If you are new to working out let me officially welcome you to world of PAIN. For me, when I started, pain was a scary concept. I mean, we’re not supposed to feel pain, are we?
The answer is a rounding YES - YES WE ARE. Pain in normal. The difficulty is determining the difference between good pain and bad pain. It is really hard to do, especially if you are a whiny wimp like me!
But pain is necessary for growth. Physically, we need to put stress on our muscles in order to encourage them to grow. There is no way around it.
So let’s talk about pain. Good pain is the kind that happens in the muscles. It is a diffuse pain throughout the area that you are working. That area might start to shake. But when you are done with the movement, the pain stops. There might be soreness or fatigue in the muscle but it is not PAIN.
The opposite side is bad pain. Bad pain comes on quickly and can be described as a stabbing or shooting pain. It is usually in a very specific area - usually in a joint. As soon as you stop the movement, the pain continues. That is not the type of pain you want and you need to stop whatever it was you were doing.
Now let’s look more specifically at a couple examples. When I first started working out just about every single workout I did caused pain. Of course it did! I was using muscles that hadn’t seen action in YEARS. The muscles were under developed and challenging them hurt.
I can remember doing squats. My knees hurt, my thighs (quads) BURNED, my butt was ACHING. And I was barely squatting down at all. But the pain in all of these areas was an aching ouchie, not an intense pain. And squats are one of the best exercises you can do. People worry about squatting hurting their knees. Trust me, your knees are MUCH worse off carrying 100 extra pounds around every single time you walk and not having muscle surrounding them than doing some squats.
These days, I grab a 25 pound dumbbell in each hand and squat way down. My knees don’t hurt AT ALL. Not even a tiny bit. By reducing my weight and building up muscles around the knees to support them I have eliminated that issue.
I still feel pain when I work out. Yesterday I did P90X Plyometrics. It has several sequences of jumping up in the air. Gawd it SUCKED. But there was no sharp shooting pain - it was the pain of growth and taking it to the next level. I also know that impact exercises - like lifting weights and jumping exercises is great for bone density. Especially as a woman who is nearing menopause, this type of stress put on the bones and joints can keep osteoporosis from happening and can prevent broken bones (like breaking a hip) down the road.
While we’re talking pain, let me talk about DOMS. DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. It typically happens 24-48 hours after a workout. So say you did a bunch of squats and you feel really good - and then the next day you can’t sit down on the toilet without screaming in pain because your quads hurt so bad.
That is also GOOD pain. When you do a hard workout you are creating mini tears in your muscles. The soreness is the body repairing them and this causes the muscle to grow.
Why is muscle growth good? Muscle looks great - nice and firm. It can fill out some saggy skin. Muscle BURNS CALORIES - even at rest. So a 150 pound muscular person burns way more calories – even at rest - than a 150 pound person with low muscle tone.
So embrace GOOD pain. Suck it up. Lift some weights, jump around. It is good for you!