Myths Debunked: No Pain, No Gain

Open gym with cardio machines Unsplash - Risen Wang

Don’t be held hostage to compulsive exercise.

If you’ve ever been involved in a pursuit of weight loss, it’s almost certain that you’ve already stepped into a gym (even if you don’t feel like it at all).

And if you’ve ever gone to a gym, it’s very likely that you’ve already come across the terms “no pain, no gain” or something like it.

But if you think these expressions will help you with anything related to your health, forget it!

These phrases, which at first glance may seem innocent and which act as “pills” to encourage you to be fit, are capable of transforming your relationship with exercise, and making you hostage to them.

But what is the problem behind these expressions?

The problem is that these phrases can reinforce misconceptions about what exercise really should be like.

Have you ever found yourself in an endless loop of eating something high in calories, feeling like you need to make up for it and then killing yourself on the treadmill to burn those calories?

If the answer is yes, be aware that the idea of bargaining food probably contributed to your making the act of exercising a compulsive habit.

To better understand the origin of this problem, we need to remember which are the pillars for the long-awaited food freedom, they are: emotional pillar, physical pillar and mental pillar.

When I talk about a dysfunctional mentality with exercises, I’m reinforcing the idea of ​​disconnection from the body, that’s where the physical pillar comes in.

If I talk about a deep-rooted diet mindset, it’s referring to the mental pillar.

Still, regarding this troubled relationship with the exercises, it is certain that it may be the result of a problem in controlling emotions, hence the emotional pillar.

Do you understand how this loop is following the opposite path to the freedom you dream of? But then why do we continue this endless repetition of needing to make up for the extra calories that were consumed with training?

We have this culture of “no pain, no gain”, which is the idea that the more painful or the more we exert ourselves in training, the better aesthetic results we will have. And the idea behind it is linked to the concept of strength, it’s the idea that we should use our strength to punish ourselves for something and get results from it.

Spin bikes in a studio

However, this all ends up taking the real focus of the exercises. We must move thinking not only of the aesthetic benefit, but of health in the first place. Exercising should be something cool and motivate you to take better care of your body as a whole, not just how it looks.

When you understand this, you start exercising without thinking of it as a punishment and as something that must be “paid” to make up for something.

How do I know if I have developed a compulsive relationship with exercise?

Are you in doubt whether you have developed a dysfunctional relationship with exercise? Pay attention to these signs:

When you identify with any of these signs, it means that you have developed an abusive attachment mentality to the act of exercising, in such a way that you no longer respect the limits of your body and associate the idea of ​​suffering with the gain.

The main thought that keeps us in this idea that you need to compensate, that you need to train more and more, etc., is the idealization that your body is against you, so if you allow yourself to rest or do less than I should do, your body will betray you.

However, often this overtraining can generate results contrary to what is expected. When you train so hard that you push your limits, your body feels so pressured that, obviously, at the first opportunity it will stock up on everything it can. Hence the idea that you get fat when you stop training.

Balance is the key

In order to finally get rid of this misconception about exercising and in order to develop balance, you need to keep in mind a few thoughts:

Exercise should not be done thinking only about weight loss.

You shouldn’t exercise thinking about pain and punishment.

You don’t need to punish yourself when you eat too much.

Respect your body and its limits and situations that can prevent you from training.

And finally, adjust your relationship with food. The root of all these problems is that it’s no use practicing any of these tips if you don’t have control over your diet.

Ah! And don’t forget: you are the most important person in your life, act like it! Take care of your body, mind and emotions as best you can, and the results will come unconsciously.

I am a Brazilian girl (living in Sao Paulo with my fiancé — and other 20 million people). I love coffee, books, and good food. I also really enjoy studying and learning new things that allow me to further develop myself both professionally and personally. I have a degree in Food Science and hold a Ph.D. in Agri-food Marketing. In addition, I am a Certified Nutrition Coach and an enthusiastic Nutrition student.

After 15 years of living in war with my body and with food, I found freedom through mindfulness and intuitive eating, practices that allowed me to overcome yo-yo dieting and binge eating.

I’m passionate about helping women rewrite their food and body histories so they feel free and confident to live their lives to the fullest.

There is a power that comes alive when women free themselves from the food prison in which they have learned to live, when they realize that they are capable and deserving of feeling fantastic in their own bodies, and that confidence is a state of mind — not a body lotion which you get the right to use when you reach a weight-loss goal.

My work is dedicated to nurturing, celebrating and sharing this message.

Preparing dashboard.