“I don’t want to be sore all the time or work so hard that I feel sick. Is it true that it has to be ‘no pain, no gain’?”
“No pain, no gain” has been the mantra for competitive bodybuilders and college athletes since California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was just an 18 year old bodybuilder from Austria. While this is a motivational concept for the intense competitive athlete, it is not the rule for “Joe the plumber” or your average exerciser. The key to a successful exercise program is consistency. Continuing with your program long enough to see and feel the lasting changes is the key. Consistency is very difficult if you dread every workout!
Workouts may not be everyone’s idea of “fun” but they can and should be enjoyable. The exercises should be changed frequently to eliminate boredom and exercises that are appropriate to your specific goals and abilities should be chosen. As for intensity or difficulty, for most people a difficulty level of 7 or 8 on a 1-10 scale is about right. There is no need to workout at a level 10 every time. That will ultimately be counterproductive, particularly if you dread your workouts so much that you stop doing them!
So make your workouts challenging but keep them fun and appropriate to your abilities and your goals so that you can stick with it and make it a habit that lasts a lifetime!