We all do it… love to hate that sore feeling after a tough workout. We call our instructors out on Facebook for beating us up. We tag each other in posts about our legs, chest and shoulders. We talk about how much pain we are in as we walk back into the studio to inflict more pain on ourselves like a bunch of crazy people. Admit it: We LIVE for the soreness.


Of course we assume if we are sore, we worked out REALLY good. But what if we aren’t sore? Did we not make as much progress? Keep reading for the truth about our beloved after workout soreness.

Delayed onset muscle soreness, better known as DOMS is an acronym that athletes and fitness buffs wear with pride. (DailyBurn.com)

S.W.E.A.T. Fitness Studio BlogWe experience DOMS the most when we introduce a new activity or exercise into our fitness routine, something we should do and the instructors at S.W.E.A.T. make sure we do to continue working out properly. That explains why we were so sore the days after we tried a new class like Insanity, P90X or R.I.P.P.E.D. or why days after a new TNT our whole body hurts.

So what if the days after a workout we don’t feel sore? Does that mean you aren’t working the muscle properly anymore?

MYTH: If you aren’t sore the next day, you didn’t work out hard enough.
TRUTH: Studies have shown that a soreness scale (rating 1 to 10) is a poor indicator of muscle growth and fat loss. There are so many factors playing into how a person perceives pain or soreness that it just isn’t a good indicator of how hard you worked. What is painful for one person may not be to another person.

MYTH: The more fit you are, the less susceptible you are to DOMS.
TRUTH: Definitely not the case. Of course your body will adjust to do the same workout or the same exercise, but being exceptionally fit does not play into this at all. Anytime you change up your workout routine, your body is going to be sore as it repairs the muscles. Since people respond to pain in different ways, someone who is really fit may feel pain very acutely. There is just no correlation between fitness level and susceptibility to soreness.

MYTH: Pre and post workout stretching will prevent DOMS.
TRUTH: Not necessarily. Studies have shown that just because you stretched before and after a workout, does not mean you will be free of DOMS. It is always a good idea to stretch to warm up your muscles and increase flexibility. Unfortunately, it does not mean you won’t be sore the next day.  

MYTH: The workout tore my muscles and that’s why it hurts.
TRUTH: Working out does tear away at your muscles which causes inflammation, but that’s not why you feel sore two days later. According to an article on Women’s Health’s website: “Though your workout is to blame for the inflammation, a healing process called the inflammatory response cascade is what’s really causing your pain 48 hours after your sweat session.” The healing process actually takes about five days. On day two after your workout, your body is in full healing mode, which is what makes it hard to walk.

So when you start cursing Danielle for that brutal Max Burn class this morning or calling out Jess for R.I.P.P.E.D. tomorrow night, remember you love to hate DOMS and it is in fact helping your body grow stronger. But if you don’t feel sore tomorrow or Tuesday, it doesn’t mean you didn’t have a good workout. The only bad workout is the one you DIDN’T do!