Maybe you took a summer hiatus from your training program. Good job for taking the step to get back into it! (you have started back, right?!) When starting up again, or starting an exercise routine for the first time, you will most likely experience muscle soreness. (I most commonly hear grumbling related to trying to sit while using the bathroom, trying to walk up stairs, or when picking up the groceries/kids after a workout!)
But does this muscle soreness represent the quality of the workout you performed? The short answer is NO! Delayed onset muscle soreness (aka DOMS) is most pronounced when you have introduced a new training stimulus. This could be from returning to exercises after a break, trying a new activity, or simply by increasing the intensity or weights of your workout. The soreness is felt most strongly 24-72 hours after the exercise. The technical reason for DOMS is the micro trauma to your muscle fibers caused by the eccentric (lengthening) of the muscles during training. As your body adapts to your training program and learns to distribute the workload across your muscle fibers more effectively, you will feel less sore. Nonetheless, there is a genetic component to our individual response. Some people are more sensitive to pain and soreness. Proper nutrition also plays a role in how your muscles respond and heal.
We often believe if we’re not sore after a workout, then we’re not doing enough. Some like to think of soreness as their “good job!” sticker, but it’s not the case. There are many factors that influence how significantly DOMS presents itself. And you can perform a highly effective workout while not experiencing any muscle soreness.
So does the old saying no pain no gain really stand true when it comes to physical fitness? No! And DOMS should not be feared or revered. It is a natural muscular response to training.
Looking for that new program to get you back into a fitness routine? Don’t miss our Back to School Bootcamp starting next Tuesday, September 6th.
Have a great week,