No Pain, No Gain?
Practice Newsletter – October 2014
Dear Practice Friends,
Last month I posted a link to a research article from the New York Times’ Phys Ed section entitled, “How Exercise Helps Us to Tolerate Pain.” The scientists at the University of New South Wales and Neuroscience Research Australia measured both pain threshold, which is the point at which we start to feel pain, and pain tolerance, or the amount of time that we can withstand the aching, before we cease doing whatever is causing it. After taking 12 students through a six-week stationary-bike training regimen, the scientists found that while the pain threshold for this group as well as the control group remained the same, the pain tolerance int he experimental group increased substantially.
As a trainer and a fellow exerciser, this is something I have observed in myself and in my clients over the last eleven years. From your side as a client, it may feel like the workouts always generate the same amount of muscle fatigue or “burn” (not to be confused with joint pain, or pain related to injuries to bone, muscle or connective tissue) but over time you are usually able to increase the time or number of repetitions under load.
This phenomenon, of increasing pain tolerance with practice, is a pivotal element of not only physical training, but of life change in general. While the scope of the study was confined the subject’s experience of physical discomfort, the results can metaphorically point to a fundamental pattern that often accompanies one’s efforts to make changes for the better, namely, delaying short-term gratification, and withstanding some measure of discomfort, in order to achieve long-term satisfaction.
As fitness instructors, a significant part of our job involves ferrying our clients across the gap that lies between the letting go of an old way of behaving (not exercising, or eating poorly) and really embracing the new life habit. We put a lot of thought into selecting exercises, resistance levels and exercise duration that helps our clients to get stronger without overwhelming them, because we know that too much too soon tends to drive people away from something that can be hugely beneficial to them. The first experience of delayed onset muscle soreness, if not contextualized properly, can become a barrier to seeing the potential rewards of increased activity that shine like a light at the end of the tunnel.
Instructors are sometimes characterized humorously as both sadists, because t hey seemingly delight in dishing out suffering, and masochists, because they seemingly enjoy the discomfort that comes with challenging workouts. Nothing could be further from the truth.
What we experience on our side is compassion for the new exerciser because we were once there ourselves. And having been through the process of training over time we do experience joy, not for the experience of muscle ache and lactic acid burn (I would never describe that as a good feeling), but from the recognition that we are now stronger and can tolerate more than we could before. Part of that joy comes no doubt from the endorphins that help to temporarily dull our experience of pain as the article suggests, but above and beyond that is the psychological satisfaction of feeling our own self-efficacy, our strength, our endurance and our resolve to keep moving well for the rest of our lives.
For those members of the Practice community who have been with us for awhile, you know what I mean. It’s wonderful to witness you as you lean into the wind, so to speak, and stay present to the sensations in your body as you move through the exercises without sacrificing form.
To those who are newer to the community and to regular exercise, I say, stand fast, lean forward, and sail on; treasure lies ahead!
Monthly Class Calendar and 2014 Rates
No changes for October. Happy Halloween!
Welcome to Practice!
A warm welcome goes out to our newest members of the Practice community, who started with us in September:
We are thrilled to have you with us. Welcome aboard!
Join Us for a Day of Pilates Workshops November 16th
Practice will be offering a day of STOTT PILATES workshops on Sunday, November 16th starting at 9am:
STOTT PILATES Matwork Strength & Mobility; 9a-11a
STOTT PILATES Mini-Stability Ball Workout; 1130a – 130p
STOTT PILATES Athletic Conditioning on the Reformer, Level 4; 2p-4p
Click here for a copy of the marketing sheet which describes the workshops in more detail.
For certified instructors this is a great opportunity to complete your annual CEC requirement for STOTT PILATES in one day. If you are an ACE certified personal trainer you can also get 0.2 CECs per workshop for their requirements.
You do not need to be a fully trained instructor to take these workshops; members of the Practice community are welcome! If you have a client or friend who enjoys learning new exercises to add to their repertoire, they are welcome to join us as well!
Each workshop is $100. You can receive a 10% discount by registering before October 17th. You can save an additional $10 per workshop by bundling all three workshops.
To register, please feel free to email Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on his cell at 937-609-4170.
The Expanding American Waistline
From the Well Section of the New York Times: “Abdominal obesity – a “beer belly” or “beer gut” – is caused by fat around the internal organs. It is one of the indicators of metabolic syndrome, a group of five conditions that raises the risk for heart disease and diabetes.” In a new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a significant increase in the Average Waist Circumference occurred between 1999 and 2012.
Weights Before Cardio?
From Gretchen Reynolds in the NY Times’ Ask Well Section:
“The best available science indicates that the order of the exercises, or whether they should be combined in one workout, was immaterial.”
I recently saw a trailer for a fascinating new feature documentary called The Connection, which explores how science is showing a direct connection between your mind and your body when it comes to your health. I am not sure if it will get released in the midwest, but at the very least look for it on video in the coming months.
Why Are We So Fat? The Multimillion-Dollar Scientific Quest to Find Out
Thanks to Thomas Gottschlich, who kindly forwarded us this fascinating article from Wired Magazine abut the Nutrition Science Initiative, a nonprofit that prides itself on funding fanatically careful tests of previously overlooked hypotheses. NuSI (pronounced new-see) was launched in September 2012 by crusading science journalist Gary Taubes and former physician and medical researcher Peter Attia. There are three NuSI studies now under way, which focus on establishing the root causes of obesity and its related diseases. Check it out!
Research: Sit Less, Live Longer
Also from Gretchen Reynolds comes another article on two more studies that underscore the value of sitting less and standing more:
“If people need motivation to get up from their office chairs or couches and become less sedentary, two useful new studies could provide the impetus. One found that sitting less can slow the aging process within cells, and the other helpfully underscores that standing up – even if you are standing still – can be good for you as well.”