Have you ever gotten super excited about starting a new workout regimen and completely forgotten about the soreness that your muscles will endure for the days following your workout? Yes, it happens to all of us, and yes, it hurts. The good news about it is that soreness is a sign of progress. Just like any other goal, as we always say, progress is never comfortable. In order to achieve our goals, pain is involved in one way or another. When it comes to getting fit, that pain involves the self-control required to initially get yourself in the gym, the soreness that comes after, and then the self-control to get yourself back in the gym while your muscles are still sore.

Soreness is completely normal. After we work out, our muscles experience what can only be described as ‘microtears’ to the muscle fibers. These tears are actually what cause the pain we experience. As the muscles tear, they repair themselves to be stronger. This repair can take a few days which is why the pain of the soreness seems to last so long, but it is a direct sign that our muscles are slowly improving in strength. These tears occur when you are doing an activity that your muscles are normally accustomed to. So, when you decide to hop back into the gym for an intense workout after 6 months of doing nothing but flipping channels, you are in for a week of soreness as the muscles you decide to train are all experiencing these ‘microtears,’ and will require a good amount of time to recover from the workout.

Don’t let soreness scare you away from working out, use it to motivate you! As you get back into the rhythm of exercise, the soreness will go away as your muscles get used to the continuous activity. Even after you’ve worked out for a while and you get sore again, you’ll know that you’re making unused muscles stronger!