Does sweating and soreness really mean you had a good workout?!

There are usually TWO things people go by when deciding if they had a good workout or not. Sweat and soreness. Most of you think that unless you’re crawling out of the gym appearing like you got out of the pool, your workout was shit or it “wasn’t hard” enough. VERY misleading and poor information that you’ve been pounded into your heads by marketing gurus.

 

Challenging yourself is what you want to focus on during your workouts, and yes that can definitely make you all hot and sweaty and feeling it the next day, but running yourself into the ground during each workout is NOT what the goal should be.

 

I’ve been doing this lifting and exercise thing for 15 years and I’ve walked out of the gym more times than not without sweating too much. I’ve also had more days when I haven’t been sore the next day vs. days I have. Does that mean I don’t work hard enough? I competed and got down to a very low level of bodyfat without sweating buckets or crippling myself. Progress and effort isn’t measured in sweat and soreness, trust me….

 

So first let’s talk sweat. If sweat is a true indicator of fat loss then why the hell would any of us workout when we could go lie in a sauna or put on a sweatshirt and walk outside in the sun and do nothing!?! If I could lose body fat and stay fit taking a nap in the heat then SIGN ME UP! Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. The reason we sweat is to cool our bodies down and there are MANY factors that can cause us to sweat.

  1. Heat
  2. Stress
  3. Physical exercise
  4. Illness
  5. Hormones

 

Just to name a few:) Reality is that some people just sweat more than others. The goal of a workout is to not see how much sweat you can have dripping off you by the end. So what is the goal? Let’s talk soreness before diving into what an effective workout means.

 

Soreness does not…I repeat does NOT mean you had a good workout. On the flip side, not being sore doesn’t mean you didn’t have an effective workout. Basically it means nothing to be sore or not. Well I shouldn’t say that because it means SOMETHING, so let me explain.

 

Our bodies are built to adaptation and it’s actually pretty amazing. When we start doing something we’re not used to it freaks out! Hence why you’re so sore when you first start a new exercise program. Eventually your body adjusts and adapts to new stimulus and that’s why you become less sore. If you change things and introduce new exercises, perform more weight, sets, reps, any change in stimulus to what you’ve been doing can make you sore.

 

You don’t stop being sore because something isn’t working anymore, you stop being sore because your body adjusts and gets accustomed to the stress. Remember though, as soon as you change things in any way, the process starts over again.

So the question of the hour is, “HOW DO I KNOW IF A WORKOUT WAS EFFECTIVE!?”

This is actually a pretty simple and easy answer..PROGRESS. I want you all to get your mindset on whether you’re progressing and stop thinking, “Wow I didn’t really sweat or I wasn’t sore at all, what a waste!.” Ask yourself:

  1. Am I getting stronger?
  2. Are my weights increasing?
  3. Is my endurance better?
  4. Am I losing fat? (If that’s your goal)
  5. Am I gaining muscle? (If that’s your goal)

These are questions you need to ask yourself instead of thinking you have to go in the gym with the sole purpose in mind of just jumping around and getting sweaty or destroying yourself to the point you can’t even walk out or else it wasn’t worth it. 

Proof is in the progress. Soreness tells you that you changed something, sweat tells you that your body temp was increased and you were cooled down. But effectiveness? No. Track your workouts, use a tape measure, take pictures, use a mirror, test your fitness level, make goals and see if you’re reaching them. Those are TRUE progress indicators:)

-Ab