No pain, no gain?


We are now well at the end of the first month of the year, and for many the resolution of losing weight and getting into shape is at the topmost of their resolutions list for the year.

The horrifying figures that depict Malaysians as an increasingly fat nation have pretty much jolted many of us into resolving to get back in shape.

Which, for some, requires quite a bit of mental effort and motivation for those who have gotten so used to the luxuries of a modern life like cable television, Internet and, rich and fast food.

And then there are those who have jumped on the bandwagon to shape up this fat nation. Notice how gyms and fitness centres are mushrooming all over the place of late? Just take a drive (or better still, a walk) around any commercial lots near residential areas. You are bound to find a gym or a fitness centre.

These are usually situated above the ground levels and have treadmills and all sorts of exercise machines lined up against a clear glass wall, where you would
look up and think “Wow, I
should be working out like those people up there” and continue on to “tapau” (take-away) food from the eatery located right beneath the gym.

Speaking of gyms, a friend came up with an interesting theory that people are more motivated to stick to an exercise plan if they have paid for it, for example, a gym membership or equipment for an expensive sport, as compared to going for a jog in the park.

Anyway, there are two categories of people who resolve to lose weight. Those who actually get up to do some form of exercise, be it in a gym, running outdoors or playing a game, and those who are just not into the idea of getting sweaty and are susceptible to fall for fad diets or slimming products advertised online.

Oh, there are all kinds of products these days being advertised crying out to the tune “Lose weight fast and naturally! No exercise needed! No pills! No injections!”

Commonsense tells us that there is no possible healthy way for one to simply lose weight by going on fad diets or taking shortcuts by consuming so called fast weight loss concoctions.

When it comes to losing weight and getting in shape we are often drilled with the mantra “no pain, no gain”.

And therein lies the problem for most average people.

No pain, no gain connotes that one has to undergo a strict and strenuous regime of physical workout so that they can have bodies like Olympic swimmers.

It can be quite off-putting for those who are afraid of physical hardship. Or, are just plain lazy. And so they resort to so-called quick slimming fads or literal starvation to shed the pounds.

As we advance in sciences, we also advance in understanding how our bodies work. Commonsense also tells us that we need to burn calories naturally by being physically active, and strive to stay healthy by consuming our food in moderation.

There are also those who have the misconception that they will see the pounds peel away almost immediately after sweating it out a couple of times.

However, when they step on the scale and discover they have not dropped an ounce, they get demotivated.

Or they start pushing themselves too much, too soon and workout until they are sore, without realising that they could instead be doing more harm than good to their bodies.

So let us not misunderstand, “no pain, no gain”.

What it really means is that you have to be patient and have some form of discipline in your journey to fitness and good health. It does not necessarily refer to physical pain that you have to endure to become fit.

The Eye knows of friends who, after years of sedentary lifestyles, decided to suddenly start working out without knowing their own physical capabilities, correct exercising techniques and the type of activity that would most suit them.

Instead of getting healthier, they ended up in the hospital with palpitations, torn ligaments and strained muscles.

It is the same for those who rely on diet teas or concoctions. Many are overwhelmed by the svelte looking models (thanks to the wonders of Photoshop) on the advertisements that carry too good to be true “true stories” of people losing weight and looking like they do not have an ounce of fat on them.

Some have ended up with gastric problems, stomach ulcers and even imbalanced nutrition.

No pain, no gain means that you have to do your research. You have to know your body and what it is able to handle at the initial stages of a workout plan.  Best way to know this is to get the advice of a doctor.

No pain, no gain means that you cannot expect to see instant results. It means that you have to pace yourself at different stages of your journey to fitness. It means knowing the proper workout techniques, and having regular and moderate meals, so not to do harm to your body.

To sum it all up, no pain no gain means perseverance and determination. Shortcuts lead to all pain, no gain.