The other day I was teaching a party at Pole Fitness Studio (where I work) made up of a group of middle-aged ladies, a couple of them were observing me quite interested flattering me with compliments about my physique, which I appreciated, even tho they ended up blaming my shape on my young age and on the fact that I didn't have kids yet. To myself I thought, if u only knew how much I work for this! But wasn't worth the discussion, so I left them with their wrong assumptions (reason for them to not even try to be in better shape, since it was all about age) and kept doing my job. I wanna talk about the sacrifices necessary to have a great, strong and lean shape and those which are not necessary but can actually hurt u and work against u. To be more clear, I'll create 3 sections: Training, diet and social life.
Training There are no ways around, you gotta train HARD. Since "hard" is a very generic word, I'd also say train to the point u can't take no more, it hurts and burns. The pain I'm referring to here is coming from soreness, tiredness, fatigue etc. You learn to "like it" in the long run, because it brings results! Heavy weights and interval training are tools to build a great physique, so u accept the pain and discomfort they might bring. Thru pain, u become better. Each time.
The pain u don't need comes from bad form, overtraining, training when sick, training injured. Don't train with one of these. You won't gain anything, probably just worsen your condition. You can train with a light headache, but not with the flu, for example.
Diet You need to eat clean and healthy on an everyday schedule. BUT you won't have to reduce your calories, avoid carbs, cycle them, eat only veggies etc if you're not trying to lose weight/compete and overall you have a good amount of muscle. Think about your diet as for life, can you live on the foods you eat now forever? You wanna have a diet that is clean, made of simple whole food, where you can tell the ingredients just by looking at it (not processed). You want fat, complex carbs, lean protein. You don't need to fear wheat if you're not intolerant or allergic. Don't consume too little calories and suffer thru the day dreaming of a salad for dinner, don't put your body under excessive stress. Your body will revenge! Nourish it with small meals throughout the day, and don't shoot yourself if u had carbs at night. Its OK. Be rational about food. So the "pain" here is keep it clean year around, but the unnecessary pain is torturing yourself with crazy diets, fasting, monotonous food etc. A more calm approach to food, more variety, more nutrients too.
Social life You will have to put your training and diet as a priority. I always make sure I have my training sessions scheduled throughout the week and my diet is on point, too. I have to turn down parties, dinners and night outs sometimes, yes just because I need my sleep and rest to train or I don't wanna eat at a crappy place. Is THAT important! But I live in Vegas hello, and I guarantee u I have fun and go out too! It's just about being organized and don't get influenced by other to do what u don't want to (get drunk, eat bad, do drugs, party all weekend etc). "Pain" is to feel like an outcast at times and renounce to some celebratory events, unnecessary pain in never leave your house because of fear of eating out or screwing up training schedule.
So bottom line is, choose the sacrifices and pain that work for you, leave the unnecessary outside your life. Get more happy moments instead :)
Here a pic of me in Italy right now!