Exercising Is A Form Of Masochism

No Pain No Gain

Whoever said those words was definitely a person who loved pain and loved to inflict it. Ironically, there are some merits to those words. You would think that as part of our self-preservationistic tendencies, we would avoid all forms of discomfort and pain. And yet, exercise is something that we have to do to remain fit. You know you’ve had a good workout by how you feel the next day.  If you don’t feel any form of tightness or soreness then you’re either doing it wrong or not doing enough of it and have to workout harder in your next session.

I just ran for the fourth time this week and I feel all forms of fatigue, soreness and tightness. But I also feel great! It has taken me some time for me to equate this physical state as a good thing. It’s also one of the reasons why I haven’t worked out in such a long time and have been steadily getting out of shape over the years. Heck, I’ve only really worked out when I was in high school as part of gym class. After high school the only way I kept in relative shape was by playing long hours of basketball and other physical games. Sure I felt tired afterwards and some soreness the next day but I was doing something that was entertaining while I was putting my body through the ropes.

There isn’t anything fun about exercise. It’s exercise. You just put your body through it because it will burn off the excess fat and keep you trim and in shape. Sure I’m listening to something while I’m doing it but it still requires a modicum of self-will to push yourself to enact discomfort to your body in the name of physical fitness. In a previous blog entry I wrote about this checklist, a blogger wrote, on how to organize your life and in it he says you should workout first thing in the morning to get your day started. He’s right. Exercising first thing in the morning does get the day started. Oh, but the amount of will power you need to push yourself out of bed to begin your exercise routine is sometimes mountainous.

I’d like to say that working out in the morning these past weeks has gotten easier but I’d be lying. Well partly lying anyway.  As I’ve just said, once a workout routine seems too easy to do you have to make it harder (i.e. 3 sets of 10 push ups is no longer a chore so now you have to do 2 sets of 15 and 1 set of 10 this week and then up it another 5 the following week). By upping the ante your workout feels like you are starting from scratch again and once more you have to really push yourself to maintain the consistency. It’s an ongoing cycle of bear and grin it.

The one thing I’ll say is that I’m actually enjoying the morning runs. I didn’t think I would because the last time I tried it I remember how bad my shins, back and other limbs would feel after running a few blocks. One thing I learned that has made a difference is that I was using the wrong shoes (who would’ve thought that basketball shoes weren’t made for running). The other thing is that a friend of mine gave me a system to slowly build up my running stamina until sometime in 10 weeks or so I would be able to run 3.5 miles in 30 minutes. If you’re curious about this routine it is as follows:


Week 1 Run 2 minutes,walk 4 minutes.Repeat 5 times.

Week 2 Run 3 minutes,walk 3 minutes. Repeat five times.

Week 3 Run 5 minutes,walk 2.5 minutes. Repeat four times.

Week 4 Run 7 minutes,walk 3 minutes. Repeat three times.

Week 5 Run 8 minutes,walk 2 minutes. Repeat three times.

Week 6 Run 9 minutes,walk 2 minutes. Repeat twice, then run 8 minutes.

Week 7 Run 9 minutes,walk 1 minute. Repeat three times

Week 8 Run 13 minutes,walk 2 minutes. Repeat twice.

Week 9 Run 14 minutes,walk 1 minute. Repeat twice.

Week 10 Run 30 minutes.

Note: After completing week 9, if you feel tired, repeat this week of training before moving on to week 10.

My friend says this program was made by Budd Coates, a Health Promotional Manager at Rodale Inc., and before I got started on this program I got my legs ready by making myself walk an extra 30 minutes a day for a few weeks till I felt that I was able to begin the run routine. Back to what I was saying, I’m enjoying the act of running. I like the feeling of the wind passing by me as I go past city blocks and people and ongoing traffic. I like the momentary micro-seconds of that lighter than air feeling you get as your whizzing by between your strides. All that feels great until the possible cramps and aches start to kick in. When that happens then it just becomes a battle of wills. Thus far, I have been able to stick it out and feel a sense of accomplishment that I was able to muscle through my momentary discomforts. Luckily for me they haven’t been too unbearable to the point that I had to take a complete stop and hold on to my side in agony.

I guess exercise is a way to build your tolerance for pain. Which of course brings me back to my original thought which is, exercise is for masochists. Of course, if you want to live a life of good health you have to do it. Not that I’m complaining or anything. It was just an interesting observation I made today as I was muscling through my run this morning.


2 thoughts on “Exercising Is A Form Of Masochism

  1. Pingback: Week 20 of Weight Training: Still Slow And Steady « JULIO FROM NY

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