Go For The Burn Baby……

A comment or concern that comes up often during workout sessions is the feeling that is experienced in the muscle during the performance of an a exercise. Just what should you “feel” or is there anything to this “muscle pump” feeling that is often expressed. Also, just what is “going for the burn?”

To describe what someone might be feeling is almost impossible as each persons’ perception is very different.

There is no place for pain in the gym. Never do you work through pain. Peoples’ perception of pain is also very individual, but either there is pain or there isn’t. That part doesn’t really differ from person to person. For that reason, if pain is present stop what you are doing and seek help.

But let’s talk about the “feeling” associated with weight lifting. Just what is happening to the muscle when you are weight training? The muscle pump or “burn” is a physiological response by the muscles during resistance training.

The muscle pump is caused by an influx of blood into the muscles. This increased blood flow is to remove toxins and replace supplies of fuel and oxygen. The burning sensation is the result of metabolic waste products that are produced by muscles in response to intense weight training.

The muscle pump or burn has little to do with increased hypertrophy or increased muscle size. Increased muscle growth comes only from heavy training which produces less or very little muscle pump. You may get an intense muscle pump or burn from doing very high repetitions with a lower weight, but you would not get increased growth or strength.

Going for the burn does not necessarily mean you have had a successful workout. A successful workout is based on progression. Lifting more weight, performing more reps is a good indicator of a good workout. It is good to “feel” during a weight training workout and perfectly normal. You may not feel a burn, but you may feel that the muscle is “swollen” or that your skin feels very tight. These are perfectly normal feelings and are not necessarily to be avoided.

Avoid pain, embrace the “burn”. Work out hard, go for the intensity and you will reap the rewards of a stronger and leaner body.

Till next time,

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About the author

Narina Prokosch, RN, CPT

Registered Nurse National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer Functional Movement Screen Certified Level I Functional Movement Screen Certified Level II Owner Victoria Wellness Professionals Ltd. Growing up in the Fraser Valley, Narina spent her teenage and early adult years showing horses. Competing as a bodybuilder from Novice to National level, she has always valued and appreciated fitness, and her ability to train and enjoy an active lifestyle. As a registered nurse, Narina worked in the operating room at Royal Jubilee Hospital, and spent five years on the open heart surgical Team. With over thirty years of strength training, Narina has always been disappointed in how many people, especially women, attempted to start a fitness program only to become discouraged and quit. Her vision is to encourage men and women to pursue a healthy lifestyle through incorporating fitness into their lives. Narina has united her passion for fitness and nursing background to provide clients with professional assistance to guide them.