Whether you’ve been participating in an exercise program for two days or two years, you know how much emphasis serious athletes put on having a quality workout. You may have heard some of these gym-goers also make mention of the soreness they experience after an intense workout, describing the pain as evidence of just how hard they worked out the previous day.
If you’ve consistently been attending fitness classes or going to the gym in Seattle, but just aren’t feeling the soreness they’re always talking about, you might be thinking that you’re not getting the most out of your workout. But that might not be true.
Here is some important information about the role soreness plays in fitness.
Why do my muscles get sore?
Regardless of whether you’re doing a slow jog on the treadmill for 30 minutes, weight training, or participating in an hour-long fitness class in Seattle, you’ll most likely experience some type of muscle soreness after your physical activity.
When you’re exercising and using your muscles against some type of resistance, lactic acid begins to accumulate in the muscles you’re using. When the lactic acid begins to build-up in larger quantities, that’s when muscle soreness occurs, also called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
In addition to lactic acid build-up, an intense workout will cause microtears in the muscles, which results in muscular swelling and inflammation, another potential source of soreness. Because microscopic tearing typically occurs before muscle growth, many people associate muscle soreness with hypertrophy.
How come I’m not sore?
While you may feel like you pushed your body to its limit during your workout yesterday, you might be disappointed to wake up without any type of muscle soreness. However, muscle soreness does not equate to a good workout.
If you’ve been consistently exercising, especially resistance training, your body begins to adapt to the resistance and movements over a period of time. Since your body has adjusted to and anticipates the resistance and exercises, you won’t experience muscle soreness as often or as severe.
The lack of soreness is the direct result of your body’s adaptation to exercise and not a result of a poor workout.
What happens if I want muscle soreness?
As mentioned earlier, muscle soreness is not a determining factor of whether your workout was successful or not, and intentionally pursuing muscle soreness can be detrimental to your fitness and health.
If you’ve been participating in an exercise regimen for 10 weeks and have become dissatisfied with the lack of muscle soreness post-workout, you might feel inclined to step up your workout to achieve these results.
While the idea makes sense in theory, you could be opening yourself up to muscle injuries and other health conditions. Whether you’re sore or not, your muscles are still experiencing microscopic tearing with each workout.
If you rapidly increase your exercise intensity or amount of resistance, you might cause excessive muscle tearing, overuse injuries, or serious conditions like rhabdomyolysis. That’s why pushing yourself too hard is the biggest mistake you should avoid when exercising.
How do I know if I’m getting the most out of my workout?
Though you shouldn’t use muscle soreness as an indicator of a productive workout, there are some more accurate ways to determine just how productive you were during your routine.
The best way to do this is to track your progress over the span of your routine, which applies for both cardio and resistance training regimens.
You should be recording the weight/resistance, speed, repetitions, sets, and any other pertinent data related to your workout. If you’ve been productive during your workout, you’ll notice that you can perform more repetitions, lift a heavier weight, or perform at a faster speed from one workout to the next.
This is commonly referred to as the principle of progressive overload. Simply put, the only way to improve your fitness is by gradually increasing any of these adjustable factors (repetitions, speed, weight, etc.) from one workout to the next.
The Bottom Line
Muscle soreness is commonly a focal point for serious gym-goers, but it does not accurately indicate how intense your previous workout was. In fact, it can be extremely dangerous to exercise to the point of persistent muscle soreness. The best thing you can do is track your progress and take note of improvements from week to week. No matter what your goals are, there are plenty of Seattle fitness facilities that can help you meet your goals.
A Positive Fitness Community
Looking to push yourself to the next level, achieve your fitness goals, and revel in the results? Demco Fitness is a Seattle gym that’s rooted in a positive community of members and personal trainers. We work with our clients to meet their personalized goals, wherever they’re at on their fitness journey. If you’re looking for a positive atmosphere, without the negative gym vibe, Demco Fitness is the Seattle gym for you.