Pain Doesn’t Always Mean Gain


If you’re not exhausted and sore after a workout, it means it wasn’t hard enough… right?

Not! This is why the Ol’ saying isn’t always true… Soreness from starting a new training program is expected. You’re venturing into unknown territory and your body has no idea what it has gotten into.

Day one makes you scared to find out what day two has in store, but you’re eager to reach those goals so you keep pressing on. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness aka DOMS is just part of your fitness girl life these days, but eventually your body will adjust. It’s good to re-evaluate and switch up your workout regimen every 8-12 weeks in order to avoid hitting a plateau, but when you find that you’re constantly in pain or sore, it could symbolize an underlying issue or possible injury.

Everyone is trying to go hard in the gym these days, but sometimes working hard in the gym isn’t always conducive to your health. Thinking about hitting up a boot camp class after you already did a Cross-Fit class this morning? Your mind may say YES, but your body is telling you NO.

There’s such a thing as overtraining and it will derail your results, lead to exhaustion and to some pretty serious injuries. Train smart rather than HARD. Sometimes that girl/guy you see ALWAYS killin’ it in the gym may be doing a workout program that actually isn’t very effective.

I’ve watched gym members days on end sweat their butts off in the gym and after two years of working at that particular gym, I  NEVER saw them reach their desired results. Working out efficiently is key.

In the past I’ve worked out with a trainer and I wouldn’t sweat nearly as much as let’s say when I did Barry’s Bootcamp. That’s because I was doing two different types of workouts. One was traditional weight lifting and one was a cardio boot camp class.

 The amount of sweat during a workout isn’t always the best determinant of the effectiveness of the program.

Thus sweating during a workout doesn’t mean you are burning more fat.  We have gotten into the habit that if you’re not limping up the stairs or can easily squat on the toilet the next day, means that the workout just wasn’t hard enough. It’s easy to blame it on the trainer or class, but sometimes you just don’t need to go all out on your workouts. Listen to your body!

Try your best to space out your hard-core workout days with some lighter intensity workouts and injury prevention methods in between.  I know they always say, “no pain, no gain”, but sometimes that PAIN can really mess with your GAINS. Leave this workout myth in the past.

Still feeling sore after you’ve tried some of my tips? Try some dynamic stretches before your workout and some foam rolling. If that doesn’t work, I strongly suggest seeing a physical therapist.



Evelyn Derderian

Evelyn is a San Francisco native, personal trainer and health and fitness contributor. She loves sushi, books, brunching and working out. Read more of her writing at