Tripping on (lactic) Acid?

Some of you may know that I recently started going back to school at a local college. My goals are to gain an associates of science and become a certified trainer. Despite the long lecture hours and stressful homework assignments, I’m really enjoying my college experience. I think this is because I am finally studying something that I chose, something that I am interested in! It really makes all the difference in working hard because “I have to” and working hard because “I want to”.
One of the things that I enjoy is the discussion. I looked into online classes, but I’ve found that discussion within the classroom is a large part of my learning experience.

During one of my classes last semester, the theory that Lactic Acid causes muscle soreness came about our discussion. But is this just a myth? Why does Lactic Acid get all the blame? And what DOES cause us to moan and groan in agony after “leg day”?

Here are some basic Facts.

– Glycogen (a complex carb chain of glucose used for energy) is stored in the muscles
Lactic Acid is produced when that glycogen is broken down during anaerobic glycolysis (the “breaking down” or “catabolism” of glycogen) to form lactate when minimal oxygen is available (“anaerobic” means “without oxygen”)
– Lactate is actually used by the body, and is only detrimental in very high levels. (Lactic acidosis)

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (or DOMS) is the feeling of inflammation and pain you get after 24 hours of your strenuous workout. This is actually caused by tiny micro tears in the muscle fibers. Essentially, it is all your hard work! “The soreness is caused by eccentric exercise, that is, exercise consisting of eccentric (lengthening) contractions of the muscle. Isometric (static) exercise causes much less soreness, and concentric (shortening) exercise causes none.” (Wikipedia)

So there you have it guys! Keep on keepin’ on, and feel that burn. 😉



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