At the highest level, soreness is an indicator that something different happened.

I drank for the first time in a LONG time a couple of weeks ago and that resulted in a bad soreness

On a workout/gym level…

The muscles have been damaged. We feel some discomfort.

On the one hand, this is an indicator that we’ve challenged ourselves in a different way. So it’s perfectly normal and ok to feel sore sometimes. And it’s good to challenge yourself.

Having said that, we don’t want to actively chase soreness.

In fact, if the goal is truly JUST to be sore, that’s not all that hard to do. If you do sufficient volume, use new exercises, and importantly, challenge the muscle most while in a stretched position, you’ll be sore AF.

Furthermore, if you get really sore 2-3 days after the workout, we may be experiencing something called DOMS: delayed onset muscle soreness. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most members will experience DOMS at times. But if we get SO sore we have to skip workouts and/or take it super easy while we hobble around the gym, these extreme levels of soreness are counterproductive.

At the beginning of your fitness journey it’s definitely the worst and once we get through that initial 7-10 days…trust me, you’ll be good.

Remember, for most people, the goal is NOT soreness. It’s some other health/lifestyle/wellness endgame: increased strength, cardiovascular health, larger muscles, calories burnt, improved blood work, mental well-being, improved confidence, stress relief, etc. etc.

Here’s why it gets tricky: there’s something mentally satisfying about being sore. Particularly in muscles we really want to grow and/or challenge. But if we’re constantly getting sore, it means we’re never actually adapting. And this isn’t good for the other goals mentioned. Because at some point, we need to develop some competency at a given exercise or fitness task.

To be clear, if we’re NEVER sore, that’s also probably not great. It suggests we’re not changing things enough and/or we’re not pushing ourselves hard enough.

We just don’t want to judge the efficacy of our workouts by how sore we get.

We don’t want to judge the efficacy of our workouts by how HARD they are and how EXHAUSTED we feel. 

We want to judge the efficacy of our workouts by the results they produce and how it makes us feel when we finish and leave the building.

Listen, there’s a time and a place for pushing it to the limit for the sheer joy of feeling peak exertion. But this isn’t a sustainable style of training. Once per week max in my opinion. And it won’t lead to the best results over time for virtually any fitness goal besides “Getting real exhausted!”

Farting blood is not a prerequisite of going to that next level in the gym. 😉

You need to work hard no doubt. But most of us are busy, stressed, sitting a lot and we aren’t always in the best place to put our body through that extra level of stress.

Far from it…you hit that level TOO often you will probably hurt yourself. (and put yourself off for good)

Your target level of intensity isn’t “as hard as humanly possible.” It’s “the correct intensity to create the results you want.”

And presumably, the results you want are not “to be as sore as possible.”

To summarise..

More is not better.

More is more.

Sometimes more is actually worse.


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