Lauren Simpson Fitness

We have all been in the position where you’ve had a bit of time off training, you’ve been injured or busy and have been giving your training your all. For some, you are getting into consistent training for the first time ever. Particularly if you are new to my LSF Program you will be feeling the struggle! If you are like any of my girls you are full of enthusiasm, you give your heart and soul to your training session, and by the end of the day, you feel like you have rigor mortis! Don’t even think about getting out of bed the next morning, and by the time day 2 of muscle soreness rolls around you are certain that death would be better than trying to lower yourself down to use the toilet!

The problem with this is that when you are sore like this training feels like the last thing on earth you can do. So, you have just kicked off your new training program/ lifestyle habits and you can’t train again for another week… The question here is, is the degree of muscle soreness a reflection of how effective your workout was? Furthermore, do you NEED to feel muscle soreness in order to progress in the gym?

A lot of people learn to love that sore feeling, they seek it, they even crave it! But how sore is too sore? And is ok to train when you feel this way?

Train smarter, not harder!

Today we are going to change your mindset from:

“If I am not sore, then I didn’t work hard enough”


“If I trained smarter then it doesn’t matter how I feel the next day”

Try not to measure your progress by how your body responds the next day, rather concentrate more on what you are able to do in the gym THAT day. One of the simplest things to remember is that your body is incredibly intelligent, you can’t trick it! So let’s break the muscle soreness stigmas down.

“Oh man the DOMS are real”…

How many times have you heard the term “DOMS” dropped at the gym? Maybe you have never heard the term DOMS before? What does that even mean?

DOMS = an acronym for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

Yes, it is true that this is often a sign that you have pushed your body. Recent research has highlighted that this type of muscle soreness is not from lactic acid, but rather from micro-tears in the muscles and their connective tissue. It is your body’s response to the tissues starting to repair. DOMS will occur for a number of reasons and particularly for certain individuals:

  • • Are you new to training?

  • • Trying new exercises in your program?

  • • Lifting heavier than normal?

  • • Activating muscles in a new way?

Then yes, you might pull up a little sorer than normal for any of those reasons!

Not Sore?

Don’t stress! If you don’t have DOMS the next day it is most definitely not the only marker that can demonstrate whether it was a successful workout. Progress is what it always comes down to. Better things to consider would be:

  • • Was I able to lift heavier than previous workouts?

  • • Was my form more accurate in that session?

  • • Did I squeeze in another round?

  • • Did I add more advanced variations to my program?

But I didn’t pull up sore? Does that mean I am not building muscle?

This is a huge misconception. That if you didn’t pull up sore then you didn’t work hard enough, and you won’t have any “gains”. This is absolutely not true and in fact, sometimes the sorer you are from training, the less muscle growth you will experience from that session. When it comes to muscle growth there are multiple factors you should consider when training:

  • • Are you increasing tension levels on the muscle over time?

  • • Are you training to the maximum? Working your muscles to failure?

  • • Are you training muscles with increased time under tension? Slowing the exercise down and really focusing on not relaxing the   the entire exercise?

These are all techniques that were considered in my journey towards becoming a WBFF pro and training tools I incorporate to my LSF Challenges! I’ve found over my training career that these factors have been the paramount in gaining results, rather than “pulling up sore” the next day.

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A post shared by Lauren Simpson (@laurensimpson) onJan 23, 2019 at 1:27am PST

So, Should you train when sore?

Absolutely! Training when you have sore muscles does not necessarily hinder recovery or prevent muscle growth. You might find, however, that your performance in the next session may be stunted by not being able to “push through the pain”. So what should you do in this situation?

  • • I recommend taking a rest day from that particular muscle group and train an area that isn’t feeling so sore! In my LSF programs, my girls will split train upper body with lower body focus and rest days to ensure optimal performance!

  • • Recovery time can be just as important as the workout itself, give your muscles the time to do what you ask them. If training is absolutely out of the questions this is totally fine! Listen to your body and maybe replace an intense session with active recovery or stretching.

As I previously mentioned, the body is incredibly intelligent. The process of muscles tearing, repairing and growth is a big job for your body to do! Allow your body to do this properly, treat it with respect and it will give back tenfold!

Some of my tips for muscle soreness?

  • • Get the foam roller out

  • • Active recovery - go for a walk or do a relaxing yoga class

  • • Get a massage - do we really need an excuse for this?

  • Stay hydrated!

  • • Supplements - Creatine, L-Carnitine, Beta Alanine. My personal favourite is EHP Labs Passionfruit BCCA’S with a scoop of L-Carnitine straight after the workout to rehydrate and restore my muscles.

Remember girls train hard, always push your boundaries, but most of all endeavor to be intuitive with your training. If it doesn’t feel right that day modify your workout! Progress is all about balance and what works for you. This is your fitness journey and it’s not a quick fix, so make it a process you love!