Some people make the mistake of thinking next day soreness is the indicator of gains. How much do you really know about your body? Do you even know what is muscle soreness? If you want to keep track of your gains and keep pushing your body, then read on…

The science of muscle soreness
If you have warmed up efficiently and not pulled, torn a muscle etc., then muscle soreness can be viewed as a good thing. When you lift heavy weights during a resistance session, you are tearing open muscle fibers. This is what gives you the pains a few days later; your body is trying to heal the torn muscle fibers. Many people choose to use a BCAA supplement during their workout to supply the muscles with the amino acids they need to recover which can often help to delay the onset of muscle soreness.

It’s an indicator you have shocked your body
Next day soreness is also a good indicator that you’ve shocked your body, and it has done something it’s not used. Also, you may have worked an area which you may not have targeted effectively before. All of this will cause your muscles to be sore. Ever had a week or 2 off from training and felt extremely sore after your first session back? It’s the same principle.

Don’t worry if you don’t get sore…
Another big misconception about training is that you haven’t worked hard enough if you aren’t sore the next day. Over time, what you do to cause your muscles to be sore will eventually cause less and less soreness until there is barely any (or none at all) anymore. This may cause people to assume that their workout is no longer effective. However, this really isn’t the case. It’s just that your body has once again become accustomed to the stress you put it under. Your body is built to adapt to its environment. When you change the environment (which in this case is your workout by increasing reps or weights), soreness will occur and your body will begin to adapt. Try mixing things up as regularly as you can.

You need to measure your gains
You can’t rely on muscle soreness to show you your gains. Gains have to be measured regularly and strategically. Instead, use a workout log, digital scales, a mirror, pictures, tape measure and common sense to judge whether or not what you’re doing is actually working and is delivering. These are the only true indicators of progress.

Have you discovered something you didn’t know? Remember to eat plenty of protein or even better, follow a tailored food plan and keep track of your workouts and progress via the methods above and you will continue to reap the rewards of your training in the form of gains!

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Betsy Smith

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