Last week, or maybe two weeks ago, my trainer related an exchange with another client of his while I was doing some variety of bicep curls. The client asked if the pain ever gets easier. I think she meant the pain at the end of a set, when the muscles get tired and you’re still going. Our trainer said nope, it doesn’t. He’s been doing this for decades, so he should know.
I believe recovery gets better. I don’t get as sore now as I used to. I can lift more weight, and do more exercises, and more repetitions. Parts of me look better. So things get better. Just not the part where your muscles scream at you at the end of a set. That’s not supposed to get better, because that’s how far you have to push your muscles. Otherwise, if they don’t really get pushed, they don’t stay fit. If you keep doing the same workout, your body gets used to it, and it stops doing much adjustment.
One does get used to the burning in the muscles at the end of a set of repetitions, though. Either the muscles recover more quickly, or as G. Gordon Liddy is famous for saying about pain, “The secret is not minding.”
I don’t think that “no pain, no gain” is the right answer for everything in life, by the way. It does seem to fit for workouts, though.