There’s a certain pride that comes with soreness after workouts. Aching muscles serve as a reminder that you killed it, right? Contrary to popular belief, that soreness you’re feeling doesn’t necessarily mean you had a good workout. It actually means it might be time to scale back.
In a recent episode of the Mind Pump podcast, the guys chatted about some of the most common signs you’re overtraining. One of those, hands down, was experiencing muscle soreness. According to personal trainer and podcast host Sal Di Stefano, there isn’t a necessary amount of soreness you should feel post-workout. In fact, the more sore you are, the more you’re overtraining—and potentially hurting—your body.
“I think some people, when they work out, feel like they have to feel sore or some form of sore—that’s false. It’s not a good sign to dictate your progress,” he says. “Sometimes you’ll feel some soreness the following day, but that doesn’t mean you had a better workout. And a lack of soreness doesn’t mean you had a bad workout. But if you’re sore and it lasts for two days or longer, you did too much for sure.”
If soreness is a no-go, how should you be feeling after a workout to know you’re making progress? Di Stefano says when he works out really hard, the goal is feeling no soreness or a little soreness—just a different kind that what you might be used to. “It’s not the kind of soreness that’s evident all the time. It’s the kind of soreness I have to check for,” he says. “Like, I’ll stretch and be like ‘Oh yeah, I guess I am a little sore.’”
So enjoy your workouts, and push yourself as hard as feels right. Once you find your perfect balance, you’ll thrive.