What does it mean if I’m not sore after a workout? This is a question I am frequently asked, and I completely understand why! Many people associate sore muscles with a good workout, so if they don’t feel sore afterward or the next day, they assume it was a waste of time. Alternatively, some people may only get sore muscles after certain workouts and not others. This leads them to believe that those workouts are less effective than those that leave them sore.
Why Do You Get Sore After a Workout?
Post-sweat muscle soreness is scientifically known as delayed-onset muscle soreness, according to WHOOP senior performance scientist Cedric Unholz (DOMS). “This soreness is usually caused by eccentric loading and/or unfamiliar movements that the body is not used to at the time of the training session,” he explains. “Stiffness, decreased joint range of motion (ROM), decreased force/power production capacity, and inflammation” are among the symptoms.
According to Rondel King, MS, an exercise physiologist at NYU Langone Sports Performance Center, soreness essentially means that your muscle fibers have been damaged (which is necessary for gains).
While all of those things (except the gains) sound unpleasant, I’d be lying if I said they don’t sometimes feel like the goal. Yeah, it stinks when going upstairs hurts and my legs feel heavy—but it also makes me proud because I know I worked hard during my sweat session. It’s also why I get irritated when my muscles aren’t sore after a workout.
I’m not alone—being sore has become a sort of fitness currency. However, it is deceptive. According to King. “If you’re a high-level athlete or a seasoned gym-goer, you’ll try anything to feel sore because it gives you that sense of accomplishment.” “However, there comes a point when it’s not necessary to feel that soreness.”
If I Do Not Feel Sore After Workout, Am I Doing it Wrong?
Believe it or not, not feeling sore after a workout may indicate that you are in better shape than you think. Working out or doing resistance training provides a stimulus to muscles and changes their structure, so you’re damaging them to the point where you can move them through a new range of motion,” explains King. “However, there is a limit to how much you can do, as well as a limit to your strength and the number of repetitions you can do.” As a result, some people reach a plateau.” With that in mind, he claims that if you’re a regular gym goer, not feeling sore after a workout is a good sign because it means your body is adapting to the stress and strain of lifting and moving.
All of this is to say that just because you aren’t sore after a workout doesn’t mean it was in vain. Rather, if you no longer feel sore after performing certain exercises, it could indicate that you’ve advanced in your fitness.
Why You Don’t Feel Sore At All Anymore After Your Workout: 5 Possible Causes
For some reason, many of us believe that feeling aggressively sore is the only indication of a fantastic, effective workout. Even after powering through what feels like a killer sweat sesh, waking up the next day with no soreness makes you feel like you didn’t push yourself hard enough. If you frequently wonder, “Why am I not sore after workouts anymore?” Don’t worry, you might not be doing anything wrong with your fitness routine.
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However, you may be wondering why you aren’t sore some of the other times you work out. “Am I not working out hard enough?” you may be wondering. One of these five explanations could explain why you’re no longer sore after strenuous exercise.
#1. You may be eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Eating healthier foods can make your body feel amazing, but you may not realize that those same foods can influence how sore or not sore you feel after a good workout. “Eating the right protein after working out is critical for repair and recovery,” Rebecca Louise, founder of fitness app BURN by Rebecca Louise, tells Elite Daily via email. “With this added to your routine, your muscles are getting what they need and recovering much faster.”
So, a lack of soreness does not imply that you did not challenge yourself. In reality, your body may be responding positively to the fact that you are providing it with high-quality fuel.
#2. Your body may have adapted to your workout regimen.
After you’ve made fitness a regular part of your routine, your body may adjust to this new way of life faster than you expected. “[When] you feel great and your body is working efficiently, it’s in a routine and your muscles are adjusting,” Louise says.” Similarly, if you want to get up early, [the first few days may be difficult, and you may end up hitting the snooze button]. When you make the [decision] to get up, you do so for a week to create a habit; your body knows when to wake up and you are not trying to get that five minutes in every morning.”
When it comes to any workout, pay attention to your body and its cues. Don’t be afraid to scale back if you’re constantly spending days recovering from tough workouts, and don’t be concerned if your muscles feel like they’re in great shape after a trip to the gym. Your body may not feel sore after incorporating fitness into your daily or weekly routine.
#3. You are most likely getting enough sleep for your body and muscles.
Getting enough sleep does a lot more than just make you a happier and less grumpy person. A good night’s sleep, according to livestrong.com, aids in the release of growth hormones as well as tissue repair, both of which are important in restoring your muscles to health.
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According to the article, if you are sleep-deprived, you are more likely to be sore after a workout because your glycogen levels will have dropped as a result. (Glycogen is used by your body to contract your muscles.) So, the next time you’re perplexed about why you’re not aggressively sore after that big workout you did the other day, consider that you may have gotten a good night’s sleep.
#4. Stretching before your workouts may benefit your body.
Stretching, according to a Harvard Medical School article, helps your muscles maintain strength and flexibility. Without stretching, you risk injuring your muscles or straining your joints. Stretching, according to the article, can keep your muscles flexible, and exercising will not cause injury by overworking the muscle.
Maintain your post-workout stretching routine if you notice you’re not spending days recovering from aching muscles. Your body appears to respond favorably to it.
#5. Warm-ups before workouts can help prevent soreness.
Many people will warm up before their workout rather than going in stiff. A warm-up, according to the Mayo Clinic, may help reduce your chances of getting injured and having sore muscles. And who wants to be in pain for days after working out?
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You don’t need aches and pains to know you worked out hard. If you don’t feel sore, accept that you might be exercising healthily.
Is It Bad to Stay Sore for Four Days After a Workout?
It is entirely dependent on the individual. Whereas dedicated gym rats may rarely be sore, workout newcomers will most likely be sore for more than a day or two. “Soreness just means you worked a muscle that hadn’t been worked in a while, or that the muscle didn’t have enough endurance,” Weber explains, adding that it’s usually nothing to worry about. “Because it was a different movement, it could also be sore or tenderer than usual.”
If your soreness is concerning, it never hurts to consult a doctor or physical therapist for a second opinion and overall peace of mind.
What Should You Do if You’re Sore After a Workout?
Active recovery, according to Schoenfeld, is the key to treating sore muscles. “Don’t just sit on the couch and do nothing,” he warns. Sitting around hurts soreness because there is no blood flow to your muscles to help them recover.
Active recovery, such as cycling, swimming, yoga, or even walking, aids in tissue repair and pain relief. According to Schoenfeld, a post-workout massage or foam rolling to relieve sore muscles is also beneficial.
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However, if you are extremely sore, Schoenfeld advises against working out until your muscles feel a little better, as you may injure yourself (a larger tear). That doesn’t mean you have to wait until they’re completely healed; if you’ve improved to the point where you’re only mildly or moderately sore, working those muscles isn’t a bad idea, he says. Just don’t overdo it—if you’re sore, a shorter or less intense workout may be preferable in the meantime while your muscles recover.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do sore muscles mean growth?
Muscle soreness is associated with muscle damage, which can but does not have to be present for muscle growth. In a nutshell, unless your goal is to be sore, you don’t need to be sore after every workout.
How do I get rid of post workout soreness?
8 Ways to Reduce Muscle Soreness After a Workout
Eat properly. Protein is required for workout repair, carbohydrates for energy, and healthy fats for joint lubrication.
- Prepare yourself.
- Calm down.
- Get a massage.
- Consider current solutions.
- Roll it out.
- Keep moving.
Do sore muscles burn fat?
Also, as you get into a regular exercise routine, your muscles will adapt and the soreness will fade. To answer the question, no, sore muscles do not directly burn fat. You burn calories both during and after you exercise. And sore muscles are only one sign that you exercised.
Why does Gym hurt first day?
It is normal to have sore muscles a day or two after an intense workout or rigorous exercise, especially if you are increasing your exercise intensity or beginning a new sport or exercise. Tiny injuries in the muscle fibers and connective tissue cause delayed muscle aches and pain.