Social restrictions are being lifted in the UK.  Many areas of society are returning to some sembalnce of normality!  This week gyms have re-opened too.  It’s great to be back in the company of others and familiar faces.  Can someone please tell my glutes that it’s good to be back!  I’ve worked out 4 days on the bounce and my body clearly isn’t liking it.  When it comes to training we have to allow adaptation to drive our progress.


Adaptation is the key

Let’s take my groaning body as an example.  I’ve kept myself in shape during the restrictions.  I’ve replicated my usual training as closely as possible.  Therefore, I wouldn’t expect fitness to have dropped off too much.  So why is my body aching so much with this first week back to the gym?  For me, its a question of intensity.  The excitement and energy that I gain from working out with my friends means that I’ve raised my intensity this week.  Not a conscious decision, just a case of circumstance.

Muscle soreness is a consequence of the damage caused to the body during training.  Its actually a natural part of the process.  In fact, in very simple terms it’s what makes the body fitter.  The human body is designed to avoid stress and therefore adapts to become stronger.  The theory being that the same training session will not be quite so stressful next time.

More isn’t better

So a little bit of muscle damage is necessary.  But it doesn’t mean that more is better – so hold off the extreme workouts and having to bum shuffle down the stairs!  The secret is to find the right amount of work.  Just enough to give you the adaptations that you want.  Strength and conditioning coaches call this the minimum dose response.  Training when the body is clearly fatigue is not necessary.  Give the body more time to adapt fully to your previous session before embarking on your next.

It’s at this point that I need to take my own advice!  When we work with our personal training clients we regularly check in with them during sessions to make sure that we are providing the right amount of stimulus.