Why pain isn't progress - fitness myths around pain, stretching and injury

Fitness advice. There's a lot of guidance out there on the "best ways" to train, but with so much information, it can be hard to tell which advice to follow and which to ignore. So while I don't claim to know everything (all the time), I've compiled some points around the top gym myths.

Pain isn't progress

The old adage of "no pain, no gain" has been around longer than I have, and basically says if you aren't in agony during and after your workout, you aren't making progress. This is not true! While exercising can be difficult and uncomfortable (especially in the beginning), that doesn't mean to say you should be hurting yourself every time you go to the gym or out for a run.

If it's taking you a week to recover from each workout, you're doing too much and should considering dialling it down. Pain can also be an indicator of other issues - you should always listen to your body where exercise is concerned. Speak to a professional for some advice if you're noticing persistent pain.

Sweat does not equal effort

Everyone's bodies are different, and sweat isn't necessarily an indicator of effort. Just because you're sweating your bum off in the gym doesn't mean you're working harder than anyone else, it just means you're warmer! Sweat is your body's way of cooling itself down, as wet skins cools down quicker, and you'll lose some heat as the sweat evaporates. Remember to replace this lost water to prevent dehydration.

Running isn't bad for the knees

I can't say this enough: running does not cause arthritis. Of course, if you already have arthritis and run, the chances are it may well get worse. But it won't cause the arthritis. In fact, people who run and do go on to develop arthritis in later life are generally able to move better, due to the compressive nature of the movement bringing more fluid into the joint.

Equally, squatting isn't ruining your knees

As with running, the same truth applies for performing squats, either with or without a weight. As long as you do the exercise correctly and safely (aka: have good form) it will actually build the muscles around your knees and help protect them. Not sure if your form is right? Watch the video in my post on strength training!

You should stretch before a workout

Ok let me clarify, I'm talking about static stretching. Holding a stretch on a cold muscle is not a good idea because at best, you won't perform as well and at worst, you'll injure yourself. To warm up for a workout, dynamic movements are best.

This means: swinging your arms, rotating the hips, flicking your heels up behind you. Gentle movements that build to allow the muscles to warm up before lifting weights or going for a run will help you avoid injuries.

Did I miss any myths around pain? Head over to Instagram and let me know!