Fact or Myth: Sore Muscles Are an Indication of a Good Workout?

Everyone’s had that rough day after working out hard in the gym. You can barely walk without looking like you’ve sustained some kind of injury and every step is agony. For many people, this is an indication that they worked as hard as they could in the gym and gotten the best out of their workout, but is this really the case?

In short, your sore muscles are about as accurate at determining the efficacy of your workout as how much you sweat – so basically not at all. While feeling a bit sore the day after hitting the gym can make you feel like you really did something, it doesn’t signify that your workout was productive or effective, or that any kind of muscle building took place. All it indicates is that your muscles were made to do something they weren’t accustomed to doing, and as a result are experiencing inflammation due to microscopic tearing.

Ultimately, working out hard enough to achieve delayed-onset muscle soreness, or soreness experienced the day or so after your workout, can lead to injury and poor performance. Instead, you should be focusing on consistency in your form, feeling stronger and measuring fat loss (if that’s your goal). Here are a few things to keep in mind while exercising and strength training for overall success:

Switch Up Your Routine – If you feel like you’ve hit a plateau and aren’t making much progress or if you just aren’t feeling challenged enough, refresh your daily exercise routine. It’s recommended to change it up every 4-8 weeks to keep from feeling bored.

Make Strength Training a Challenge – Many people aren’t seeing the results they want because they aren’t lifting effectively in the gym. It’s important that you’re lifting to fatigue, no matter how many reps that takes. Do as many reps as you possibly can using proper form. Once you’re unable to lift using proper form, stop. It’s also important to increase weight when needed. A good rule of thumb is if you can do 15 reps with proper form, it’s time to increase your weight.

Don’t Make Yourself Sore – It’s important not to overwork your muscles every single day in the gym. Your body needs time to recover and being sore all the time means that you’re not allowing your muscles adequate time to heal and rebuild. This can lead to ineffective workouts and injury.

Overall, muscles soreness is neither good nor bad in regard to your workout. The one thing to really watch out for is feeling sore day in and day out, regardless of what you do in the gym. This is a good indication that you’re working too hard or that you’re not using proper technique. If you feel like you’re struggling to get your routine right, or that you’ve stopped seeing progress, contact me at Train with Nicole. I’ll work with you to ensure that you’re doing what needs to be done to reach your goal in the most effective and safe manner.

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