stress and exercise

Why Pleasure is More Important Than Pain in Fitness

In Methods & Success Mindset, Playground Workouts, Progressive Calisthenics, Suspension Training, Uncategorizedby Matt

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pain and pleasure

In a previous post I wrote about how pain is weakness invading the body rather than leaving the body as some hardcore folks like to claim.

As I’ve also stated in previous posts, every exercise you do is essentially a set of instructions you are “downloading” to the cells of your body.

If we put the two philosophies together we get a new and refreshing outlook on training. One that embraces joy, comfort and pleasure rather than pain and suffering.

Pain, both emotional and physiological, is a signal that courses through our body telling it that something is wrong. That we’re doing something we shouldn’t be doing. This is slightly contrary to the idea that pain tells the body it needs to be tougher and thus it’s the catalyst for the changes we want. However, when strong negative sensations course through our nervous system we are instructing our cells that what we are doing is bad and should be avoided.

Avoidance is the last signal we want when it comes to getting in shape. If we send signals of avoidance through our system both our body and mind will find ways to prevent that event from happening. Many might say that’s why we build muscle and get fit but I disagree. If I do something that causes more pain than pleasure my body and mind will rebel against that activity.

Compare that with feelings of pleasure, satisfaction and joy. Positive signals do the very opposite. They signal your body and mind to embrace the activity and make any changes nessicary to build upon that positive experience.

This is why I believe that a positive experience is essential to making fitness gains. You can’t force yourself through pain and suffering and hope to come out with a positive outcome. It’s simply counter intuitive for the body and mind to embrace change towards something it repels.

This is why I hardly ever make any gains in stretching. Stretching for me is filled with negative feelings like tightness, boredom and dread. No matter how much I stretch, I simply don’t make gains.

When I hike up a mountain my legs are on fire, my lungs are about to burst and it’s very hard. Still, I love the feeling of standing on top of that mountain and the power I feel in my legs. That’s why even though the hike may have more physical discomfort it has more of a positive aspect and therefor my body and mind embrace  it.