Sweaty and Sore


SWEATY and SORE..... Do you have to be to have a good workout??

After a training session there are all sorts of factors we use to gauge whether or not we have had a “good” workout.  Unfortunately, the feedback that most people use and attribute to having a good workout isn’t the best indicator of future gains or progress.  More often than not I hear people use the degree of soreness or sweatiness to determine how well they killed it in the gym.  Here’s why that mentality will lead you astray:


Soreness after a workout used to be attributed to the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles, however for a while now that theory has been debunked.  The most widely believed cause of soreness after a workout is attributed to small microscopic tears that occur within the muscle fibers and the resulting inflammation (insert pain) that occurs as the body attempts to repair and rebuild itself (this is where protein consumption becomes important).  The tearing of muscle fibers can come from either a strenuous workout where load (weight) is increased OR where new movement patterns are introduced to the body.  Whenever the body is forced to adapt to a new stimulus soreness is likely to occur until the body has been able to adjust.  Once this happens the level of soreness after a session is likely to decrease.  That being said, all people may experience and exhibit (DOMS) soreness in varying degrees.  This makes it a very subjective measurement for “success” in a workout.  While you always want to change your training program to progress either load in certain staple exercises or by challenging your body with new movements patterns, which will cause soreness, being sore ALL THE TIME is no bueno.  In fact, if you are sore more often than not it’s a good indicator that you may be overtraining.  Constant soreness and inflammation in the body is a great way to find yourself injured and nobody wants that!


Just as I mentioned there is variation amongst people with regards to their experience of DOMS, the same is true for sweat.  Not all humans perspire equally.  Sorry.  It’s true.  On the same front, not all workouts cause the same output of sweat.  If you were to run on the treadmill for 45 minutes you’d probably be drenched afterwards.  However, I’d argue you’d have a more challenging cardiovascular workout if you did 3 Tababta’s back to back (total of 12 minutes…. don’t be fooled Tabata’s are DIESEL) and you’d probably sweat half as much.  Other forms of movement such as Yoga and Pilates also don’t produce a lot of sweat but are incredible for core strength, flexibility, breathing, pelvic stability…. I could go on forever.

So, what’s the point of this post?  I want you to expand the way you frame a “good workout”.  Forget the myths that you have be drenched in sweat and sore for days after each session (also remember the lactic acid myth is whack too).  Instead, ask yourself did your workout challenge your cardiovascular abilities?  Did you try a new movement pattern that was previously not possible?  Did you get stronger in a particular lift? Can you ignite your core muscles more effectively now than last week?  Again, I could keep going on.  All of these forms of feedback may not be present at every workout, but they are a great way of tapping back in and asking yourself what you are doing in your program and whether or not you are advancing.

Moral of the story: widen your perception on what you want your workouts to DO for your body.  Focus on being a stronger more capable YOU.  By identifying reasonable and attainable methods of training that safely get you to that place, there is no doubt you will see progress that can be measured in more significant ways than soreness and sweat!

From my Living Room to Yours,


Resolutions are DUMB!

New Year’s Resolutions are dumb.  Yea, I just said that.  I know it may seem a bit harsh, but in actual, factual reality… it’s true.  For the most pressing and blatant of all reasons is that the vast majority of people who make resolutions fail at accomplishing them. In fact, statistically the percentage of people who make a resolution and actually succeed at finalizing that goal is between 8-10%.  Anything that has that low of a “batting average” needs to be reevaluated and reinvented into an approach that’s more effective for the masses.

Let’s for a moment carry on with my hypothesis that “New Year’s resolutions are dumb” and not very effective, then where do we go from here?  What is inhibiting very well-intentioned people from reaching their goals? What’s the point of setting goals?  

I honestly love the idea of starting the New Year with a sense of freshness and renewal.  I also think it’s a great time to evaluate where you are, what you’ve been through, and then where you want to go moving forward.  These are all great things.  Just thinking in this way will help to make sure you don’t grow stale within yourself.  

Where people sometimes go wrong, particularly with regards to fitness or weight loss resolutions, is that it tends to be a massive shift… and an all or nothing concept.  For example, “this year I am going to lose 25 pounds and get ripped abs”.  Not that this is an inherently bad goal, but the problem with this mentality is that it does nothing for promoting longevity.  

The love for the process is usually lost and you become a slave to this goal, generally to the exclusion of all else, and then when that level of intensity is no longer maintainable, because let’s get real…. it’s not - you quit.  No 25 pound weight loss.  No six pack.  And, you probably feel pretty emotionally shitty about yourself as well.  

What I propose is a more gentle approach with yourself - and ultimately more realistic and therefore sustainable.  Why not aim to become a more stronger YOU this year?  This is actually a healthy resolution, both in body and spirit, and one that is absolutely attainable.  It is also an approach that will allow you create, and find a love for, the journey. The process is where all the “goodness” happens.  Learning new and amazing ways of moving your body is what will keep you wanting to move your body consistently and gracefully into the Golden Years. This is just one fitness-related approach as it pertains to the “New Year’s resolution” rush.  

In the end, the moral of the story is whatever you “resolve” to change this year I encourage you to frame that goal in a positive and more constructive manner for yourself. Get rid of the “all or nothing” mentality.  You cannot operate in extremes for very long and sooner or later you will fail.   

It’s okay to challenge yourself and strive for more, but remain kind to yourself in going about it.  Just like anything in life, being flexible will go a long way towards success.  

If you have made a resolution this year and are still going hard at it, HIGH FIVE!  Keep on keepin on!  But, if you are struggling or are still trying to figure out a way of framing your future, take a deep breath.  Maybe expand the depth of your goal and vision.  Sometimes it just takes a slight mental shift to get the momentum going in a positive direction.

Wishing YOU your best, strongest, most creative year yet!  Keep challenging your body and finding new passions that ignite movement.  No matter what your fitness goals are this is the key to a strong and capable body!


From my Living Room to Yours,

Side note:  While in the editing phase of this blog post I came across a really awesome podcast that highlights a lot of the same concepts that I touch upon in this piece.  Namely why it’s so damn hard to keep our New Year’s resolutions. It also has a free app to help you stick to your exercise goals this year!

For more insight and goodies please visit WNYC’s Only Human “Stick to It” podcast here!

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