Rethinking No Pain, No Gain: 30 lbs of Tone and Growth in 90 days — Without Lifting a Single “Painful” Weight

We’ve all heard the statement, “No Pain, No Gain.” Chances are you recite it every time you go through a grueling workout session, especially if you are trying to max out your exercise set for maximum muscle development. Pain equals results, right? This is only true because of the physical conditions of your muscles. The “burn” you feel from working out, especially the last few reps of any set, is, in part, because your muscles aren’t getting enough oxygen:

“Anaerobic means "without oxygen," but in exercise physiology, it really means that your oxygen intake and supply cannot meet the demands of your muscles. In this anaerobic scenario, acid conditions and the production of hydrogen ions build and you get the burning feeling when the nerve cells and receptors are impacted.”

Therefore, we think we NEED the “burn.” It’s simply the natural result of working out in the air… and it’s always been that way.

But that’s not the case IN WATER. In water, your muscles stay cool and oxygenated. You can push yourself beyond most traditional levels of strenuousness, where “burn” and danger occur – safely and effectively.

IF you have the right tools.

Until recently, most products allowing for this level of intensity simply didn’t exist. Traditional flimsy kick boards and water noodles were thought to be part of Nana’s Tuesday-morning Pool Workout with the rest of the members of her over-50 residential community. Water fitness equaled light equipment with little impact and it was certainly not commensurate to the level of traditional weight training, in intensity OR results.

At least that’s what I thought, until I created this exercise program and corresponding fitness board. In fact, if you were to tell me that ninety days from the first day I “played” in the pool for 45 minutes a day I would gain 30+ lbs of tone and growth, but 2 inches on my arms and 7 inches on my chest I would have laughed at you too. But it would have been a laughed filled with resolute sadness.

For 15 years, I was well under my ideal muscular weight and suffered from being “skinny fat.” I had come out of a 7 day fast, and never really recovered… for a decade and a half. At 51, I avoided being photographed when I could and skipped wearing half my wardrobe. I tried to motivate myself to pick up the weights during the pandemic shut down, only to go to bed frustrated nightly that I let another day slip away without working out. I was mentally devastated, but not motivated enough to really do anything about it.

That may be your situation too. Whether you are over your desired weight, or under it; whether your muscularity leaves more to be desired, or your cardio strength is lacking or even dangerously low like me, you might want to change. But spending hours in the gym, let alone the travel time, may leave you stuck, frustrated, and sadly resolute, that where you are today is where you will probably stay.

But you don’t have to. If you have or have access to a pool, whether in your backyard or at your local fitness facility, you can change your body and life, quicker and with more fun, than you ever thought possible. It just takes the right equipment. Throw out the water noodle or kick board, “low impact-low results,” mindset. It’s time to start thinking like a revolutionary.

Every revolution experience skepticism, so let me give you my personal testimony. Starting by using a heavy-duty professional body board (for the buoyancy), and then designing and producing a proprietary board, I created an 18-exercise program that I did every day, 45 minutes a day, for 90 days. I did ZERO other exercise (no pushups, sit ups or pull ups etc.) and I took awful photographs just to document my results. I didn’t believe it would really do anything, but I wanted to see if I could tell, though mobile phone images, that it was working.

Here’s the 90-day results.

Month 1: 20+ lbs of tone and growth gained. One inch arm gain, 5-inch chest gain.

Month 2: 7 additional pounds of tone and growth, another inch in arm definition and chest definition.

Month 3: 5 more pounds, total of 2.5” arm gain and 7+” chest gain.

But more importantly, from a health standpoint, my cardio and physical strength went through the roof! I went from taking breaks between sets, and light jogging to running full out for 20-30 minutes with no breaks between exercises.

But here’s the best part. Because of the buoyancy of the board and the level of strain and even failure during each set, I could push my muscles beyond all normal gym thresholds, safely and consistently. And my muscles grew faster and stronger than they ever had in the gym. What took 9 months in the gym, working out for two hours a day in my twenties, took only 60 days in the pool, and 45 minutes max a day – in my fifties.

Here is the actual workout program that saw this development occur. I recommend starting with two full sets of each exercise, moving up to four sets by week four. See the full exercise video below.

And here is the written exercise routine:

Chances are if you have a pool, it remains mostly unused, except by your under-18-year-old children, or during holidays and occasional weekends. Now you can turn your pool into a gym, with results that you need to photograph to believe, and while having more fun than you ever had in the gym. It takes the average person over 21 days to catch “gym fire” or the motivation that gets you off the couch to make the miles-long trek to the fitness facility of your choice. I caught this fire day one and have never looked back. Here’s a perfect example of how you’ll feeling during this workout (let alone after).

Thankfully, there are other pieces of aqua fitness equipment that increase strength and muscular development through water resistance, but nothing supports as many exercises as the board I created and use, or a heavy-duty body board.

I love being in pictures again and I’ve gone back to wearing my entire wardrobe. I am also fitter and healthier in my fifties than I was at my best in my twenties.

“No pain, no gain” is a mantra we’ve all come to live with. But like every new revolution, the mantra and mindset only lasts until something pushes back against it. We now have hundreds of similar stories (it’s easier to lose weight than gain with this program, because of all the intense cardio) from our board and exercise program users, and even those using the boards in their gym’s aqua fitness programs.

We’ve changed the mantra from “No Pain, No Gain,” to “No Pain, ALL Gain.”

If you have a pool, or have access to one, you just may be the next person, who’s physical and health results help to warrant this new revolution mantra change.

Live inspired.

Some additional reading:



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store