Pain and working out

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.


About songdogmi

I'm a longhaired almost-hippie stuck in the inner suburbs of a major rust-belt metropolis who's thoughtful, creative, and kind of geeky. In exchange for a paycheck I run around in a cubicle maze most days. When I escape, I play music, hang out in coffee houses, dink around on the computer, take naps, and think I should be off in the woods somewhere. Every once in a while I get in my car and drive far, far away, though I've always come back so far.
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2 Responses to Pain and working out

  1. maxauburn says:

    I know people who actually like the pain of working out.

    I would not mind pain if it didn’t hurt. 😉

    • songdogmi says:


      Sometimes I say there’s good pain and there’s bad pain. The pain when you’re working out and your muscles get tired at the end of a set of reps could be considered good pain, because you expect it and it generally goes away soon after you stop doing the exercise. Bad pain would be a sudden sharp pain you don’t expect, which usually means an injury.

      I have to admit, I kind of like when muscles hurt the day after I work out, sometimes.

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