I have heard every excuse in the book regarding why people either don't workout or miss their scheduled workouts. Fine. But what I want to discuss is what it really takes to get results.
There is a level of discomfort you must endure to get results. This is not an argument for "no pain, no gain," but for real results, you are going to need to push yourself far past your level of comfort.
If your workout consists of walking the dog around the block a few times a day or walking up and down the stairs to do laundry, then you may be getting in the recommended 10,000 steps on your Fitbit. This is a great goal, and there are definitely many benefits to "staying active." But.... if your goal is to build strength and lean body tissue/decrease adipose (fat) tissue, then you are going to have to sweat, your muscles are going to burn a little bit, and you may be slightly sore over the next day or two!
Allow me to let you in on a little secret: fat is exhaled. You want to decrease your fat mass? Then you have to move and you have to sweat. In pushing yourself to sweat you will experience the burning sensation that is the result of your muscles contracting and working past their point of comfort. This is a good thing. This kind of pain does lead you to reaching your desired results. Without it, you will stay the same. Don't worry though, because the more you work at that same intensity, the less burning you will begin to feel over time. The bad news? That indicates your muscles have adapted to that specific intensity and you will have to start working even harder to continue seeing results.
How do you know how much pain is good, and how much is bad? As I said, the burning you feel while doing repetitions is good, whereas shooting, stabbing, pinching nerve pain is bad. One of the most challenging parts of my job is helping people learn how to understand their bodies.
When it comes to post workout soreness, there is a sweet spot to aim for. If you are already sore and feeling like you are dying the same day you worked out, then you were working out way too hard, and you may actually be doing more harm than good. If the soreness begins to set in the next day, but you feel like you were possibly hit by a bus while you slept, then again, you may need to reevaluate the intensity of your training. What you want to aim for is a bit of tenderness the next day, or even two days after your workout. It may take some trial and error for you, and possibly your trainer, to find the correct intensity.
It is important to note that the more advanced you become in your training and conditioning, the less sore you may actually get. A highly trained athlete may not be sore after every workout, but you can bet on the fact that they are extremely uncomfortable during each and every one. If you are looking to improve your physique, and not just maintain your health, then you will need to buck up, train harder, and train smarter!