What does soreness really mean?

Jul 24, 2015

Not what you think!

I’m sitting in Starbucks and there are two women a couple tables away from me who obviously came from some sort of training.  I caught the one woman telling the other how sore she was in her rear delts, and she was amazed at HOW sore she was from such a simple movement (she was demonstrating the Resistance Band Pull Apart).  

And they were both talking about the soreness as if that was a real indicator that they had a great workout.

Considerable soreness is not an indicator of a great workout!

And what exactly is a great workout, anyway?

First, soreness.  It can be an indicator of a few things:

  1. You haven’t worked out in a long time.

  2. You worked out way too hard.

  3. Your body needs a considerable amount of recovery time.

If you’re really sore after a specific workout, don’t jump to conclusions that you had a great workout. In fact, I find that a lot of trainers and group classes use this to trick people into thinking that their training or their class is really effective.  Instead of doing some actual teaching, they merely try to destroy you.  Their hope is that you will leave feeling completely wrecked and think to yourself, “wow, that must have been a GREAT workout.”  

And it usually works. 

Secondly, what is a great workout?  I beg you to change your thinking on this.  Stop thinking about exercise and nutrition in terms of ONE workout or ONE meal.  A great workout is one in a series of many that helps push you along to your goal.  That workout is usually just a little bit harder than the ones that came before it, but sometimes, depending on circumstances, it may be easier if you are in a recovery week.

The same concept applies to eating.  Stop looking at one particular food or one particular meal and asking yourself “is this healthy?” and start asking yourself instead, “does this food or meal fit with the healthy lifestyle/eating that I’ve established for myself?”  For example, as I mentioned earlier, I’m in Starbucks writing this.  I just had a sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich and two dark chocolate peanut butter cups for breakfast with my coffee.  Is that “healthy?”  On its surface, no it’s not.  But in the big picture, as part of my eating plan, yes, it is.  Why?  Because when you add that to the 34 other times I eat during a week, it all adds up to a very healthy lifestyle.

Does this make sense to you?  Do you have any questions?  I’m sure you do!  Give ‘em to me in the comments below!


Category: Tips

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