A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from March 10, 2012
“No pain, no gain” (exercise adage)

The expressions “no pain, no gain” and “no gain without pain” have been traced back many hundreds of years and have been said to be Jewish and Japanese proverbs. “No pain, no gain” became a popular weightlifting slogan from at least 1977; by 1980, it was a motto of Nautilus weightlifting machines.
“No pain, no gain. Shut up and train” is a rhyming extension of the adage.
An opposite rhyming exercise adage is “Train, don’t strain.”
Wikipedia: No pain, no gain
No pain, no gain (or “No gain without pain”) is 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 and pressure to achieve professional excellence.
It came into prominence after 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.
It expresses the belief that solid large muscle is the result of training hard and suffering sore muscles repeatedly, implying that those who avoid pain will never reach a professional level as bodybuilders.
In terms of the expression used for development, the discomfort caused may be beneficial in some instances while detrimental in others.
The expression has been adopted in a variety of sports and fitness activities.
David B. Morris wrote in The Scientist in 2005, “‘No pain, no gain’ is an American modern mini-narrative: it compresses the story of a protagonist who understands that the road to achievement runs only through hardship.”

A form of this expression is found in the beginning of the second century. It is an expression originating from the Faroe Islands. Rabbi Ben Hei says, “According to the pain is the gain.” This was written in The Ethics of the Fathers 5:21 (known in Hebrew as Pirkei Avot). Rabbi Ben Hei was giving a spiritual lesson; no pain in doing what God commands, no spiritual gain.

One of the earliest attestations of the phrase comes from the poet Robert Herrick in his Hesperides. In the 1650 edition, a two-line poem was added:

If little labour, little are our gains;
Man’s fate is according to his pains.
Hesperides 752.
Google News Archive
8 June 1934, The Indian Express (Madras), “Satyagraha suffered by fatigue & domestic burdens,” pg. 4, col. 5:
“If people are not ready for sacrifice they cannot get a good constitution. If we are ready and willing to bear pain we can get a good constitution.”
Google Books
An Uncomplicated Guide to Becoming a Super-Parent
By Joy Wilt Berry
Waco, TX: Word Books
Pg. 32:
If you’ve ever lifted weights, you understand the saying “No pain, no gain.” You build muscle mass by pushing your muscles beyond what they can now do.
Google Books
14 March 1977, New York magazine, “Fear of Parasites: Isadora Meets Her Match” by Erica Jong, pg. 53, col. 3:
... her two favorite expressions were “No pain, no gain” and “That’s junior.”
Google Books
September 1978, Black Belt, pg. 49:
by Pete Manzolillo
“No pain, no gain” is a Japanese proverb that holds special meaning for Teruyuki.
4 May 1979, The Pharos-Tribune (Logansport, IN), “No Breaks Without Aches” by Robert Schuller, pg. 7, col. 6:
And as I stood there listening to him, this line came to me and I’ll share it with you as I did with him. There’ll be no breaks without some aches.
There is no gain without pain; no breaks without aches!
10 February 1980, Radford (VA) News-Journal, pg. B4, col. 2 photo caption:
9 November 1982, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), “34 teams say ‘no’ in informal votes” by Susan Reimer, pg. C1:
“No pain, no gain,” said rookie tight end Pat Beach.
Google News Archive
9 February 1983, The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), “‘Relax and exercise’ devices dangerous fraud, officials say,” pg. E10, col. 1:
The machines are advertised as offering an escape from the weightlifters’ motto, “no pain, no gain.”
OCLC WorldCat record
No pain, no gain : hope for those who struggle
Author: John R Wimmer
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 1985.
Edition/Format:  Book : English : 1st ed
OCLC WorldCat record
Some Stress and Lots of Control: The “No Pain, No Gain” Recipe for Personal Competence.
Author: Dominic J Carbone
Publisher: 1986-00-00
Edition/Format:  Book : English
Database: ERIC The ERIC database is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education.
Summary: This study examined the role of perceived control in mediating the effects of job stress on personal and occupational outcomes, and on enhancing the positive effects of stress on personal and organizational outcomes. Civil service employees working in Child Protective Services in Upstate New York (N=129) completed questionnaires measuring their perceptions of three types of job stress (ambiguity, conflict, and overload) and read three scenarios of job stress relevant to their own jobs, reporting how stressful such a situation was for them when it occurred and the extent to which they felt that they could control the source of stress. Job satisfaction, occupational self-esteem, and psychological adjustment were also assessed. The results indicated that subjects perceived their jobs to be moderately high in stress and low in control.
OCLC WorldCat record
No pain, no gain—Sedge
Author: Paul Limbert Allman
Publisher: New York : Rosen Pub. Group, 1987.
Series: Flipside fiction. 
Edition/Format:  Book : Fiction : Juvenile audience : English : 1st ed
Summary: Two senior classmates and friends present their accounts of an automobile accident and the ensuing problems, and eventually accept responsibility for what has happened.
OCLC WorldCat record
No pain, no gain : an ethnography of bodybuilders
Author: David L Porter
Publisher: 1988.
Dissertation: Thesis (M.A.)—California State University, Dominguez Hills, 1988.
Edition/Format:  Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript Archival Material : English

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityExercise/Running/Health Clubs • Saturday, March 10, 2012 • Permalink

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