Ronnie Coleman is an 8-time Mr. Olympia. Mr. Olympia is the pinnacle competition for bodybuilders. Arnold Schwarzenegger has won it seven times.
In anyone's travels to the top, which I hear is a lonely place, there are sacrifices that have to be made. Especially in the sports arena, a lot of athletes work with the adage "No pain, no gain." I've also heard the downside of that philosophy, over working, over training. Let's face it. Too much of anything is bad.
We can't go more than a few days without water. In an apocalyptic world, water would trump gold any day. But drink too much water, and you'll die.
I've been going to the gym for many years. I've seen many of the same faces. And many of the same bodies. Now, I can't really judge their intentions for going to the gym. Some need the exercise, prescribed by their doctors. Others want that rock-hard, beach-ready look. I can, however, read their intentions by their actions. And I'd say most people who go to the gym want to look good nekked (naked for those who is unfamiliar with Eddie Murphy).
Here are a few indications: the gym is pact during New Years and Mondays, guys grunt needlessly as they lift, others talk about their fast cars when scantily clothed females are near by, and still others roll up their t-shirt sleeves, glaring at themselves in the mirror. Even worse are those who spend endless hours on the treadmill or stationary bike, reading books. But rarely do I see any change in their body composition over the years.
What do people do instead?
Whine and quit.
So, maybe, no pain, no gain is the way to go.
When I first started training, a friend of mine would go lift with me. Not only did he have the worst form, but his diet was full of crap food. And within a couple of months, his strength gains and build had improved faster than I've ever seen. He was also very athletically gifted, and suffered no "pain".
Recently, I had talked to a kid who was going to the gym four times a week. He'd been working out for several years but made little headway to the physique he wanted. Looking at his body, I asked him what he did. Once he became aware he made little progress, he did a little researched and realized he'd been complacent.
Now, every single workout is different. It takes a bit more effort, putting more thought into his workouts, most of his sessions are difficult both mentally and physically. I see him. From the very first set to the last, he pushes hard. I feel the pain as he hammers out each set. As a result, he's able to lift more weight than a lot of the bigger guys in the gym. And he's reaping the rewards.
The key here is that he became aware and made changes.
So life isn't just about no pain, no gain as much as noticing where you are, what have you done to get to where you want to be, and do you have to make changes that may be uncomfortable to fulfill your dreams. For some, it's painless. For others, it's not.