Is “No Pain, No Gain” destroying athletes?

Josiah Adams, Reporter

“I want to get worse and worse as the season progresses” – said no athlete ever. Be it the Roman Gladiators, Greek Olympians, or even our modern day millionaire athletes, there has always been this honor of primacy that only the best of the best receive. The goal of an athlete is to be the fastest, strongest, the greatest. An athlete doesn’t endure wave after wave of sprints, rancid locker rooms, and the heat of the day in the hopes of being ordinary. And so we hear the famous phrase, “No pain, no gain.”

This cheesy 1980’s workout catchphrase holds some truth. If you don’t put any effort in to your workout, you’re not going to be the next Olympic Gold medalist. If you are exercising 5-6 days a week, it’s inevitable that you are going to run into some sort of injury or discomfort. This does not mean that you should be discouraged and stop training all together, and don’t even think about ignoring the pain and pushing yourself to the max all day everyday. This is where “No pain, no gain” gets a bit controversial.

There’s a reason we feel pain. Pain isn’t there to make us work harder, or to congratulate you on proceeding to bench 400 lbs, after running a 4 minute mile with a sprained ankle. Pain is there to let you know that you did something stupid like bang your pinky toe on a coffee table because you were too lazy to turn the lights on. It’s a defense mechanism that lets you know that things like a punch to the face, or side pains are harmful to the body. It’s the abuse of “no pain, no gain” which makes it controversial. Some days you just have to take things slow.

Imagine constantly destroying your knees day after day in the hopes of standing out above all of your teammates. Sure you’ve got some stories to tell, maybe even some bragging rights amongst your teammates. But is it worth having the knees of an elderly man by the end of the season? If you don’t train right, you’re just going to shoot yourself in the foot in the long run.

I’m a firm believer in the training philosophy that you should not overwork yourself at practice. Do not be afraid to challenge yourself, but always make your health your priority. It may not be instant, but you will make progress. Vi et animo