the next time life gives you that painful unpleasant lemon experience—you juggle!

Remember, You Got This! 




If you would like to learn more about working with me, CLICK HERE.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *