Men's Health

What We Gain From Pain

for masochism is booming. Forget Ironman triathlons; now there are Deca Ironmans—ten Ironman triathlons in ten days—and endurance races like obstacle courses featuring ice-cold pools, 10,000-volt electric shocks, and tear gas. One of the most popular series, Tough Mudder, has attracted more than 3.5 million participants (20,000 of them with Tough Mudder tattoos) since it began in 2010. Often compared to a cult because of the zeal of its adherents, CrossFit has 15,000-plus locations (more than Starbucks) and an estimated 4 million devotees—outnumbering the populations of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, and North Dakota combined.

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