I’m having a problem with losing weight. I jog or swim about 2-3 times a week and I find that my body hasn’t changed much even with including exercise into my plan. I think I may not be working out long enough. A friend told me that if I’m not sore the next day, I probably haven’t worked out long enough. Does that make sense?
As far as soreness is concerned it really depends on what you are looking for out of a particular workout. Soreness is a by-product of intensity and acclimation. If you are performing an exercise at an intensity that your body is acclimated to then you most likely won’t be sore. When you increase the intensity past this point of acclimation, small tears are made in the muscle tissue resulting in soreness. The body responds by rebuilding these muscles stronger in order to handle this increased demand. Mild soreness therefore can be a good indication that your workouts are sufficiently stressing the muscles to facilitate this breakdown and building process.
That being said, you can certainly get in shape and see physical changes without being sore after a workout. A good workout program should include both of these types of workout styles. You can find many great triathlon training programs online that incorporate just these types of intensity cycles for both running and swimming.
When it comes to seeing physical results from training, there are 4 areas of consideration:
- Total Duration – This would be the total amount of time you have been involved in your current training routine. Physical changes take time so it is important to stay patient. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
- Session Duration – The average amount of time for each session you train. This is going to be greatly determined by your current fitness level but for a healthy individual, 30-60 minutes would be ideal depending on the intensity.
- Session Intensity – This involves the amount of demand being placed on the body during each session. As stated above, much of this also depends on your level of fitness but a good program should cycle between short intense workouts and longer slower paced workouts.
- Nutrition – As far as seeing physical changes this is by far the most important area of focus. There is very true saying that, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet“. In other words if you are burning 3,000 calories a day but you’re eating 4,000 calories a day, that layer of fat around your midsection isn’t going anywhere. Just think how easy it is to consume 1,000 calories versus burning off the same 1,000 calories. You can easily eat those calories in 10 minutes of indulging in your favorite pizza but it will take you about 2 hours of intense cardio exercise to burn them off! This is why I can’t overemphasize the importance of keeping a diet journal. Write down absolutely everything you consume, every day for 1 month. The easiest way to do this is to write it down while you eat. You will quickly find that you can cut out an incredible amount of calories simply by cutting out processed foods. Try keeping your meals both small and predominately composed of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. By keeping a food diary combined with your workouts, you will definitely see results.