The Ugly Truth About Training Gains?

What formula provides maximum training gains?

Does it vary person to person?

Does it vary sport to sport?

Does it vary by diet?

Does it vary depending on so many factors, that one hard and fast guiding principle cannot be agreed upon?

Upon further investigation, have we been led to believe less than accurate information?

Soreness = Improvement?

It’s fairly safe to say that a large portion of fitness enthusiasts believe that soreness and delayed onset muscle soreness (D.O.M.S.) are the holy grail of strength and conditioning goal attainment.

We know that micro tears in muscle fibers result in D.O.M.S.

When we tear our muscle fibers, or “break” them, then upon repair, they must be bigger, right? Because we filled that muscle fiber gap with new protein to build new fibers, right?

Simple cause and effect. Break, repair and build bigger.

However, cause and effect is wrong at times and fails to consider subtle complexities that most people prefer to ignore because it’s less cognitively taxing.

Also, we love to believe that pain and suffering not only lead to success, but that they’re vital to it.

Look at this screenshot.

Look at the titles:

  • Why Pain is Necessary to Help You Progress
  • The 7 Inevitable Stages of Pain Before You Succeed
  • Pain is Necessary for Growth and Success
  • 5 Reasons You Have to Accept Pain if You Want to Be Happy

Pain, pain everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I think pain and suffering are absolutely necessary to progress in life. I could write an entire philosophy about that. In fact, Nietzsche already did, when he brilliantly discussed the benefits of post-traumatic growth.

However, there was also a time when everyone thought the Earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the Earth.

Have we reached a similar point in the evolution of fitness and training?

Do we really need soreness to prove our progress to ourselves?

Volume > Soreness?

According to Firas Zahabi, the head coach at mixed martial arts training center Tristar Gym in Quebec, Canada, volume wins out over soreness and pain every time.

You might say who is Firas Zahabi? I did the same before I saw his appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast. Hear him out and watch this highly informative cut from the show.


Here’s an article from The Independent discussing Zahabi’s belief that you should never give 100% at the gym. His points seem to resonate with people.

Two of the more popular comments on the video include that his belief “is called wisdom” and a clever link with a Bruce Lee quote.

"I don’t fear the Man that practices 10,000 kicks 1 time. But I do fear the Man that practices 1 kick 10,000 times."

Zahabi linking training performance and regimen to flow state raises intrigue too. If you don’t know what flow state is, here’s an excellent resource from the father of flow himself.

Flow state is being “in the zone.” Everyone is capable of it, doing just about anything. I’ve known about flow states for a while and believe the more science uncovers about them, the more prominent flow states will become, not only in sports but also in our daily lives. You should be enjoying flow states in your home/garage gym daily.

The Court of Public Opinion

So what do you think Fringe Nation?

Consistency greater than pain?

Volume greater than D.O.M.S.?

What’s your experience been?

Also, have you ever had any flow state experiences?

Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading, have a great day and stay awesome!

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