Myth:Sweat and Soreness Are Signs of a Good Workout.

Fact: How sweaty and sore you get are not indicators of an effective workout.

It can feel good to work up a sweat, and a bit of soreness can serve as a nice reminder that we moved our bodies and did something physical. But the truth is, neither sweat nor soreness is necessarily indicative of an effective workout.

Those things may feel nice, emotionally, but they don’t always have a solid physiological carryover.

Why do we sweat (or not) when we work out?

In healthy people, sweat is a natural response that aids in cooling down the body. When sweat evaporates, it cools the skin's temperature and helps prevent overheating. During exercise, the heart rate typically goes up, as does body temperature.

That said, just because your body temperature rises doesn't mean you're making progress. Your body temperature could increase because of:

  • The environment

  • The clothes you’re wearing

  • Your genetic predisposition to sweating

  • How recently you've eaten

  • Your hormones

  • Whether you're nervous, anxious, excited, etc.

Yes, sweat can be an indicator that you're exercising hard.

But exercising hard doesn't necessarily mean progress.

It’s not necessary to sweat to make progress. While, in certain cases, we can draw a correlation between the two, there isn’t a direct cause and effect relationship.

When you’re working hard, you may be likely to sweat more. But if you’re exercising in a cool environment and wearing moisture-wicking clothing, even if you’re working hard, you may not sweat all that much.

(Just like you could be sweating up a storm when you’re packed into public transit during rush hour, yet you wouldn’t confuse that with a hard workout, would you?)

What about muscle soreness?

When you challenge your muscles in a significant way — for example by lifting weights — the physical stress creates tiny, microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. With proper nutrition and rest, your body repairs those tiny tears and rebuilds your muscles bigger and with the capability to be stronger than they were before.

Your body's goal is to make everything you do as easy as possible to conserve energy for your survival. This is why your body adapts and becomes bigger and/or stronger so that the tasks you've done become easier for you if you have to do them again in the future.

It's normal to experience something called DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness). DOMS usually occurs one or two days after a strength training session, and feeling a little DOMS is normal if you're challenging yourself. Some people are genetically more predisposed to experience DOMS, while others rarely feel any muscle soreness at all.

That said, it's possible to make great progress without ever being sore, especially if you recover properly from your workouts — and being sore doesn't mean you've made progress.

Typically, being excessively sore is indicative of one or more of these four things:

  • You did something new to you, or something you haven't done for a while, and your muscles aren’t used to working in this way.

  • More stress than previously applied to the muscle. You used more weight, did more overall volume, or spent more time under tension.

  • Prolonged eccentrics. You spent more time in the negative or "lowering" portion of an exercise, which can create more strain on your muscle fibers, leading to muscle soreness.

  • Under-recovery. If you're constantly sore, you're likely not recovering well from your workouts. This could be under-recovery due to a lack of protein to repair muscle, lack of overall calories, lack of sleep, too much stress, etc.

If you're typically always sweaty and sore in workouts, try this...

If you feel like workouts “don’t count” unless they’re a sweat fest, consider experimenting with different forms of more restorative movement or varying the length of your workouts. Instead of a hard run, why not go for a shorter or lighter one, attend a yoga class, or just spend some time outdoors?

Or course, if you sweat a lot no matter what you’re doing, remember that some people naturally sweat more than others. Experiment with different clothes or try exercising in different temperatures (if this is something within your control) to see if it makes a difference. Sweating a lot isn’t typically an issue, especially if you stay well-hydrated.

If you’re always extremely sore after workouts, consider paying attention to your recovery: Are you eating sufficient protein? Are you sleeping enough? Being very sore after doing new-to-you exercises is normal, but that soreness should taper once your body gets used to your program. If you’re constantly very sore, look at the other aspects in your life that may be affecting your recovery.

Finding your personal balance of strength training workouts and cardio workouts depends largely on four things: ● Goals ● Ability level

● Schedule ● Preferences

Step 1: Identify your goals. For most women, it’s to look good, feel good, and feel healthy and strong. That type of programming is going to look different than someone who wants to run a marathon or compete in CrossFit

Step 2: Be honest with yourself about your ability level. Are you new to strength training, or have you been training for a while? If so, have you been training intelligently? Determine how much time you can devote to training each week. It could be as few as 1-2 hours or as many as 5-6 hours. Be realistic so you can set yourself up for success.

Step 3: Determine how much time you can devote to training each week.

It could be as few as 1-2 hours or as many as 5-6 hours. Be realistic so you can set yourself up for success.

Step 4: Don’t forget that what you enjoy doing matters. If you don’t love lifting, but the chart says you’re supposed to do it four days a week, you might be better off just doing it twice. Otherwise you may find yourself skipping sessions, feeling like a failure, and avoiding lifting altogether. Your coach should outline much of the following types of exercise they should do to reach their goals: 1. Strength training 2. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) 3. Moderate Intensity Cardio (MIC) 4. Low Intensity Steady State cardio (LISS)

Strength Training As a general guideline, for women who want to get stronger, gain a bit of muscle, and possibly lose a bit of fat I recommend full-body split.

You can pair 2-3 exercises together to save time or choose one or two movements to do first by themselves so you can focus on going heavy and devote more time to recovery between sets instead of doing another exercise during that rest period.

High-Intensity Interval Training High intensity interval training (HIIT) is broadly defined as periods of very intense (a 9.5-10 out of 10 on the perceived effort scale) work, followed by periods of rest, repeated for time or for a number of sets.

Moderate Intensity Cardio When people think of moderate intensity cardio (MIC), they always think of running or plodding away on the elliptical, but there are tons of options for this type of workout. As long as your heart rate stays in the 120-140 bpm range, you’re good to go. This can be hiking, biking, swimming, fast-paced yoga, or circuit training.

Lower Intensity Steady State Cardio This can be any kind of leisure movement you enjoy—from walking to hiking to biking to yoga—and should be restorative, not strenuous. Your heart rate should remain below 120 bpm, and this activity should be relaxing, and not stressful to your body.

Example: A beginner who has up to 2 hours a week to devote to exercise. Sample Week ● Monday: 40 minutes strength training ● Tuesday: OFF ● Wednesday: 30 minutes MIC ● Thursday: OFF ● Friday: 40 minutes strength training ● Saturday: OFF

● Sunday: OFF

TOTAL TRAINING TIME: 1 hour and 50 minutes

Myth: If You’re Not Exhausted, You’re Not Working Hard Enough

Fact: You don’t have to be exhausted from your training to see results.

Just because a trainer can make you tired doesn’t mean they can make you better.

There are trainers who don’t understand how to properly write and execute a training program, so they simply give their clients what they think the clients need — a butt-kicking.

Now if your goal is to “get crushed” and feel worn out and sore, maybe that works. But honestly, there’s a better way.

The purpose of strength training is to elicit positive adaptations within your body to help you:

  • Gain muscle mass.

  • Get stronger.

  • Increase your bone density.

  • Change your body composition.

  • Improve your hormone levels.

  • Improve your posture.

...and much more.

And you want to know a secret?

You don’t have to exhaust yourself to get there.

In fact,exhausting yourself too much, too often will hinder your progress toward those adaptations.

You need to challenge your body out of its comfort zone in a way that allows you to come back strong the next time around. That’s how progress happens.

The more exhausted you become, the less you’re able to remain consistent with your efforts, and the more likely you are to skip training sessions.

While your training program should be challenging, it should also include a sufficient amount of rest.

When you’re not getting enough rest in a workout or in a training phase, your muscles aren’t getting enough time to recover before the next set (or the next workout). This, in turn, can affect your ability to use enough weight or perform enough repetitions to elicit your desired response.

On the other hand, an appropriate amount of rest can actually help you train harder because you’re giving your muscles adequate time to recover between sets and between workouts. Instead of skipping sessions because you just don’t have it in you, you’re able to show up to each session ready to work hard.

You can’t keep doing something forever when you’re running yourself into the ground.

If you leave every workout feeling utterly exhausted, try this…

Take some time to evaluate what you want to get out of your workouts. Is being tired your goal? If so, keep doing what you’re doing.

However, if you’re trying to get stronger or to change your body composition (or both), consider adding a little more rest in your workouts so that you’re able to perform every rep of every exercise with good technique and enough energy.

Remember that the keys to progress are consistency and sustainability.