No Pain, a lot of Gain – Transforming your workout into recreation

As a trainer inducted into the personal trainers hall of fame, I take the most pride in having helped people learn how to exercise properly and enjoy their fitness routines. I subscribe to the Goldilocks approach: not too little, not too much, just right. But, many people overdo their workouts and risk injury and souring on exercise altogether. When this happens, people never see the results they are expecting and exercise becomes a chore. No wonder the word “workout” becomes synonymous with “pain” – physical and mental. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, “pain” is your first clue that something is wrong.

Decades ago, a “workout” was done in the gym, with heavy weights and a lot of grunting coming from red-faced, sweaty bulked-up bodies. No one looked like he (or she) was having a good time. In fact, if anyone cracked a smile, other gym rats looked disdainfully on him and labeled him a “poser” regardless of how fit he was. The word “workout” was associated with pain, sweat, injury, distress, aches, hassle, soreness, and anguish – no pain, no gain. Suck it up or don’t bother. With all that “fun,” who could resist? Well, a lot of people could. But, not any more.

Today, there is a smorgasbord of exercise options and people can and should be selective. It is like going to a favorite restaurant with unlimited choices. Group classes over here; one-on-one training sessions over there. Indoor? No problem. Oh, you prefer outdoors? We got that, too. Then, there’s yoga, spin, Crossfit, circuit, swimming, Zumba, weights, Pilates, running, rowing, jogging, walking, ropes, mud runs, and Ninja Warrior courses. You name it and you can find it on the menu. With so many choices, choosing one, two, or three that you like is a lot easier. And, if you find something you enjoy, the chances of ordering it again and again increase exponentially. Plus, our brains may be hard-wired to exercise and actually enjoy it.

Recently, researchers studied how the brain responds to running and found that the ability to get “high” while logging miles might be programmed in our brains. Years ago, our ancestors’ survival likely depended on literally chasing down food. The faster someone could chase prey running away, the higher the chances of survival. Those feel-good chemicals the brain released made the high-risk business of survival a little more, well, “fun.”

“The desire to live was possibly their motivation to run and run fast, and the feel-good brain chemicals released when they did so may have helped them achieve the speed and distances required,” says David A. Raichlen, Ph.D., an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona. “The runner’s high may have served (and serves today) as a natural painkiller, masking tired legs and blistered feet.” Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Here are a few tips to help you learn to enjoy your fitness routine and turn your workout around*.

1) Check your hormones. Hormones affect every cell of our bodies. It is important to optimize your hormone levels for your fitness routines to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness. (

2) Ease into exercise. Gradually increase duration, intensity and frequency. You should never be feeling pain, just a manageable burn.

3) Set realistic goals. Never worked out? Create a 30-60-90 day plan that has weekly milestones and take one week at a time very seriously. And, don’t overdo it. Exercise three – four days a week so your body can rest and recover properly.

4) Choose the right exercise. Some people want to work out alone; some have to be part of a group. Explore your options and take your time to figure out what works for you. It’s all about you and it’s YOUR decision.

5) Celebrate small successes. Each time you exercise, you have a reason to pat yourself on the back. Exercise does your body so much good and it is worth a “Well done, me!” when you finish your workout.

6) Reward yourself with healthy stuff. Eating poorly sabotages your exercise efforts. You can exercise twice as hard with half the results if you have poor eating habits.

Finally, it’s time to enjoy your workouts and turn them into recreational events. Even though some people believe “If it isn’t hard, it’s not worth doing,” a wise philosopher once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” And, while the guy may not have been an exercise fanatic, Ralph Waldo Emerson seemed to know exactly what he was talking about.

Here’s to a Better You,


Larry North

Host of the Larry North “Better You” radio show

CBS KRLD 1080 am

Sundays 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Central Time

Listen wordwide at

or join the show by calling 214.787.1080

*It is always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. And, getting your hormone levels optimized with BioTE® can be an important factor in your overall health.

BioTE® Medical practitioners are nationwide. For a provider near you, visit


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