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Muscle soreness is not an indication of effectiveness

Hi everyone,

With the evenings drawing in are you still making the activity a MUST? How many of you have used the excuse of the weather or the darkness and skipped your activity for the day? There are such things as head torches and hi viz jackets...good water proof coats and waterproof boots. Maybe it’s a change in activity you need to keep you moving?

Many of you have returned to the pool this week which is great news – well done!

Are you all feeling focused...what activity have you done so far? There’s still plenty of time to get up and get moving. There’s still a chance to concentrate on eating a little healthier and drinking a bit more water know you can always do a bit better guys.

What can be changed..what habits can you try to break. Give something ago today...even if it’s a glass of water before you leave for work or trying a little less sugar in your coffee.

Set a challenge for yourself and prove you can do it today!

Today’s Topic

So this week we’ve been talking about muscle soreness.

And the questions I often get asked are: “My muscles felt sore a day or two after a workout, but these days I don’t really experience muscle soreness at all. Does that mean my workout wasn’t effective, am I wasting my time and does that mean I didn’t increase my muscles size, power or strength? Why do I get sore from some workouts and not other ones – are some workouts not as effective?”

When you're exercising regularly for the first time, or after a long hiatus (weeks, months or years) from the gym, it's very normal to be sore. Sometimes the tightness and pain you feel when starting a new fitness program can last for a week!

But the body is amazingly adaptable, and it when the movements you do are no longer new and different to your muscles, that initial soreness goes away, even as you continue your workouts. Believing that post-workout soreness is proof that you worked as hard as you should is similar to thinking that the degree to which you sweat measures your workout intensity. Neither of these assumptions is necessarily correct. Muscle soreness does not indicate that you’ve build muscle, burnt fat or increased in strength.

As far as muscle soreness is concerned it’s not an indication of effectiveness.

Delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, which occurs 24-48 hours after your workout and is caused by microscopic tears in the muscle tissue.

In time, whatever you did to cause your muscles to be sore again will eventually cause less and less soreness until there’s barely any (or none at all) anymore. Is it because it stopped working or because your workout is no longer effective? Of course not… it’s just that your body has once again become more and more accustomed to the stress and adjusted (repaired stronger & bigger from the last session).

That is after all what the human body is built to do… adapt to its environment. When you change the environment (which in this case is your workout), the soreness starts again and the adaptation process starts right after. This is your body adapting to the changes of exercise.

Some exercises bring about more soreness than others. Certain ones that have a longer stretch component to them such as chest flies and Romanian dead lifts. This doesn’t make them any more effective at producing results it’s just how the muscle lengthens and shortens.

The Bottom Line: If you're not sore after a workout, that does not mean you didn't work out hard enough. You can Increase your weight you lift but this isn’t always advisable early in fitness programmes when you’re establishing a baseline fitness.

So what is a sign of effectiveness?

Look for signs of progress. One of the best indicators of whether you're working hard enough, doing enough reps, or lifting enough weight is that you're able to notice progress.

Are you getting stronger? Lifting more weight gradually at a realistic rate? Do you feel more muscular and are you losing body fat? Are you able to push through a tough workout better than you ever used to? Then your workouts are working even if you’re not getting soreness.

If we were sore after every workout – would you even want that? Would you keep coming back? As well as making progress it’s important I make sure you enjoy your workouts and that you don’t get injured in the process.

To track your progress - Write your workouts down (or use me), look in the mirror, take photos, measure your body with a tape and use your common sense – are you feeling better?

If you've hit a plateau or gotten weaker, then it's time to re-evaluate.

Remember soreness is just telling you that you’ve changed something, did something your body wasn’t used to or you did an exercise that just might make you feel sore the next day.

Watch out. Being sore all the time is NOT a good thing. It can mean that you are not giving your body enough rest to recover and get stronger.

Credit link to Trainer Academy (

Fitness Fact of the week

Only buy peanut butter that has no added sugar! However it’s super calorie dense – you may believe you are being healthy but one tablespoon can have around 100 calories! And let’s face it who stops at one tablespoon?

Quote of the week

“Never have more than 5 jobs on your TO DO LIST – make them a MUST DO”

Keep active & see you soon


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