This is something that EVERYONE reading this blog can relate to. At some point in our lives we have been sore and probably sore enough to last a few days, I know I have. I remember 3 occasions when I got so sore it took 5 days to return to normal. It was horrible and not something that I encourage. Soreness is however a “sign” for most people that what they are doing in the gym is in fact actually doing something. BUT, like the scale to weight loss, soreness to results is not what it seems.
First, lets actually talk about what being sore really is. Most people when they first start or try something new get sore within 12-36 hours and the soreness lasts from 24-72 hours. What this soreness actually is, is DOMS or “delayed onset of muscle soreness”. When you are sore you are literally tearing your muscles which is why you get sore but also why you get stronger. The muscles micro-tear, recover in 24-72 hours just a little stronger, and then get to do it again and again with each subsequent workout.
What if you don’t get sore, does it mean you did nothing? No absolutely not, in fact as you continue to train the same muscles in the same program soreness should become less pronounced. If you get sore after each session 3-4 weeks after starting then something is wrong. In fact just because you get sore doesn’t mean you had a good workout either, it just means that you did something new or may not be used to the heavy weights yet.
So, being sore or not being sore is not really a clear indication of workout benefit. You could be sore simply because you tried something new or you may not be sore because you have adapted to your workout program. Nutrition and water also play a critical role in muscle soreness. Lastly, being sore can also be looked at negatively if you are an athelte or competitive runner as it hinders the next days workout. Here is a list of pro’s and con’s when it comes to muscle soreness
1. It means that you are new, tried something new, or pushed yourself so soreness is perfectly normal.
2. Being sore within reason is normal and a sign that you pushed yourself and should last 24-48 hours.
3. The more frequently you train the better adapted your body gets to dealing with soreness.
1. If you are sore for days this is not good because it means that you can not workout as hard 2, 3 or 4 days later, so lets keep those DOMS in check
2. Extreme soreness will also impact your day to day life, mood, and nutrition. If you have ever been sore for 5 days you will know what I mean.
So, being sore is perfectly normal. For the begginner being VERY sore the first week is normal and should dwindle as you continue to workout. Do not judge the effectiveness of your workouts on how sore you may or may not be, but rather on how much progress you are making each month in relationship to your goals.