Yesterday one of our members posted a check-in in our VIP Members Facebook group, and commented that she was feeling sore from her workouts. She posed the question:
"Is it weird that I enjoy being a bit sore?"
And she followed up with saying:
"I spend the whole day feeling more accomplished because of it..."
In my response, I congratulated her for some AMAZING efforts at consistency in workouts and really being committed to her goals. But I also thought it was a good opportunity to explain a bit about soreness and the role it plays in overall progress and results.
I thought it would be helpful for others to be reminded of this same thing. Here's what I shared with her:
The feeling of being sore the day after a workout is called "delayed onset muscle soreness" or DOMS.
This is caused by muscles being put under a new and different kind of stress (read: exercise thats new or challenging), and having the muscle fibers tear apart. It commonly happens 24-48 hours post workout.
The important part is the rest and recovery, including solid sleep, that allows for the tears to be repaired... this is what results in muscles that are bigger and stronger.
The work happens in the gym, but the results happen while you sleep.
The potential problem comes from putting your musculature under that stress day after day after day, with no true recovery period. This results in your body being challenged to perform new and intense exercise with only a fraction of the potential power and effort it would if it were well-rested.
And, eventually your returns (read: progress) are significantly diminished. You keep working really, really hard but you don't see the same level of results for your efforts. You also become highly susceptible to injury.
So, the takeaway?
Be sure that your workout cycle has some of those heavy intense days that produce the soreness you love... but also be sure to include some low impact recovery days!