No Pain, No Gain? No More

One of the best-known phrases in fitness used to be “No Pain, No Gain”. Nowadays, we know better. The idea that training has to be incredibly LONG and overwhelmingly HARD and that pain/soreness/aches/bruises etc. are signs of a better workout session than those without– this is rapidly becoming an antiquated way of thinking.

Thank heavens.

Guess what? It turns out that quite often, LESS is MORE when it comes to training.

Overtraining is NOT the new black. In fact, overtraining is something to be avoided at all costs. OLD fitness messaging used to suggest that if you were not leaning out the way you wanted, you probably were eating too much and not working out enough. The old approach then would be- if you aren’t seeing results, EAT LESS, and WORK OUT MORE.

Not good. My friend, Celebrity Fitness Trainer Valerie Waters told me many times back then that I was not doing myself any favors– and that I didn’t need to do a workout that burned 900 calories every day while I was dieting.

I did not listen. How I wish I would have– because NOW I know better. All those years of cutting my calories more and more and working out longer and longer, I was setting the foundation for Adrenal Fatigue. I was destroying my cortisol levels. I was setting my body up to think it was in starvation mode– after all, my body was simply looking at the fact that I was giving it less fuel every day and expecting MORE of it as far as performance every day. My body reacted reasonably with….fat storage mode.

Ladies. Don’t do this!!! Do NOT think that if you are stalled with fat loss that your answer is to ADD MORE CARDIO and eat less!!

Very likely– you may need to work out LESS– let your body RECOVER MORE- and eat a bit MORE. That sounds crazy right? Let’s listen to some experts.

Over-training can be detrimental no matter what your goals are. I recommend to all of my clients to take at least TWO FULL REST DAYS. On the rest days, it doesn’t have to be you sitting on the couch. I just mean out of the gym. People don’t realize that they burn 50% and sometimes more of their calories outside of the gym from N.E.A.T (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) which is any type of activity outside the gym which can include walking the dog, bringing groceries in, doing laundry, walking in general.

That being said, it is not necessary to spend two hours in the gym a day.

Overtraining can cause your body’s stress hormones raise cortisol levels and your body turns into a ‘fight or flight’ mode. When this happens, you could be holding onto water retention, your body’s going to want to hold on to anything — meaning you’re not going to be losing fat as easily, and it is a domino effect from there.

During rest and recovery, your body is recovering from breaking it down all day every day. You are not just breaking our body down at the gym, but from mental stress was at work and from kids etc. Also just everyday life. That being said rest days are crucial.”   Hanah Jamroz, Trainer,

Rest and recovery

People. We are talking a lot about the importance of REST and RECOVERY in this series with top trainers. But this doesn’t mean sitting on your butt doing nothing! As Hanah shared, you can still be active on your days off- when you aren’t in the gym training. Go for a walk or a hike! Play with your kids at the park! Join a local dance class—do something out of your comfort zone. But, give your mind and your body a BREAK from hard training. It will pay off.

Take it from me, the recovering over trainer and under-eater. Now that I am working out and eating smarter, I see how bad I used to be. I was- with the best of intentions- training so hard and for so long every day, I was in a state of perpetual burnout. This is a horrible state of chaos for the mind and the body- and guess what—all that extra time training and the lack of time RECOVERING- did it accomplish anything for me? No.

It led me to more and more health problems. Problems sleeping. Problems inevitably with training performance. Stomach and gut problems. You name it.

My body and my mind were – back then – never given a break. They were both always in high alert mode, thinking that at any moment, they’d be called upon to perform and perform well. No one can maintain that for the long-term. And I did not.

Now I am working hard with my doctor, my new trainer, and my dietitian to restore my health and train smarter.

Guess what their #1 piece of advice was for me?


No joke. Now that I am training smarter- and making my sleep and my rest/recovery a priority, in addition to fueling my body for my training….my body is starting to bounce back. What a feeling!! What a joy to feel GOOD again.

Article by Kelly Olexa


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