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Swinging my legs out of bed was like moving two planks of wood.


So if last week’s session with Chris had been all about how far I’d come, this week’s was about moving to where we were going next.

The results from the second health assessment had shown that everything was going in the right direction. But with my muscle mass dipping slightly, it was time to move on to some resistance work. Or as it might be better known, ‘moving heavy things very quickly’.

Chris had cleverly devised as session that combined the kind of cardio, circuit training work we’d been doing so far with a little bit of weigh work. 40 seconds on the cross trainer (twice as long as last time), was followed 40 seconds of work with the weights, and then 40 seconds of burpees. The cardio was tough, but six weeks into Chris’s sessions, it was doable. But the weight work, for a clueless newbie like me, was uncharted territory.

In retrospect the weight I was lifting was a not-too-impressive-sounding 10kg. But lowering that from chest height to the floor, and then thrusting it from there to above head height, as many times possible in the time allotted? Yeah, that 10kg soon became more than enough.

Muscles I didn’t know I had were soon burning after just a few reps, which didn’t bode too well: that circuit of 40 seconds/40 seconds/40 seconds (albeit with a much-needed breather in between), was to be repeated five times…

By the end of it I knew I’d worked hard, and after a few more circuit exercises to end the session (who knew jumping sideways over a box was so hard?!) and some core work to improve my non-existent core strength, I was spent. But that wasn’t quite the end of it yet—Chris then had to tell me about DOMS.

DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness, he explained. When you use muscles that you don’t normally use, or when you work your muscles extra strenuously, like when lifting weights, sometimes it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for them to really start hurting. Although I was out of breath now, it would be the next day when I might start to feel how hard I’d actually worked. And right on cue, I woke up the following morning with legs and shoulders like lead.


Swinging my legs out of bed was like moving two planks of wood. Lifting my arms to wash my hair in the shower was a chore. Getting into the car was even harder. All thanks to DOMS. But as Chris had explained, it was all a good sign.


While your body is still sore, it’s rebuilding itself. Your muscles mend and regrow themselves, stronger and more resilient than before. DOMS might be uncomfortable but it’s a sign that you’re still working and improving, often two or three days after the fact.

Knowing that made it all worthwhile. Almost.

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