T Nation

If You Don't Hurt, Do You Need to Rest?


Ok, stupid question .... the day after I work out, I'm told to rest for muscle repair. When I work out I go 3/4 max capacity as long as I can. I use dumbbells when Im at work ( i live at the job site for 30 days every other 30 days).

The largest I can seem to find are 50 lb weights, so what Ive been doing my bench lift for example: 1st set one dumbbell 50 lb -40 reps ... 2cnd set 35 reps ... 3rd set 30 reps ... 4th set 25 reps ... 5th set 15 reps (repeat other side), then I move onto arms , shoulders , back..whatever and basicly do the same version at a lower weight if needed.

By the time Im done (3/4 hour)Im pretty much exhausted..I have a drink and move onto cardio ... 40 min walk .. 12 incline @ 5mph = 2.8 mile walk. When this is all done ..I'm beat , I shower and hop into bed for the night.... please remember Im over 40 and smoked for 21 years and was 317lb 5 months ago. I'm weighing in at 257lb now and want to drop another 30-40lb...220 has a nice ring, also Ive managed to kick the smoking habit 3 months ago.

My question is this: When I wake up in the morning (4am after a 7 hour sleep) the muscles I worked out the night before do not seem to be all that sore....maybe a little....but certainly no need for A535 rub lol. When I first started lifting ( 2 months ago), certain muscles did keep me up at night, but not anymore.

Do I still need to rest a day between work outs? It seems such a waste of a day. I still do the walk on the off days, but I feel like I could do more. Would this do any damage? I don't plan on entering any Mr. Universe contest anytime soon, but I do want to look at least half ass good by next March ( 21y wedding aniversity)when I take the wife to the beach.


First off, congrats my man. I, as many others, have been through a similarly monumentous lifestyle change, congrats on getting it all going.

That being said... at this point, for the sake of my own comprehension (it is 1:15 am, afterall,) I'll just answer the main question of the thread instead of asking about some of your routine philosophies (tomorrow.)

No, it doesn't necessarily mean you do or don't need an extra day of rest between lifting days. How many body parts are you hitting on your workout days? What kind of overlap are you looking at? Just because your muscles aren't sore doesn't necessarily always mean they're recovered. My biceps don't face soreness on any sort of a regular schedule (maybe like 3-4 times a year it seems, haha,) but they're growing.

All I'm saying is this, if for some a guy's hammies didn't get sore the day after a workout... and tried to go into the gym and do a Good Morning with 315, he probably wouldn't succeed.

Other extremely important factors tied into the equation include your diet. I can assume you're on a caloric deficit, searching to continue to lose fat? Training hard and frequently is important when dieting to hold on to the most muscle while burning fat, but overtraining is a totally different concept itself.

You'll probably get some good advice if you can answer some of those questions.


I'm no expert on this, but it seems that at that low of a weight with those many reps, you are basically doing cardio and not much in the way of building muscle mass. This is great for your heart, but you would see much more gains (and be just a bit more sore the next day) if you could find heavier weights to lift for less reps (like less than 10).

Muscle gains will translate into additional fat loss. Any way to get heavier DBs? If not, try more isolation lifts (like DB flyes) that typically require less weight for a given number of reps.

Good luck and congratulations on your progress so far.


Thanks for the replies:

Im eating a high in protien(meat of some sort with each meal), no bread,potatoes,rice,pasta, tons of veggies and three pieces of various fruit to start my day off in the morning...I drink only water, soda water and green tea and the odd cup of coffee.

I eat 5 times a day, Breakfast is 3 pieces fruit..second breakfast 8oz steak 2 egg white...lunch chicken breast and steamed various veggies ... midday lunch 2 cucumbers 1 tommato,1 onion, maybe some roasted chick peas ( Im working in the middle east ) supper - chicken breast or steak and steamed veggies. Then 1/2 rest and work out..then bed.

Forgive me I don't know all the muscle names yet , so bear with me.

Day 1 ..bicepts..hammer curls and preacher curls
Chest....Bench press no incline...i use the floor
Back.....one arm row?(bend over brace with off hand ..dangle the weight and pull to mid section)

Day 2 Treadmill

Day 3 Back of arm ... reverse one arm row?
... lay on floor arms in air and bend at elbow toward head then back in the air
Shoulders ... Lateral raise
Traps ... shrugs

Im not worried about my legs "yet" .. try carring around 317 lb for 10 years then drop some weight and see how built your legs are lol..the treadmill is keeping them strong for now....I have better defined legs then some builders I know heh.

If ya want a build pic , let me know and Ill post one.
Hope that helps narrow it down a bit.

When I get home( in 5 days Hala fuggin luya ) Ill be buting a BB and inclining bench with some higher weights for the big guns, but for now I count myself lucky to have even these weights.

Thanks again.



Need stats like height, weight, age, exact diet.

Also, the program does not look optimal. I'd work legs. Prioritize the major muscles to build the most muscle and have the best metabolism. Make sense?

  1. Muscle soreness is not the end all indicator that you stimulated growth.

  2. Recovery has to do with your entire days workload compiled ontop of other stressors throughout the previous days. Your body doesn't just zero in on the hour or so you lifted and decide that is what you need to recover from. the body does not distinguish between a set of chest presses and you pushing a cart. If you workout for an hour or two the work a 8 hour job then do house work or night school or hang out with friends and family go shopping what ever else you want to throw in you have stressed your physiology for the better part of 16 hrs or more News Flash to all those that read this that entire waking day is what you recover from.

  3. The above explanation answers do you still need to rest if you are not sore. HELL YES! What you do in the gym is simply a stimulous, your nutirtion supplies building blocks, your sleep and rest patterns is where growth takes place. It al revolves around recovery.

  4. The majority of people simply do not train hard enough to even mutter the phrase over training their biggest problem is under recovery. If you could recover adequately from everything you did including a balls to the walls 6 hr workout everyone would look like an Olympian. So it will forever and a day be about recovery or the lack there of.

  5. Most people mistake exhausting them selves for intensity the next time some knuckle head makes a comment like "I bust my ass in the gym today 3 fucking hours man I was jacked. Think about it if they truly trained intensly they couldn't have possibly been in their traing that long intensity by its very nature limits the time. But you can cruise and hold in reserve and drive yourself into exhaustion over the course of several hours. WHich will ultimately drain more on your recovery in the long run.

  6. Recovery is a balancing act between training daily activity nutrtion and adequte sleep and rest.

  7. You have to eat clean and enough to fuel and to provide nutients for rebuilding then you have to sleep enough and rest during you down awake time to repair and recover.

  8. More is not better your body needs rest, rest days are not a waste by any stretch neither is naps or sleep it is when your body repairs and grows. Growth does not happen in the gym.

  9. Health, Fitness, Bodybuilding etc is a marathon not a sprint it takes time quite a bit of which is resting.

  10. If you doubt any of this welcome to the wanderful little club of all the guys who wouldn't listen and look exactly the same today as when they first joined a gym a yr or more ago.

I've got 25 yrs training and training other under my belt Im telling you recovery is your biggest alli or your biggest foe. Don't waste your time rest.


Ok...thats a complete answer to my question...Thank you so much Bodyguard.


Tiger , Im 5'9.5, 257 lb ( Just dropped 60 lb)on a large square frame that was once solid but still shows through. I have no real way of working out my leg...at least any that Im aware of, are there dumbbell work outs for legs?...Ill google it.



walking lunges holding dumbells will do the trick. or look up bulgarian split squats. Either of those should be sufficient for the time being


Not a problem, stay motivated, train intensly, eat good and enough, get plenty of rest and your journey towards your goals will be far more productive.


Not a problem, stay motivated, train intensly, eat good and enough, get plenty of rest and your journey towards your goals will be far more productive.


Some time line of progress


3 months later


5 months later


More to go, but at least nerds on the street dont try to speak Huttanese to me any more.




In a nut shell, if your nutrition is on point and your training consistent you could feasibly be under 200 by march so 220 is more than possible by that time. Just remember this bodycomposition is far more important than actual weight. This is one of my pet peeves. I try to get my clients to not look at body composition from a weight loss perspective. When you speak in terms of weight loss, this encompasses any and everything that registers on the scale. Letâ??s say you lost 20lbs but 10lbs of it was muscle. What positive thing have you done for your self? There are variables as I have spoken of. The focus of the client and the trainer should be on losing body fat while maintaining as much lean tissue as possible.

So, I donâ??t care much for the usage of the term weight loss. It is too general and keeps people focusing on the scale too much when body composition and the mirror are far better indicators of progress. You can have two people same height, same weight but different body compositions so in that case weight is irrelevant. Body composition is the issue. Simple weight loss is a matter of calories in versus caloric expenditure but the wrong make up of those calories will not affect body composition favorably. Weight loss as a rule is an entirely different animal than getting lean. I state it like this, when you simply lose weight you just look like a smaller version of your self with subtle changes in appearance. It is only when you get lean that your physiques starts to take on angles and definition and you begin to have a completely different look to your self along with a difference on the scale but the body composition will be radically different.


Good post, true that.


Well done on the progress so far, in particular, the difference in the pics is huge (so to speak).

A couple of things you can do with what equipment you have - push ups, either after pressing or by themselves and goblet squats.

I'm not sure where you are working and your logistics but getting some guys interested in a small gym room/area and approaching management might be worthwhile.


Its amazing what you can do with third world free weights and a will to get it done !