Do You have to Puke, Faint or Die to be Healthy?
I’m a big believer in pushing myself. In stretching myself out of my comfort zone. In doing something new or different that forces me out of the familiar. For my body, mind and soul.
That is how I grow and learn… and when I feel truly alive.
Having said that I’m not about pain. Especially physical pain that could cause more damage than good if we aren’t careful. Pain is our bodies way of talking and we need to listen to it.
Which is why I don’t like sayings about ignoring pain. At the least, they are stupid and taken to an extreme, they are dangerous and a big reason why there are so many sports injuries.
No pain, no gain.
Pain is weakness leaving the body.
Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going.
Yes, I’m taking on Jillian Michaels. I like that she encourages people to live healthy lifestyles, but you don’t have to puke, faint or die to do it.
But before you get the wrong idea. Being healthy does not mean you can sit on the couch, eat brownies and browse Pinterest laughing at fitness boards that include sayings about pain.
Being healthy does involve educating yourself, planning healthy meals and making yourself exercise even when you don’t feel like it. And at times, that exercise will make you tired, sore and achy.
But tired, sore and achy is very different from puking, fainting and dying.
I think the no pain, no gain theory is an example of the pendulum swinging too far to the other side. Because our minds can talk us out of exercise and because our country has an obesity problem, many well-meaning fitness voices try to fix it by telling us to ignore pain.
I think treating our bodies with care is more effective. And care means we do push ourselves, but not too an extreme. And I’ll be the first to admit it can be tough to find that line. A huge key is being aware of our body and of our mental state.
Most of the time, it’s our mind, not our body, that decides whether or not we’re going to exercise. So the only pain you should push through is the pain between your ears. Our mind prefers to take the easy route, so it will try to talk us out of exercising or have us quit before we need to. Educating ourselves on the dangers of not taking care of our bodies should give us strength to override our lazy-arsh minds.
Another key is learning to know the difference between pain and discomfort.
Fact: Most pain warrants quitting… most discomfort does not.
So when you want to stay on the couch or quit early, ask yourself these questions…
Does my body hurt?
Is it discomfort or pain? (be honest with yourself!)
If pain, is it the type of pain that could cause injury?
If you know the answer is yes… stop.
If unsure… think! Think about the discomfort/pain. Massage the area. Do a few stretches. Think about the discomfort/pain objectively. If you could feel the same discomfort/pain in someone else’s body… would you tell them to continue exercising or to stop?
My journey from not knowing if I would ever walk again to now running marathons involved countless conversations like that. Sometimes I quit and gave my body a day or two of rest. But more times than not, I continued… because I knew the discomfort I was having would make me stronger.
Because of all my injuries, I do live with some pain/discomfort, so I’m constantly having to find that edge of doing what I can, with what I have to be healthy, but not hurting myself.
If I can find that edge, you can too… the more you do it, the better you will become at it.
Remember: Most pain warrants quitting… most discomfort does not!