To hurt, or not to hurt.

So what do we think about the old ‘no pain no gain’ philosophy of exercise? And by pain I don’t mean that ‘bootcamp break a leg carrying a log’ variety. Instead the type that kicks in about a day or so after a hard workout and means you can’t walk down stairs, you can’t cough and there’s no chance of you being able to clothe yourself in the morning.

Us trainers call it D.O.M.S which stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It comes about generally because you’ve pushed a muscle to within an inch of its life and it’s cranky. Its cranky takes the form of micro tears in the muscle fibers. Sounds bad huh.

So, let’s get back to my original question. Should we cause ourselves pain when we exercise? The answer is yes but you need to be smart about it. The fact is most of us don’t train hard enough. We go to the gym and spend more energy watching Jerry Springer than we do exercising. To get results you need to be pushing your limits. You need to be trying to lift weights you haven’t tried before, you need to be cranking out reps more than were last week and you need to be trying exercises that are more difficult than ones you were doing last month.

If you do this you’ll be sore. But, this muscle soreness is a big neon light saying that you’re getting something out of your training. The muscle breakdown that leads to the soreness is the precursor to your muscles improving and you getting great results.

So get out there this week and crank up your training and curse me all the way to a better body.

Next week: Find out how to best recover from all this darn muscle soreness.

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