Downsides of Training - The Harsh Reality

If we're going to have full transparency as coaches, let's be totally upfront about not only the benefits of training, but also the negatives.

It’s hard to imagine there being any real downsides to training. I mean your pushing yourself, endorphins are flowing and after all, 'sweat is just weakness leaving the body' (probably my most despised phrase of all time).

But unfortunately, it's not all fun and games. Training comes with a long list of drawbacks. And they're not often spoken about. Especially not by people like myself (the one's trying to sell it). I’ve experienced a whole heap of negative side effects during my time training. Here’s a few that spring to mind...


This one's no secret. If you train hard enough and frequently enough, at some point there will be an injury. It's just part of training. It's part of improving. I would go as far as saying it's almost a necessity. It's through injuries you learn what your body is and isn't capable of and you endeavour to perfect the technique of exercises to prevent injuries re-occuirng.

I'm definitely not saying go looking for injuries, christ. But pushing your physical boundaries and injuries come hand in hand.


This happened a lot more in my early days of training. I would pick up a Muscular Development or FLEX magazine. See what the big bodybuilders were doing. Follow one of their programs for 6 months. Reap the rewards physically. But fail to mix thing up. The enthusiasm eventually dropped off. Resulting in harrowing monotony for a new weeks come the end of the program. This often concluded in a long stint away the gym.

At the time I couldn't see what was wrong - I blamed it on lack of motivation. But truthfully it was an absence of knowledge and complete inexperience. It puts a big emphasis on having a coach oversee your training. It really helps keep you excited about stepping into the gym every week.


People hate to see other people doing well. Harsh but true. When you're not in a good place and you see someone you know training, seeing results, in a great routine, (basically got there shit together) jealousy can occur. It's a terrible but natural human instinct.

They may try to discourage you from training. I used to get people telling me it was becoming an obsession, an addiction. I was 'too' into the gym or you're getting 'too big'. It can definitely make you question yourself. But if you're enjoying it. Take no notice!


Trainings awesome when it’s going well. Depressing when your out of routine and regression sets it. You can't seem to get into a routine. Motivation drops, you skip sessions. All of a sudden you start looking more and more out of shape. You start wearing baggy clothes, hoping no one will notice your downward spiralling physique. This ones a real head fucker.

N.B. - Take a week off, maybe two, maybe even a whole month. Clear you head. Refocus. Maybe try a new program. Always worked for me in the past.


This is the one downside you will experience most frequently. The unavoidable DOMS (Delayed onset of muscle soreness). This is the muscular pain which creeps up on you post workout, usually peaking in it's level of horrendousness around 48 after your session.

It's a constant reminder of how hard you worked. Legs usually being the worst of the bunch. Whether it's sitting on the toilet, walking up the stairs or getting out of the chair after a couple hours of forgetting it was there. The complete paralysing of the legs is something every one who trains seriously will experience.

But it's a necessary evil and one you'll learn to love. When your level of sadism reaches somewhere just short of Jack The Ripper, you'll actually go chasing the DOMS and be disappointed when you don't get it.


This is a side affect I wouldn't have included until a couple of recent incidents. Client Mrs L who had a diagnosed fear of being sick (this condition is called Emetophobia) and Miss C who had a mild fear of passing out. Both got really anxious when early signs of dizziness and nausea started. Breaking out into tears on a couple of occasions.

In the early stages of exercise both will be common. But can assure you, nothing to be afraid of. I recall one football coach when I was a kid, who took great pleasure in making all the lads puke during pre-season training. Thankfully this was a coaching style I chose not to adopt.


That's right, whatever you do, DO NOT let the negatives put you off. There's always a work around to any of the draw backs listed above. Often it involves talking to those who have been there, found solutions and wear the scars as a badge of honour.

I'm interested to hear about any other draw backs you've experienced whilst training, leave a comment below :)