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What is the English expression for the state that someone has to be "sick" beforehand, then at the end achieving the best result?

In my native language, it's said:

Rafting to the upstream areas (of water)[having sickness beforehand because of hard efforts], swimming to the edge (of the river bank)[achieving the best result at the end].

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    I don' understand how rafting upstream equates to sickness. And what is "the edge of water"? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 30 '16 at 8:59
  • Hmmm...sorry, I should've make it clearer. Please give me time. It's not always easy to convey the real message in English, as it is classified as a proverb here. – Student Mar 30 '16 at 12:40
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"No pain, no glory." - I think this is a relevant expression.

"No pain, no gain." - This, too, is almost the same. - you'd gain something (result; desired effect) after the 'pain' (either physical pain, or some other things that may be 'sacrificed')

(I also remember this related line: 'No guts, no glory.")

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