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Where'd My Pain Go?

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    Where'd My Pain Go?

    Sorry DAYoung, but I didn't think this was exactly on-topic as regards Martial Arts - How Important is the Pain? - No BS Martial Arts

    Whiny reminiscence of past poor training follows:
    So from the couple of other threads I've started in this forum, I think some of you already have the impression that I'm more about the self-destruction than the self-improvement. I however have been slower to realize this. I was reading a post by TheRuss a while ago when I was about to get back into lifting weights in lieu of actual manual labor and he mentioned that he didn't think that lifting to failure was the best way to get gains. It made me think about how I used to lift and I realized that I was never looking for gains.

    The first time I got seriously into weightlifting I was in a constant feud with my brother and sister over some family stuff. Basically I hated them and I had to pretend otherwise to get some business settled, but all I could think about was the hate. So I'd go to the gym and lift for hours, usually about a ten-exercise routine with 3 or 4 dropsets to failure each time (forgive me if my terminology is messed up, but I'd say, do dumbbell bench press with 70s 8 or 9 reps til I couldn't push them up, then drop to 55s and do those to failure, then 40s, etc for each exercise I did). I didn't make gains since I don't eat well and sleep worse than that. I didn't actually care. When I left the gym I couldn't think, couldn't buckle my seatbelt without wincing, and couldn't hate anybody for a while. It was time to eat and collapse and try to pull myself out of bed four or five hours later without screaming and do it all again the next day.

    I wasn't at the gym to get stronger or faster or look better (and I didn't). I was only there to hurt myself. When I did teh krotty, I was there to get hit, not to hit, but that's another story. I even had a little motivational saying to myself I used to use when I started to try to make an excuse not to go to the gym, "The gym is where you turn hate into pain." I guess it was kind of emo, but at least I wasn't taking a steak knife to myself or whatever it is you're supposed to use.
    END Whiny Reminiscence

    Thanks for suffering through that. Here I am a couple of years later 7,000 miles away from my old crap job and crap family. I don't hate anybody (much) anymore, I get eight hours of sleep a night, and I even eat decently (by somebody who doesn't hate Japanese food's standards I guess, not mine). I still get hurt from karate training, but the only lifting I do is Stronglifts and I'm only 4 weeks into that. Which brings me to the problem:

    Lifting doesn't hurt any more. I mean, I'm a little sore most of the time from the previous day's or that morning's lifting, but before I couldn't put a t-shirt on without pain. Am I doing anything if it doesn't hurt? I really don't know, and I used to think I had the answer. I know I can keep adding exercises or sets until it hurts like it used to but I'm actually seeing (noob) gains and I kind of like them for once. How well does soreness serve as a barometer for whether I have exercised properly? Right now I go to the gym, warm up, do the workout in my notebook, check it all off, add the requisite kg for the next trip to the gym, and walk home without a limp. I feel like I might as well have slept in. I need the pain to let me know I did something.

    I'm not an expert like a few of the guys around here, but my impression is that you shouldn't be overly sore from your workout unless you're just getting started or adding new exercises to your routine. Your reinforcement that you're working any particular muscles should come from the fact that you're exerting yourself while lifting. You've said you're seeing gains, so that should be a longer-term reinforcement that you're doing something right.

    If I do a couple cycles of steam room to cold shower after my workout, my soreness is near 0. I haven't kept any kind of good records about my gains, but I certainly lift a lot more weight now, and the people I train with have made dozens of comments about how much stronger I am and how much better I look. So, my opinion and impression is basically that being sore does not indicate that you've taxed your muscles sufficiently to stimulate them to grow in size or strength. Keep up the good work.



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