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Why you Shouldn’t Aim to “Feel the Burn”

Why you Shouldn’t Aim to “Feel the Burn”
July 01
10:05 2016

You probably have heard fitness instructors yelling “feel the burn” or seen your pals use #feeltheburn on social media in their gym posts.

This burning sensation comes from when your body produces lactic acid after exercising at such a high intensity that it exhausts the muscle’s supply of oxygen. The more you push your workout, the more lactic acid begins to mount and the more you feel that painful burn.

With strong influences like fitness boot camp classes and intense workout programs like INSANITY MAX:30, society as a whole is beginning to feel like if they don’t go there hardest during the work-out, then they didn’t do it right.

However, feeling that burn may actually be overrated and here’s why.

Working out starts to feel like a punishment

If you are constantly dreading that work-out class and you still feel like you can’t walk the day after, most likely it is not something you are going to want to continue. Pushing your body to the max will make it harder for your body to recover. That’s why you should let your body recover post-workout. Sure, after trying a new work-out class, you are going to be sore. But after your body gets more used to the work-out exercises, it should recover quicker, unless you are over performing. Understand your limits and listen to your body. Feeling less sore, will make you want to keep going to that kickboxing class.

You start to feel like the work-out isn’t enough

Like we mentioned above, feeling the burn is becoming the work-out standard. Gym goers are only feeling accomplished if they are extremely sore post work-out. This can be counterproductive and difficult for your body to bounce back. When your body performs less effectively because you are already sore from a previous work-out, how do you expect to do the exercise at the best of your ability?

Soreness does not lead to muscle gain

The “feel the burn” phrase is a major misconception. The soreness after a work-out is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS,) which is a result of unaccustomed exercise. So any new exercise will make you feel sore. There are three important mechanisms for muscle gain- metabolic stress, mechanical stress and muscle damage. All of which occur with the absence of soreness. Soreness is bound to occur in your work-out, but it should not be your goal. It’s one of the ways your body is communicating with you. Monitor your soreness levels. Being able to barely walk after a fitness session is a bad sign from your muscles. Slow and steady wins the race.

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Kerri Adams

Kerri Adams

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