You know what they say: No pain, no gain. But that old training mantra is outdated, says trainer and strength expert BJ Gaddour.
There’s a fine line between the moderate discomfort that’s normal during a hard workout and being in actual pain. As a weight-room junkie and former football player who constantly pushed himself past his limits back in college, Gaddour learned that lesson the hard way.
“By the time I was 22, I had four knee surgeries—two on each knee,” says Gaddour. “Doctors told me, ‘You’ve got the cartilage wear of a 70- or 80-year-old.’”
So Gaddour set out on a journey to earn back the physical capacity he had lost.
“Now I’m thriving in my 30s more than I ever was in my teens and 20s,” he says.
How did he reach this point? By discovering three key ways to kick pain’s arse.
• Maintain a rigid hydration regimen.
Drink plenty of water—between 2 to 3 litres—throughout the day. A steady stream of H2O will send plenty of nutrients and oxygen to your muscles and prevent your joints and tissues from stiffening.
• Cut your loads in half and double the time-under-tension.
During your workouts, lift lighter weights but do more reps. You’ll get the same muscle-building stimulus you need to make gains, but with less wear and tear on your joints.
• Follow a “Netflix and Stretch” plan while watching TV.
Too much couch time can compromise your movement and mobility, which saps your strength and boosts your risk of injury. Perform the "couch stretch" (below) and you’ll reduce tightness and eliminate muscle imbalances.
HOW TO DO IT
Assume a half-kneeling position with your back knee close to a box or wall; your back shin should be roughly parallel to the box or wall. You may need to hold on to something at first. Hold the position for 1-2 minutes as you contract the stretched leg’s hamstring. Repeat with your other leg.