Askhole. A person who constantly asks for your advice, yet ALWAYS does the complete opposite of what you told them to do. (Source: Urban Dictionary)
We all know at least one Askhole, and they are exceptionally common in my profession.
A guy I know recently took up weight training. Although he is completely new to training, he refuses to hire a trainer (even for a consult) and is getting all his training advice online. I stopped giving him any help due to his being a complete askhole.
Not long ago I received this message: “Bro, how can I tell if my pectoral is torn?” To say that this triggered some alarms would be an understatement.
While I’m supportive of people getting in the gym and trying things on their own. I also recommend obtaining the assistance of professionals when needed. I have more than 100 professional contacts just for this sort of situation. My recent adventures with this gentleman indicates the first scenario isn’t going in a good direction, and that the second scenario needs to happen.
After an examination by his Dr, my suspicion proved true. He experienced a strong case of Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and it was nearly a week (1) before he could painlessly put his own shirt on.
He’s lucky, things could have been much worse.(2)
After some interrogation, I found that this wasn’t his first experience with severe DOMS. On DAY ONE he performed an uncounted number of curl variations (basically all the curls) and couldn’t straighten his arms for several days afterward (basically he turned himself into a T-Rex.)
Remember, this is a person that hasn’t adapted to training. He also happens to be nearly the same age as myself and sits on the other end of the fitness continuum.
I know these types of images are supposed to be “motivational”, but I honestly question the sanity of any trainer posting this sort of material.
Some amount of discomfort in training can be expected,especially with beginners. That said, there is a point of diminishing returns. Being ungodly sore after exercise is not some badge of honor or proof that a workout was good. If anything, it indicates the workout was beyond your capacity and tolerances. It would be like laying out in the sun until blisters appear and calling it a “good tan.”
Excessive DOMS interferes with recovery, which is actually where the benefits of your training occur. Pre-supposing you can make it back to the gym, your session performance could be lowered due to the soreness on more than one level.
Excessive soreness can also affect the training of seemingly unrelated body parts. For example, the gentleman’s massively sore chest prevented his ability to put a barbell on his back for squats, get in and out of the leg press or curl dumbbells. Even the Elliptical was out of the question.
Recommendations: Start sensibly. Every Gym God started with an empty bar and built themselves up over time. For the older guys getting back in the gym, my mantra “I’m only as good as my next workout” applies. Your actions can decide if that workout takes place this week or after months of physical therapy.
(1) A perspective on training and recovery balance from a Masters Class competitive lifter. My training is divided over four days, two days are designated as a type of maximum effort, where I work towards the heaviest lift I can control that day. The other two days are set at lower percentages (between 70-85% of my maximum.) I rarely train to failure, and if I do I keep it to 1-2 exercises that involve small muscle groups, usually this type of work is done at 20-30% of what I’m capable.
24hrs after my training I do either small workouts (something I can do in 30min or so) or a form of active or passive recovery (mobility work,massage,ligament/tendon training etc)
It’s rare for me to be anything beyond mildly sore. I like leaving like the gym with a win and knowing I had another 5-10lbs or extra reps left in me. On the platform I like knowing I gave it all I had that day.
The above is not what a beginners training looks like.
(2) On the severe end of things, Rhabdomyolysis is a condition in which damaged skeletal muscle tissue breaks down rapidly. Breakdown products of damaged muscle cells are released into the bloodstream. Some of these, such as the protein myoglobin, are harmful to the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure. (Source: PubMed)
Although Rhabdomyolysis requires a medical diagnosis, if you’re peeing something the color of Coca Cola it would be best to get to the ER.