Sometimes you give someone a piece of advice without realising the impact it may have on them. I’d like to share something with you that I told a close friend who said it was the number one piece of advice that enabled her to achieve her goal of becoming the Australasian Masters Figure Champ.
I’d like to tell you about something I call “The Pain Zone.” The pain zone is where you want to be. The pain zone is the ONLY time during a workout that ANYTHING positive is actually happening. Everything else you do in the gyms ONLY purpose is to get you to the pain zone.
Let me explain; we all know what sets and reps are, but these numbers mean nothing at all unless they are leading you into the pain zone and keeping you there. I’ll use the bicep curl as an example. Your average gym goer (let’s call him Bob) will have a preset number of sets and reps in his head; let’s say its 4 sets of 10 reps in this instance. Bob will begin his set; quite easily cruising through reps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 then he gets to rep 7… it’s a little harder. Bob gets to rep 8… that’s getting tough. Rep 9… Wow that burns. Rep 10… That really kills! (Bob is now in the pain zone). But what does bob do? He stops! Bob managed to get to a point where something good was about to start happening and he stopped! Every rep until that points only purpose was to get bob to the pain zone and he gave up once he was there… now he has to start again and guess what, as soon as he gets to the pain zone he will stop again. Bob will continue to do this set after set, exercise after exercise, year after year. He will have wasted hours of his life in the gym and he will never change.
When you reach the pain zone you want to stay in it as long as go can. The longer you can endure being in the pain zone the more micro tears that will occur in the muscle and therefore the more it will grow. If Bob had managed to go to rep 11, 12, 13 or 14 every single time he would have seen results phenomenally faster than giving up once he reached the pain zone. Here’s the thing about the pain zone, the longer you stay in it the more torturous it becomes, it becomes agonising. Every sinew in your body will tell you to stop and rest but you must have the mental strength to overcome that and stay there, stay as long as you can, do as many reps as you can. Even if you can’t make a full rep, continue to blast out half or even quarter reps. this needs to be your mindset. This is why we say it’s a mental game. How much torture can you inflict on yourself?
Knowing about the pain zone an how to utilise it may be the most powerful tool you have when it comes to your future workouts, use it.