A lot of people associate muscle soreness (DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) the next day as a sign of a good workout. But I don’t feel that it is.
For the first few weeks of a new exercise program post workout soreness is expected and quite usual because the muscles are being used in different ways than before. As you stress your muscles, you create small micro-tears. As you recover, they heal and your muscles become stronger and, in some workout routines, bigger. Your muscles learning to adapt, and as your body gets used to training there may be less micro-tears which leads to less soreness and faster recovery. This is a good thing as it means your body is adapting and changing
How should you gauge progress:
1. Are you able to do more repetitions or lift heavier weights then when you first started?
2. Are you able to push yourself through a tougher workout than before?
3. Are you becoming stronger or more toned?
4. Do you walk away from a workout feeling like you’ve given it your all?
I intentionally did not include weight loss on gauging how effective your workouts are because I feel your daily eating habits are such an integral part of weight loss. As you gain more muscle mass, you will burn more calories effectively. However, unless you eat properly, the training itself may not be the impetus for weight loss. In addition to training, if you change your eating habits then you will see the changes in your physique.