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Fitness Plan – Does Pain Equal Gain?

Sunday, January 21, 2018


If you exercise on a daily basis, then you’re probably familiar with the phrase “no pain, no gain,” a saying that gets thrown around a lot not only at the University of Oregon but in sports in general.

Although this might serve as a motivational factor for the majority of people, is pain really a good thing? In fact, the belief that exercise brings lots of pain is actually a good reason for people to stay away from the gym, don’t you think? If you feel like you’re one of those people who believe in this theory, then you should know that the idea of hurting while exercising is simply wrong. Generally speaking, if you have muscle pain before, during, or after a workout, it’s a sign that your body is physically stressed.

It’s true, some muscle soreness is essentially unavoidable, especially when hitting the gym for the first time, or trying a new workout routine. This type of muscle soreness is often referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness(DOMS) and typically occurs within the first 24 to 48 hours after you’ve completed your workout. It can also range from mild tenderness to more severe soreness, reminding you every time you breathe, cough, or laugh that you’ve recently hit the gym. Anyone who exercises regularly can experience DOMS, but it’s usually more common following an intense workout training session.  Although it’s easy for us to overlook the pain, swelling, tightness, tenderness, weakness, and cramping, it’s important to understand the cause, listen to your body, and pay attention to these symptoms because they might be related to more serious issues like venous insufficiency.

So, how does muscle soreness work?

To begin with, almost any kind of hard exercise can result in soreness, which can lead to lactic acid. In fact, when lactic acid builds up in the muscle, the muscle becomes sore, tender, or weak. This theory is based on the fact that during (or after) an intense workout, the muscles go into overdrive trying to provide the body with more energy to fulfill the physical demands without oxygen, which leads to the production of acid. That’s why it’s important to drink lots of water throughout your workout and look for signs and symptoms of dehydration. But this isn’t what causes DOMS.

DOMS is caused by strenuous exercise that leads to microscopic tears in the muscles and in some cases, the ligament, which can lead to things like hernias, hormonal changes, and bone pain – a problem that isn’t just caused by vitamin D deficiency. This might sound harsh, but muscle damage is a vital part of making your body bigger and stronger. It’s no wonder why the saying “no pain, no gain” carries a lot of weight around the gym. But it’s still important to remember that the muscles located within your body are made up of protein filaments. So when you lift heavy weights, for example, your muscles react by creating more protein filaments. This is what allows you to lift with more force and gives the muscles the ability to grow in size – also known as hypertrophy.

In short, you can’t beat DOMS. You can, however, take steps towards reducing the amount of soreness and tenderness experienced throughout the body. One thing, in particular, you should try to do if you experience delayed onset muscle soreness is rest until the pain subsides. You can also try to get an over-the-counter pain relief medicine or apply ice to the sore area. If the soreness isn’t too severe then you’ll still be able to exercise and follow your workout routine. But if you’re really sore and still feel the urge to work out, you can always hop on a treadmill and go for a jog.


Related Slideshow: The 7 Best Health and Fitness Apps

Here is a list of some of the most obsession worthy health apps.

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MapMyRun is the number one selling running app for a reason:  it is easy to use, offers community support if you want it, and tracks and stores your exact routes for you.  If you are training for a race or a serious runner, users say that the extra perks in the upgraded paid version are well worth it. 

Made for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 

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MyFitnessPal seems to be the clear favorite amongst everyone polled.  It is helpful not only for the fitness tracking aspect, but everyone polled mentioned how much they loved the food/diet aspect as well. From carb counting for diabetics to recipe ideas to complement your fitness goals, users love this app. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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JeFit is another fitness app that has rave reviews.  It not only tracks progress for you, but offers a huge database of workouts.  While many apps offer community support, JeFit allows you to sync workouts with friends who use the app, offering a (real) virtual buddy system.

Made for iPhone and Android

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Strava gets the highest mark of all the cycling apps.  While it is also great for runners, the cyclers seem particularly inclined towards the fierce competition that can be ignited by this app.  You can track all of your rides via GPS, then you can compare your efforts to those logged by others in the community on the same stretch of road.  You can also join ongoing challenges that can net you great prizes (in addition to bragging rights). 

Made for iPhone and Android

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YogaStudio gets the top vote for Yoga apps.  It has a lengthy collection of full class-length videos available at your fingertips.  Unlike many other apps, this one also allows you to customize your own video yoga class.  All of the poses are done by qualified yoga instructors, and you can find classes suitable for all levels of yogis.

Made for iPhone only

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SimplyBeing meditation app offers the best of both worlds.  You can choose to run this app as a background for your meditation with soothing music or natural sounds that run for a set amount of time.  Conversely, for those of you who have trouble focusing during meditation, you can choose a soothing voice-guided meditation. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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Fooducate is an app all about educating people so that they make healthier food choices.  Although not perfect, this app is easy to use (you can even take pictures of bar codes to instantly find foods in their database).  It gives food a letter grade, tells you the pluses and minuses, and gives you better ranked alternatives.  You can also use it as a weight loss tool by tracking your daily calories. 

Made for iPhone and Android


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