No pain, no gain


Seriously! The next cycle of exercise has started. I am constantly in pain. I wake up in pain, walk in pain, sit in pain, teach in pain. And I love it. Why? I’m a bit of a masochist, but all this pain means my muscles are working hard. Harder than they have worked in years. Most of my exercise program consist of combinations that engage multiple muscle groups. I have not lost a single kilogram but when I measured today I found that my hips have shrunk by 5 cm.

Why is it so painful? Should it be this painful?

From a biological point of view, while you exercise you burn energy from glucose and other organic molecules in the presence of oxygen and release ATP energy. By products of this process is carbon dioxide and water. This is part of the aerobic exercise routine. However, while doing muscle building exercises you often go into an anaerobic phase where the oxygen gets depleted and the build up of lactic acid occurs. This is the burn you feel during the session, but not the reason for your pain after the session.

During the session you are causing tiny tears in the muscle groups you are focusing on. A variety of hormones, enzymes and blood cells then get involved in the process of healing and building the muscle. While the tearing and healing takes place, pain receptors in the muscle pics up the damage and alerts your brain to the fact. This is then interpreted at pain.

For the next 24 to 48 hours healing takes place and soreness or stiffness may occur. Just bare with it. The more you repeat the same types of exercise the easier it gets and the less pain you will experience.

So … here I go again. I bet you have felt that way. Any ideas on how to make this process easier?


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