Throughout our fitness journey, we are inevitably going to ask ourselves, should I workout when I am sore? The answer is yes, but not for the reason that you think. In this article, we are going to discuss the physical and psychological reasons that you should workout when you are sore.
When we first start working out, of course we are going to experience some soreness a few days after a workout. In fact, it can last over a week.
How do we handle those times? Depending on your level of pain tolerance, it can be very difficult to push through a workout when you are experiencing muscle pain.
I recently came home from a vacation and after my first workout back, I had soreness for almost a week. Knowing that I can push through, I did, and I was a lot happier after completing the workout.
The reason your muscles are sore
The main reason that your muscles are sore is due to lack of oxygen to the muscles. This is nothing to be concerned about.
Your body prioritizes other vital organs before repairing your muscles, which is why muscles take time to repair. In the meantime, lactic acid builds up to protect the muscles until your blood can bring enough oxygen and nutrients to repair the muscles over time.
Seems pretty simple right? Our bodies are very complex systems, but the basics of how it works is easy to grasp.
Another thing to consider is that your muscles might be sore due to lack of calories. If you are skinny and trying to bulk up, there is a good chance you aren’t eating enough calories. Check out our article regarding 3 tips for going from a thin body to a muscular body.
Muscles are built by micro-tears happening every time you workout. Your body then brings oxygen and nutrients in to repair those little tears. Over time, this is going to grow your muscles.
This is why it is important to understand nutrition when you are trying to build muscle. You cannot build muscle while in a caloric deficit. When you are eating at a caloric surplus, your body will automatically start gaining weight.
If you are eating at a caloric surplus, that extra weight that you gain will be muscle instead of fat assuming you are working out regularly.
Overall, you need to consider why your muscles are sore. When you ask yourself, should I workout when I am sore, you are not a little bit better equipped to understand why they are sore in the first place.
Always warm up
This should go without saying, but it is extremely important to warm up when you are sore. Why? Because when you warm up, your blood gets flowing. When your blood gets flowing, it temporarily takes away the pain of lactic acid build up.
A lot of people seem to think that warming up is a specific set of tasks that you need to do in order to perfectly execute your workout plan. That is not the way it works. It is simply a way to increase your heart rate.
This could be anything from light jogging to weight training with lighter than usual weights. Just use your discretion when you are warming up.
Here is a little tip that I always use when my muscles are sore. You should find a way to use the muscles that aren’t sore in your warmup.
For example, if your arms and chest are sore, do a little jog or something involving your lower body in order to warm up. If your legs are sore, do something with your upper body as a warmup.
This will ultimately get your blood flowing, which will inevitably proceed to your sore muscles. You will start to notice that the soreness goes away slightly.
The soreness will not go away completely, but there will absolutely be a noticeable difference.
Our bodies are very adaptable. And our muscle memory will override the need to nurse our soreness. Just take the time to warm up when you need to.
Are you still asking yourself the question, should I workout when I am sore? Absolutely you should if you warm up correctly.
Showing up and working out when sore
Here is one thing you need to know. You don’t have to go all out if you are sore when you hit the gym. Too many people seem to think that it is a requirement to show up and do their full weight workout routine.
The point here is that you need to just show up. It is more of a psychological thing than anything else. Just go to the gym and go through the motions, even if you are doing one tenth of the amount of weight that you normally do.
Why? Because it is extremely important to not miss a workout. This may seem silly. Why in the world would it matter if you show up to the gym and only go through the motions with minimal weights.
The benefits are mostly psychological. How many people do you know who gave up their workout routine when they got sore? The number is staggering.
You are much more likely to continue on with your routine if you just show up to the gym for your scheduled session.
The big thing here is to set up routines and habits for yourself that won’t be broken when things get rocky. Learn how to make exercise a habit.
So what does this all tell us? Making exercise a habit is one of the most important things that you can do for your success. You will not come out on top if you are flaky on your routine.
Fitness success does not come overnight. It takes months and years of dedication. Fall in love with the process and you will see results. Just show up to the gym, no matter how sore you are, and just go through the motions with lighter weight if necessary.
Main Point: Should I workout when I am sore?
Have you figured out the answer yet to our question of should I workout when I am sore? The answer is yes, you absolutely should. But it is important to take some precautions when doing so.
The first thing I recommend doing is warming up. It isn’t that hard to get in a 5 minute jog or something else that will get you fired up. Remember that warming up is more about blood flow than it is engaging muscles.
You will find that when your blood flow increases, your muscle soreness is going to diminish. Of course, you cannot expect your muscle soreness to go away completely. But it will decrease temporarily.
Let’s not forget the most important thing to do. Just show up! As I mentioned in the previous section, it is more of a psychological thing. When you show up to the gym without fail, you are going to establish good habits.
When you establish good habits, you hit your goals faster. The sooner you realize this, the better off you are going to be.
What do you think about all this? Are you still asking yourself, should I workout when I am sore? We would love to hear from you.