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The Myth of "No Pain, No Gain"

November 27, 2023 3 min read

The Myth of "No Pain, No Gain"

The Myth of “No Pain, No Gain”

Whether you are an experienced coach, dedicated athlete or “weekend warrior” you are quite familiar with the term “no pain, no gain.” “No pain, no gain” has been the justification for ignoring workout-related pain for generations, so it’s worth taking a closer look at its origin. Is it still the right message to deliver to athletes?


“Is The Coach Actually Quoting Jane Fonda?”

The origin of "no pain, no gain" is often attributed to Jane Fonda, who popularized it during the aerobics craze of the 1980s. Fonda, a well-known actress and fitness enthusiast, used the expression in her workout videos and subsequently became associated with the mantra.

It’s hard to image that almost 50 years later that coaches and athletes alike would find the words of Jane Fonda to be the inspiration for their training!


Is There Any Harm With This Mantra?

Actually, yes! Intense and prolonged pain during exercise can increase the risk of injury. Pushing the body to its limits without proper consideration of one's physical condition, form, and fitness level may lead to strains, sprains, or more severe injuries.

Effort and intensity are essential components of effective workouts, but pain is NOT synonymous with effort. Additionally, excessive, and relentless training without adequate recovery can lead to “overtraining syndrome, “characterized by fatigue, decreased performance, and an increased risk of injuries.

The body adapts positively to exercise through a process of stress and recovery. However, this adaptation doesn’t necessarily require extreme pain. Moderate soreness, for example, is a natural response to exercise and part of the adaption process, but persistent or acute pain is a signal that should not be ignored.

Moderate and progressive challenges can elicit the desired adaptive response without compromising safety.


Rethinking "No Pain, No Gain" and Harnessing Magnesium for Recovery

Magnesium plays a pivotal role in muscle function, energy production, and muscle relaxation. However, the body's magnesium levels deplete rapidly from overuse and stress making it a key supplement for triathletes.

Triathletes are prone to soft tissue pain, including muscle strains, joint sprains, and inflammation. The repetitive, high-impact nature of the sport can exacerbate these issues, leading to discomfort and potential chronic injuries. Ignoring or masking such pain can lead to reduced performance and, in severe cases, the end of a triathletes’ journey.


The Science Behind Magnesium's Healing Powers

The effectiveness of magnesium in relieving muscle pain and promoting recovery is grounded in science. Magnesium regulates the body's inflammatory response, enhances blood flow to injured areas, and supports the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy source for cells. These actions reduce inflammation and ensure that muscles have the energy required for recovery.

In addition, magnesium helps to stimulate GABA receptors to help relax brain activity and reduce anxiety leading to more peaceful sleep. This is an important factor for recovery as the body does its major healing on all its bodily functions and systems during sleep.

Wintergreen™ Magnesium Spray

Magnesium Spray absorbs straight through the skin into the blood stream and into the muscles, replenishing lost magnesium fast. It is the quickest and easiest way to get pure magnesium sulphate into the system where it’s needed most. This topical spray is the perfect option for pre and post workouts/matches when one is sweaty, wet, or dirty.


Wintergreen™ Magnesium Soak

A warm 20-minute bath in Wintergreen Magnesium Soak, made with the highest grades of pure magnesium sulphate (Epsom Salts) and magnesium chloride, opens skin pores allowing for the best possible absorption - improving circulation, easing stiffness and pain in the muscles while reducing inflammation in aching joints, and detoxing the body from the effects of lactic acid build up after an intense workout.  By replenishing lost magnesium, Wintergreen Magnesium Soak lessens muscle cramping & fatigue and minimizes the effects of DOMS (delayed onset muscle stiffness) the following day.


Wintergreen™ Magnesium Lotion

The benefits of the Magnesium Lotion are multifaceted. The lotion absorbs quickly into the skin without much pressure needed, making it great to use as a daily moisturizer or before bed to help the body relax and recover. The added wintergreen, arnica oil and pure magnesium, help to reduce muscle fatigue, inflammation and pain, preventing cramping and replenishing magnesium that is lost during excessive sweating while exercising.



For triathletes and coaches, the belief that pain is a necessary by product of progress is a fallacy that we must dispel. Training intensely is essential, but it should not come at the expense of enduring unnecessary pain.

Pain is not a badge of honor, but a signal from the body that it needs care. “No pain, no gain” can lead to needless suffering and jeopardize athletic longevity. Embracing the healing properties of magnesium through topical applications and baths exemplifies a more holistic approach to training, performance AND recovery.