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Is it true that if I feel no pain I get no gain from a workout?

The theory of "no pain, no gain", is possibly true.  However, in this case verbiage is important.  When working out, always listen to your body.  It will tell you if you are warming up, if you are working to fatigue or if you are causing damage.  It's the last one I worry about.  

Actual pain is bad and generally reflects damage that you do not want to continue.  Most workouts require you to work to fatigue (you cannot perform any more reps).  Working out should be uncomfortable and if you are not getting to that point you may not be working enough to create the changes you seek.  However, working past that point is also not beneficial, causing damage to the tissues.  Achiness, soreness and fatigue are fine.  Sharp, stabbing, grinding pains should be avoided.  When stretching, also make sure that you are stretching gently and that you feel a gentle pull and not sharp pain, numbness, tingling or zinging feelings.

Yes, you have to work out at a certian level that will cause changes in your body.  However, "no soreness, no gain" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "no pain, no gain".  Listen your body.  It will tell you.
David Buer
Fitness
That is absolutely wrong. You do want to challenge your body, and fatigue and some soreness is a normal side effect of that, but your training program should not be painful. Remember, your program is designed to improve your quality of life.  Know your limitation and focus on quality, not quantity. Pain associated with injury is something you don’t want to encounter, but some discomfort or soreness from challenging your muscles is normal and expected. The only way our bodies improve is to overcome new challenges or stress associated with physical activity.
“No pain, no gain” is the mantra of many exercisers and their so-called gurus, who believe that you have to lose copious amounts of sweat and experience severe inflammation and pain after a workout, in order for your workout to be effective. Often times, you are encouraged to push beyond common sense limits, to meet lofty exercise goals. It’s not really a good idea and it can result in severe electrolyte imbalance, injured muscles and joints, and mental burnout. If you’re injured, you can’t work out, so why take the chance?
Two solid exercising principles are cross-training and interval training. Cross training encourages you to switch off between different aerobic equipment machines or exercise routine, so that you work out differently, challenge your body in different ways and maintain challenge in your exercise routine by not “getting used to” the same old approach. Interval training encourages you to improve your overall aerobic fitness and burn more calories, by introducing resistance or speed challenges within a workout of a set time duration. If you are doing an hour of jogging on a treadmill you might introduce 2 minute faster runs every 8 or 9 minutes.
If you feel pain, 24 to 48 hours after a workout, every now and again that’s fine. If you feel like that every time you workout, chances are you will burn out or sustain an injury.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.