“Go for the burn” went out with Jane Fonda’s striped leotard and legwarmers so why are some fitness programs promoting pushing yourself to the max.? If you are feeling “the burn” during exercise it means that too much lactic acid has built up in the muscles and the body is unable to dissipate it. Fatigue is setting in. Fatigue usually causes incorrect form and technique which can lead to injury. It’s not a great idea to continue pushing when technique fails. The program or trainer who pushes you to do as many reps as fast as you can without focusing on correct technique could be doing you more harm than good. Look to be pushed a little harder than you would push yourself and to be encouraged to try new exercises that challenge you but your safety should always be top priority.
Now, most people would rather not push too hard during exercise and some really could safely push a little harder, but those with a strong competitive nature love it and that’s not necessarily wrong. It’s ok to test the waters to see what you are made of once in awhile. Strength gains are made when muscles are challenged, gradually. Aerobic conditioning improves with more speed, duration or elevation through a gradually increasing plan. Increasing your workloads on a gradual basis is the way to improve fitness safely. You want to work as hard as possible without feeling any “burn”. Sure competitive athletes train to persevere through pain but not at the risk of incorrect technique. Athletes also build rest and recovery into each workout and their overall training plan. Too many hard workouts in succession can also lead to over training which causes plenty of chronic injuries
Nor do you want to feel extreme D.O.M.S. (delayed onset muscle soreness) a day or two following a workout. That usually means you are so out of shape your muscles can’t handle the work. You don’t want legs that scream as you descend the stairs or abs that cry out as you get out of bed. Some minor discomfort can be expected in new activities but not pain. D.O.M.S. is the main reason people drop out of an exercise program. It hurts. A beginner exerciser should progress gradually. In the case of a fit person feeling this it’s usually due to way too many reps of the same exercise, too heavy a weight, not enough rest during the workout or a combination of all. If you are working out safely and effectively you will not feel extreme muscle soreness due to activity, regardless of your fitness level. Exercise smarter not harder to improve your fitness.