Should I be sore after every workout?

anti-Inflammation foods

You feel sore after a workout because you have created micro-tears that damage your muscles. Ideally, you should be able to recover within 24-48hs, just in time for your next workout. 

The key is to repeat the stress so the muscles can continue to build week by week. It is only through repetition that you will get stronger.

There are no shortcuts.

Regular stretching, rest, avoiding processed foods and alcohol, and increasing your intake of anti-inflammatory foods, will help reduce muscle soreness.

.

** Read more about anti-inflammatory diets

Ideally, you should be able to recover within 24-48hs, just in time for your next workout.

The key is to repeat the stress so the muscles can continue to build week by week. It is only through repetition that you will get stronger.

There are no shortcuts.

So do you need to be sore after every workout?

It depends on several factors:

1. Short and long term goals

2. Timeline

3. System you want to improve

4. Time of the season

1. You have a big goal and a short amount of time (3 to 8month) to achieve it.

With a short timeline, you will need to see consistent gains each week. 

Yes, the pro athletes feel sore like this AND worse. But it is their job, and when they are not training, they use their time to recover with naps, massages, ice baths, proper nutrition, chiro, acupuncture, and more.  

The best way to help reduce the soreness is to follow a yearly periodized training program, focus on the workouts that matter the most, and then spend the rest of the time recovering. The training will still hurt, and you will be sore, but you will have more days when you aren’t sore.

If you have reached your goal for the summer and are looking to maintain and enjoy your current fitness level, you may not feel sore for the rest of the season.

2. If you have a moderate to big goal but lots of time to achieve it (a year or more), you don’t need to push as hard with more time and can improve slowly.

3. Which system are you trying to improve?

If you don’t feel sore after the workout, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t improving. Training is not just for your muscles. There are so many other systems that are also working hard, which you may or may not be aware of.

  • Neuromuscular system

With each training session, you become more efficient at your sport, strengthing or building new neural pathways. These pathways help you improve your technique so you don’t need to work as hard. 

  • Aerobic System

It is necessary to build a solid aerobic foundation. These are the easy rides, runs that shouldn’t be painful or make you sore.

  • Mental 

Each ride or workout builds mental resiliency, improves self-confidence, and creates healthy habits.

  • Cumulative stress

Every workout creates stress on the body, which cumulates over time. You may be able to accomplish your goal by completing either 2-3 long workouts in the week or six short ones. The six short ones will not make you as sore as the longer workouts, but you will have made the same gains if the accumulated stress is the same at the end of the week.​

  • Stimulates Growth cycle and Reverses catabolism

After 25, our cells stop growing and building on their own. We are now mature humans and are beginning the 2nd stage of life, where the cells start breaking down. Exercise stimulates a chemical reaction, reversing this process and stimulating new growth.

3. You don’t have any goals and would like to stay fit for life.

If training negatively affects other parts of your life, you may need to prioritize and re-evaluate. Since this is your hobby and not your career, you may be willing to give up a bit of speed or strength to not be sore. Or you may want to improve slowly year by year instead of trying to do it all in one season.

4. It is the off-season 

You can NOT continue to improve in ALL areas throughout the year, nor should you try to maintain peak fitness. It is NOT possible and will only get you injured. You need to prioritize the different systems throughout the year. As a cyclist, your season would look something like this, along with the relative soreness you should feel.

January to February – build strength in the gym = muscle soreness

March to May – build endurance = body fatigue as you are building a base

June to August – build strength and power = muscle soreness from high-intensity interval training

September – taper, and race = body and mental fatigue as you are recovering from a full season of training

October – transition = no soreness or residual soreness from the season as you take time to recover fully 

November to December – work on injuries/weaknesses = no soreness or start strength training phase = muscle soreness from getting back into the gym

More From This Blog

1 Comments

1 Comment

  1. debra

    Fab article! Keep writing and sharing!!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Loading...