• Adam Cardona

Soreness vs Overtraining

Ever wanted to achieve a goal you're willing to make sacrifices. What if I told you that some of those sacrifices lead you to new pains down the road? Would you still work to achieve your goal? Anyone who has worked towards a goal will tell you there is some level of pain that is involved to make it work. The most important thing is to be able to distinguish good pain from bad pain. Knowing this is the difference between pain that comes from adapting (soreness), versus overtraining.

Soreness comes in two varieties which are acute-onset muscle soreness and delayed-onset muscles soreness, also famously known as DOMS. Acute-onset muscles soreness comes right away from a workout and is usually present while you are still suffering from fatigue. This is a result of lack of oxygen to the muscles and goes away as oxygen enters the muscles and metabolic waste circulates away from the muscle. Massage therapy is not recommended for acute-onset muscle soreness and instead you want to promote circulation of blood to the muscles.

Delayed-onset muscle soreness is most intense about 24-72 hours after the workout, athletic activity, or event and goes away about a day or two after it’s onset. It is believed to happen because as we load the muscle (aka workout) we cause microtrauma in the muscle causing low levels of local swelling, limiting movement & stimulating pain. Gentle massage with light stretching is recommended to recover from the effect of DOMS.

Overtraining comes as a side effect of pushing the body far past its limit and not giving the body ample time to recover. When training, in order to make advancements and hit personal records we must overload the body, but within limits. This is part of what's known as the “Overload Principle” which in essence is the embodiment of the phrase, no pain no gain. There is more to it then that, but that’s for an article in the future. Overtraining is the point in your development where you become more susceptible to injury while suffering from other symptoms such as feeling completely drained, a sudden drop in your abilities, always thirsty, lowered immunity, your muscles feel heavy & an inability to focus. These are most of the warning signs associated with overtraining though there are emotional side effects such as lethargy, depression, or anxiety.

The recovery time from overtraining is significantly longer than from recovering from soreness, so train within reason. This means every time you workout with a goal to make gains in performance, strength, agility or whatever, make sure to only push past your limit in small increments allowing time for the body to adapt. We make our adaptations as we recover from the activity, so eat healthy, rest fully, stretch and get a massage when you’re in recovery mode. During this time it is only advisable to get a gentle massage while still in this phase of recovery.

Building your body to be ready for your particular sport of choice is a long road with decisions to be made. You have to do as much as you can without draining yourself to the point of overtraining yourself.

If you want to learn more about overtraining or how to recover from soreness or overtraining write us at If you need help to recover from soreness or overtraining then you can also schedule a Swedish massage with us and let your therapist know your condition before the treatment starts so we can adjust to your specific needs.

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