A while ago I saw a photo of my colleague using electro muscle stimulator (EMS) with comment that with EMS she got benefits of 2 hours exercise packed in a 15 minute workout! Suit covered in electrodes, designed to make every muscle in your body quake and shake, when turned on causes muscles contraction 15 times more than they would with a standard workout. It really sounds great, especially for the times when you are not in the mood for workout.
Is the time of “No pain, no gain” over?
According to Wikipedia “No pain, no gain” is a proverb, used since the 1980s as an exercise motto that promises greater value rewards for the price of hard and even painful work. Under this conception competitive professionals, such as athletes and artists, are required to endure pain (physical suffering) and stress (mental / emotional suffering) to achieve professional excellence. Everything started in 1982 when actress Jane Fonda began to produce a series of aerobics workout videos. In these videos, Fonda would use “No pain, no gain” and “Feel the burn” as catchphrases for the concept of working out past the point of experiencing muscle aches. Although there is no medical proof that this proverb is right it became one of the favorite quotes for many professional and amateur athletes.
There are many references for this proverb, but the one that I like the most comes from Benjamin Franklin, who wrote
„Industry need not wish and he that lives upon hope will die fasting. There are no gains, without pains…“ as reprinted in his The Way to Wealth.
In this article Franklin’s central thesis was that everyone should exercise 45 minutes each day. I agree with that 🙂
It seems that with EMS time of “no pain, no gain” is over?!
Is there any other gain that EMS can’t compensate?
Although on the first sight EMS is perfect replacement for the real workout, when you dig little bit deeper you can find many reasons why real workout is irreplaceable and EMS, or any other shortcut, to gains can be even contra-productive.
- Science proved that regular physical activity is clearly effective in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. We don’t know if EMS has the same effects on our cardiovascular health.
- Psychological effects of exercise are so powerful that some scientists propose that exercise may be considered as a psychoactive drug.
- As our belief systems are formed through experience regular workout is reshaping our belief system that has effect on different areas of our lives.
- Winner mentality is built during the training and you demonstrate it in the game. EMS can build your body but can’t shape your winner mentality!
- Regular workout has clear effect on self-esteem improvement. Pride in physical accomplishments and increased satisfaction with oneself can not be compensate with shortcuts.
- If you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, exercise can help with that, too. Physical activity increases body temperature, which can have calming effects on the mind. I am not sure if EMS produce the same effect.
- Brain boost – From building intelligence to strengthening memory, exercise boosts brainpower in a number of ways. Studies on mice and humans indicate that cardiovascular exercise creates new brain cells.
There are not shortcuts in awakening your warrior spirit
In one of my previous texts I wrote about Warrior Spirt. Some people objected to the word Warrior, as it has such negative connotations in modern society. Warriors have indeed been creating chaos all around the world for as long as the human race has been existing. But archetypical Warrior is something different, it’s our inner part in charge for action, for getting things done. Warrior energy is all about setting boundaries, accomplishing tasks and achieving objectives.
There are no shortcuts for energizing your inner Warrior. In order to do so you need to:
Face your fears – A warrior knows that he must face his fears in order to become better in mind, body, and spirit. Shortcut may help you to build better body but your mind and spirit will remain weak.
Empower yourself – A warrior knows that in order to help others he must help himself first. Therefore, the warrior empowers their heart, mind, body and soul daily.
Know your superpowers – A warrior knows in order to become powerful he must know and claim his superpowers. With instant gains you build “finding shortcuts” as your superpower.
Ground yourself – A warrior knows he needs to be grounded before taking action. Therefore the warrior grounds himself through meditation. Warriors practice stillness before the action.
Live in strength – A warrior knows a strong spirit is a powerful spirit. Therefore, the way of the warrior is strength. The warrior believes in spirit, expresses the spirit and protects the spirit. Instant gains are everything but building strong spirit.
Although it sound good to skip the pain and go directly to the gain once we go little bit deeper there are so many disadvantages of such approach.
Most of us are in such a hurry these days that we eagerly take any shortcuts that come across our way. In reality, shortcuts usually lead to disappointments rather than quicker success. Although I take shortcuts sometimes, I dominantly choose to pay my dues towards success. Most of the shortcuts I took actually set me back. So, although I like idea of quick and easy gains I am careful with it.
Don’t try and skip the pain. It’s there for a reason.