Last night I did my pushups for week 2, day 1 of the hundred pushups challenge. Afterwards I went running for about 1.5-2 miles. It feels good to get back into the swing of things, and once you get going you can feel that your body enjoys getting the exercise (mine does at least). Your body starts to crave it.
Since I only restarted the workouts this week I’ve found that my body is adjusting slowly to the routine, but that I am extremely sore the next morning. I’ve found that the first week or so of working out is usually the hardest for me in terms of soreness, muscle fatigue and exhaustion. After that first week I still get tired and sore, but not to the extreme that I do during that first week. So what causes the soreness? Soreness is discussed on DrMirkin.com:
On one day, you go out and exercise hard enough to make your muscles burn during exercise. The burning is a sign that you are damaging your muscles. On the next day, your muscles feel sore because they are damaged and need time to recover. Scientist call this DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness.
It takes at least eight hours to feel this type of soreness. You finish a workout and feel great; then you get up the next morning and your exercised muscles feel sore. We used to think that next-day muscle soreness is caused by a buildup of lactic acid in muscles, but now we know that lactic acid has nothing to do it. Next-day muscle soreness is caused by damage to the muscle fibers themselves. Muscle biopsies taken on the day after hard exercise show bleeding and disruption of the z-band filaments that hold muscle fibers together as they slide over each other during a contraction.
So I’m damaging my muscles, that doesn’t sound good? But is it necessary? He continues:
Next-day muscle soreness should be used as a guide to training, whatever your sport. On one day, go out and exercise right up to the burn, back off when your muscles really start to burn, then pick up the pace again and exercise to the burn. Do this exercise-to-the-burn and recover until your muscles start to feel stiff, and then stop the workout. Depending on how sore your muscles feel, take the next day off or go at a very slow pace. Do not attempt to train for muscle burning again until the soreness has gone away completely. Most athletes take a very hard workout on one day, go easy for one to seven days afterward, and then take a hard workout again. World-class marathon runners run very fast only twice a week. The best weightlifters lift very heavy only once every two weeks. High jumpers jump for height only once a week. Shot putters throw for distance only once a week. Exercise training is done by stressing and recovering.
Stressing and recovering is the key to success when you’re working out. This sounds a lot like what I’m doing with my Body For Life exercise regime. On cardio days they have you do interval training where you start out slow, and then work your way up to sprinting 5 minutes later, and then back to slow to repeat the process 3-4 times. Burn and recover, burn and recover.
The weight workouts are the same way. Start out with high reps/low weight, working your way towards high weight low reps, and then one set to exhaustion. Burn and recover.
So there you have it, while the soreness may not feel that great, it is to some degree a necessary part of exercising. Embrace, it, use it to your advantage, and you’ll be on your way to being fit.