View Full Version : Lifting & Working out: Is the aim to get sore afterwards?
04-25-2004, 11:25 PM
I tend to work out very erratically. Oftentimes, I'll work out vigorously for a week straight, I'll get pissed that I didn't see any results, and I'll quit. Just call me impatient.
Here is the thing.
I've took it upon myself to go to Wal-Mart and purchase two 20 lb barbells. This way, I thought, I can work out without the ridiculousness of having to go the gym. Unfortunately, after a week of working out with these barbells, I do not get sore afterwards. I was under the impression that getting sore is indicative of muscle damage and that damage is what causes your body to build muscle. If I'm not getting sore am I not working hard enough?
Ok, as an aside, here is another question:
I'm currently 6'1 and 201 lbs. I'm not overweight but I'd like to lose some. I tend to fluctuate wildly between 187 and 205. I've tried starving myself for a day (I had to stop because the hunger pangs got waaay too intense) and I've even tried counting calories. Nothing works. What can I do? Also, is having a continual "bad body image" indicative of a psychological disorder? Is this something I should see someone about?
04-25-2004, 11:47 PM
Working out with weights erratically will do very little for you. It takes a very long time to add muscle mass (which is what you are going for with anaerobic exercise like weightlifting). Aerobic exercise has many benefits, like strengthening the heart and lungs, and is what you are looking for for taking off weight (the additional muscle you gain from lifting will suck of more calories and help keep you even more trim, but it takes a while to get this benefit).
Generally soreness isn'y bad (so long as you don't seriously damage yourself). You will always have soreness after a difficult weightlifting workout. When you workout for the same length of time with the same weights and do not experience it, congratulations, it means you are improving. Now increase your weight or repititions. Believe me, you will hit a point where you will get sore.
Different camps believe differently about how many repititions are good. I fall into the 8-12 group. Find a weight at which you can only do 8 reps. Stay at this weight until you are capable of 12, and then slowly increase your weight. I generally to a practice set of 15 reps at half the weight before the real set. I use a varied workout that exercises many different muscles, and never repeat the same muscle group within 48 hours to give it time to heal. After about two months I change my routine to different exercises. Works for me.
Diets suck. Some people are big believers in a lot of fad diets and you can't throw a rock these days without hitting an Atkins believer, but the general good advice of regular exercise and healthy eating in moderate portions can't be beat for losing weight, gaining muscle, and staying healthy. If you have trouble maintaining your workout regimine (as I do) get a partner. Set regular times to exercise together and it makes it much easier to stick to it.
The last part is most difficult. Almost no one is completely happy with their bodies. If you think, "I am pretty fit and look good, but with a few more muscles and a bit less flab I would be smokin!" then you have nothing to worry about. If it is a major emotional problem for you though, it can be VERY BAD. If your body image is bad enough then that itself is a psychological disorder. If it causes you great stress I would suggest you see a psychologist. It's OK to want to improve how you look, but the key is to be happy with how you look.
04-26-2004, 03:12 AM
Your lack of persistence will stop you from acheiving almost anything in life.
Listen to Flights advice. I could add my opinions on lifting and nutrition however I would be wasting my breath if you intend to measure it on scales of days/weeks rather than months/years.
04-26-2004, 11:02 AM
After a good weight workout, your muscles should feel fatigued and engorged, but not sore. If you feel sore, then you've injured the muscle and really need to give it time to heal.
Try going back to your gym and getting a few sessions with a personal trainer. They'll be able to evaluate how much you should currently be lifting and how you should progress.
A general guideline is to find a weight that you can lift at least 8 times but not more than 12. Like if I were to start out doing curls, I'd lift 10 pounds. If I could do that 12 times, I'd increase the weight by one increment. If I could lift that 12 times, I'd increase it again. I'd keep repeating the process until I could no longer lift it 12 times. That would be the weight I would use for curls. On subsequent days, lift the same weight but increase the number of reps by one. After several workouts you'll reach the point where you're lifting the weight 12 times. When that happens, change your workout weight to the next higher increment and lower the number of reps to 8.
So your curl workouts might be like this:
Workout 1: 10 pounds x 12, 15 pounds x 12, 20 pounds x 9
Workout 2: 20 pounds x 10
Workout 3: 20 pounds x 11
Workout 4: 20 pounds x 12
Workout 5: 25 pounds x 8
Workout 6: 25 pounds x 9
And you should really do 2 or 3 sets of the exercises each time (Lift 20 pounds 9 times, rest, lift 20 pounds 9 times).
You want at least 1 day rest between workouts to give your body time to recover. Also be sure to eat some protein to help your muscles rebuild.
If you follow that progression, you will eventually see results. Lifting weights is a lifetime commitment. You might not see results in a week, but eventually you will see the difference.
04-26-2004, 11:41 AM
I totally agree with going for a few sessions with a personal trainer.
Also, go to the bookstore and find a book or two that specializes in "gym-free" workouts. I have one that even shows pictures of guys using such unorthodox weights as gallons of milk, cans of corn, and backpacks full of books.
Last time I went on vacation, I took along that book with the full intent of working out every day. I actually did one single solitary workout. Oh well.
Swinging 20lb weights around will have entirely different soreness results depending on what you are doing with them: If you do biceps curls, you probably can do three sets of 10 without any soreness. Try standing up and lifting those same weights straight out from your sides until your arms are extended like a cross (palms down, no bending your elbows); then lower your arms to your sides. I bet after three sets of ten of those your shoulders will be quite sore.
04-26-2004, 12:14 PM
Soreness is not your goal, but if you're never sore you're probably not working hard enough. Achieving physique goals is a matter of good planning, intensity and consistency, and if you're missing any of that, you'll miss your goals too.
When you're just starting out, 3 sets of 8-12 reps is a good scheme. Aim for 15-20 sets per workout, and never train three days in a row. After you've been doing that for about a year, there are better routines for your specific goals, but they all require a base of strength & conditiong.
btw, muscle soreness isn't always indicative of injury. There's a range of soreness, from feeling it when you flex to feeling it when you breathe. At the flexing end, you haven't injured yourself, and are probably capable of working that muscle again. At the breathing end, you are injured, and you need to take care of it.
04-26-2004, 12:29 PM
Something my high school football coach once told me was, "You need to learn the difference between pain and injury." If you're sore and it hurts a little to flex your muscles (but not so much that you can barely move) then you're just sore and some good stretches will help. If you're feeling a sharp, stabbing pain and can't move without serious pain, then you are injured and should probably get to a doctor.
I like to be sore after a workout. To me, it means I worked out hard enough to make a little bit of progress. If I don't feel sore the next day, I know that I have to change something up until I do feel sore.
By the way, I wouldn't look to see any serious changes in your physique for at least three months. A week is just not enough time.
04-26-2004, 03:05 PM
No pain, No gain!
vBulletin® v3.7.3, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.