One morning I was lamenting of how incredibly and painfully sore I was, one of my coworkers looked at me and responded with “you still get sore”?! To which I responded, of course, always and forever. This baffled her. Just because I’ve been working out for years does not mean I’m immune to muscle soreness. If you’re constantly challenging yourself, upping weights, playing with tempo, and just essentially changing up anything you do, you should be getting sore, soreness is an indicator of muscle tissue damage, it is the product of lactic acid build up. For anyone looking to build or shape your body, given you’re resting and eating properly, this is a good thing. I’m sure I’ve touched on this before, though honestly I often can’t recall what I’ve blogged versus my everyday rants. Personally, at 4 weeks out right now I’m trying to “bring in” my legs. I’ve always been of the thick thigh persuasion, and my my legs are both solid and substantial, it’s really hard for me to get them to tighten up to the point where there are visible cuts and striations. I have your normal tear drop, quad hamstring line, tie in, and what I like to call my side butt indent, but damn I’d love to see my quads separate more. So, back to the topic at hand, when presented with this challenge I was preparing myself for a whole new world of sore. At this point I’m no longer looking to out on size in my legs but signal for them to buuuuuuuurn like hell fire, we’re talking serious volume, and while I’ve been working with a combination of heavy, volume and posterior chain days, it was time to kick it up once more. The days of heavy struggle have been put aside for the dreaded playo, running stairs, steady state cardio and sets with unimaginable high numbers, we’re taking 80-100 leg extensions, puke (quite literally). Even I have fallen into the trap that you need to lift heavy weight to be sore, but I can promise you, just my upping my volume, trying some new moves like sissy squats, and drop setting like no tomorrow, I can say that I woke up annihilated. Much like the debated of compound weighs vs cables for size versus shaping, that’s another day friends, right now my focus has shifted from size to shape. It much like a sculpture or a painting (not comparing myself personally to set here). You start with a large peace of rock or granite, or big brush strokes, and as your progress you add the subtle finishes and minute details that make it beautiful and unique. This is once of the most beautiful aspects of the sport of bodybuilding that others often fail to notice. Prepping is about more than just dieting down, you also have to change how you workout to create symmetry, shape, definition, and those beautiful fine lines. This is what judges look for and make an individual stand out. We obviously aren’t all blessed with the same genetics, so for me, my upper body comes in incredibly hard and quickly while my legs are a stark contrast. As we develop as do our physiques as well, so from prep to prep our challenges change. But there is beauty in this adversity, and apparently a whole lotta pain. So here’s to 4 weeks of walking like a duck, trying to graceful run stairs, patience and pain.