If you've spent any time around the health and fitness industry, you know there can be an unhealthy emphasis on pushing your body beyond its limits. This idea aligns with the famous motto "mind over matter," and many trainers in the industry will tell their clients it's essential to be pushing themselves new limits. The hope is that by exhausting your body (running that extra mile or lifting heavier than seems reasonable), you'll achieve your fitness goals faster. And you'll surprise yourself. After all, our bodies are capable of incredible things.
But the problem with the "no pain, no gain" way of thinking is that it actually detaches our minds from our bodies, and it convinces us that our bodies need to be suffering before we call it quits. Instead of working in conjunction with our physical selves and trusting our body to guide us through workouts, we force them to do what we think is best. And this can be dangerous and even lead to injury.
Additionally, this mindset doesn't encourage mindfulness or mental and physical unity, and it doesn't encourage us to trust our bodies. We don't need to force them or beat them into physical fitness; instead, we can listen to our bodies and let them guide us.
Moreover, working out should be fun, and if when we're always competing to reach a new level, we often forget that. None of this is to say that we shouldn't reach for new goals or put everything into our workouts, but perhaps we can ask our bodies to communicate with us while we exercise. It may sound woo, but check in with yourself. Ask our body how it is feeling and how far it wants to push itself. You may even be surprised at just how much farther you can go.