After a long hiatus, I've decided it's time to get my fat ass back in shape. To this end, I'm getting up a couple hours early every morning and doing a some Cardio, weights four times a week, and a strenuous (for me) hike once a week.

It breaks out like this:

M - Lower Body + A Little Cardio
T - Upper Body + A Little Cardio
W - Hike (Big Cardio and Leg Workout.)
H - Upper Body + A Little Cardio
F - Lower Body + A Little Cardio

I've been doing this for just over two weeks now, and it's feeling good so far.

The problem is that it's Wednesday, so I should be at the gym tomorrow doing upper, and everything is still pretty sore. The same thing happened last week, so I just went in and did some light reps, and tried to find muscles to work that weren't sore.

I'm hoping my soreness will taper off a bit as my body gets back in the habit, so this may not be an ongoing issue. For now though, I don't want to skip any morning gym visits, because I'm trying to keep up the schedule daily for 3 months to turn it back into a habit.

So, what do you do when everything is sore? I don't want to work things that are still sore, I don't know if I will really be able to find anything that's not sore, I don't want to skip my session, and I don't want to go in and just stand around looking at the weights =o)

  • Soreness (from DOMS) isn't really a valuable indicator for whether or not you should work that muscle. A cursory google search will corroborate. Just get warmed up and stick to your routine, you'll be fine.
    – Daniel
    Feb 6, 2014 at 21:35
  • Why not switch Thursday and Friday around so you have more of a gap between upper body sessions and less of a gap between lower body sessions? Feb 7, 2014 at 12:13
  • @AnthonyGrist - Because I hike on Weds.
    – Eli
    Feb 8, 2014 at 16:34
  • +1 for the waking up early to workout. That's one of the first ways to stay motivated to scraping the goo off one's body. Mar 17, 2014 at 17:23

7 Answers 7


There are always some muscles that won't be sore due to the sheer number of muscles in your body. Just think about what muscles didnt you work and work on those. Now if you are truly sore everywhere doing something like biking, treadmill, or other cardio is really good to get blood flowing into those muscles to help with your recovery on the days where you are too sore.


I think, for first few month you can't do anything about pain until your body adapt to this level of exercise. If you have too much pain, the ibuprofen will help a lot. Try to use recovery drinks like Hummer Nutrition Recoverite after exercise.

In addition, please drink more water with electrolytes. Many untrained people having lover level of the electrolytes in their bodies. Low level of the electrolytes can cause muscle pain and cramps.

  • A Danish study Which happens to be a pay sight so that's just a link that talks about it found that a combo of ginger and turmeric was a safer and more effective anti inflammatory than NSAIDS and other over the counter products. You may not want to resort to ibuprofen too frequently if you look at the long term potential harm it can do.
    – hortstu
    Feb 10, 2014 at 5:53

You should try to adjust your schedule so that every muscle group gets at least two and at most 4 days of rest between workouts.

For example:

M - Chest + Triceps + A Little Cardio

T - Back + Shoulders + A Little Cardio

W - Legs + Abs

H - Chest + Triceps + A Little Cardio

F - Back + Shoulders + A Little Cardio

S - Legs + Abs

That way you give each muscle sufficient time to recover.


Since your goal is losing fat, I think you should modify your routine.

If you workout 5 days a week, perform cardio/HIIT (at least 50 minutes) three times a week and weightlifting (about an hour) every 2 days. Let all the days be alternating i.e.(Mon/We/Fri and Tue/Thur).

This should prevent soreness (unless you're lifting above your capacity). However, to answer your question:

  • Perform stretches if you are really sore. Yoga is a very good stretching exercises you can perform
  • Perform calisthenics (pullups, pushups, chinups, reverse crunches, etc) if you are lightly sore; they will actually increase your strength as you do them frequently (daily, if possible).

Whatever you do, ensure you don't go 2 days without performing some form of intense exercises; otherwise, you're going to stop without realizing it.

If possible, find a workout buddy too.; the encouragement (or challenge) helps.


In this case I usually go for some sort of cardio that involves using the muscles that are sore but lightly. Something like a long slow distance run or playing sports. This can work the lactic acid out of your muscles (the cause of your soreness) and can be a fun break.


I agree with some of the other posts here, that say soreness doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't train. However, if you really feel you can't, swimming would be a good option. It would get the blood flowing which would help to relieve the DOMS, without putting stress on already tired/sore muscles. Also, gentle stretching is good


I'm trying to keep up the schedule daily for 3 months to turn it back into a habit

This is brilliant. soreness will pass. the more often you train the sooner it will pass. But one thing to note is : Do not try to make records before you are adapted. start small. If you can do it 15 times , do it 8 times. Leave early. less sets. One set is enough. For two weeks make it easy. Add weight every session though. good luck.

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