Ouch! Why am I so sore? It’s fitness challenge time so we might be a little sore after our work outs. In fact, soreness should be expected when you do an activity/movement you don’t normally do or when you increase the intensity of something you have been doing. For example, you might normally jog frequently during class but notice that the sprints leave you especially sore the next day. Or maybe your instructor provided a new move that isolates a muscle not frequently used and you feel it in that spot the next day. This is all normal!
Muscle soreness usually peaks about 24-48 hours after the increased exercise and then gradually gets better. Why? Working out creates small tears in muscle fibers. This causes inflammation and the feeling of soreness. This is a good thing because as the muscle fibers tear and regrow, we get stronger and create lean muscle mass.
Now, let’s say you have been coming to class awhile and feel like you are pushing hard and that getting in those last reps are quite difficult. You are grunting. It hurts. It’s tough. But, you aren’t sore like you used to be from class. Does that mean your muscles aren’t growing? Does that mean class isn’t hard as it used to be? No- not at all! Soreness is not an indicator of whether you are working hard enough to get muscle growth. Your body will adapt to muscle use and soreness won’t be as pronounced as you progress with your exercise routine. As long as the workout feels challenging and you have to really push yourself to complete those reps, you are giving you muscles the stimulus they need to grow. For some of us that are work out fanatics, this is a hard concept for us to grasp but you do not have to be sore for a work out to be effective.
So what’s the take away from this trainer’s tip? Push yourself. Whether you are sore or not, if you challenged yourself, you are getting stronger and building lean muscle.