Is Inflammation Always a Bad Thing?

Heart disease is caused by inflammation, so is  High Blood Pressure, stroke, asthma, allergies, pain from injury, and most chronic disease. In fact, even the symptoms you get from a cold (stuffy nose, tight chest, difficulty breathing, etc) is the result of inflammation.

Many of the medications that we take are designed to address this. Statins, for example, reduce the inflammatory response of hypercholesterolemia. Reduced inflammation = reduced incidence of heart attack, a good thing. Asthma inhalers reduce inflammation of the bronchioles, which makes it easier for an asthmatic to breathe. Ibuprofen and Asprin are anti-inflammatories used for pain control and fever reduction. Antihistamines address the inflammatory response of having a cold. These are valuable tools for us to use, judiciously.

That said, not all inflammation is bad, and in some cases, it’s exactly what we’re after!

When we exercise, particularly when we strength train, we break down the muscle fibers on purpose. We do this acute damage, so that they will begin to repair themselves and will grow to be bigger and stronger. Then we do it again, and again. The inflammation we experience from training is a critical part of muscle growth!

It’s involved in the repair of damaged muscle tissue. In fact, if you take ibuprofen following a strength training session, you can reduce your muscle recovery by up to 50%. Not really what you’re after. Additionally, NSAIDs and wreck havoc on your gut microbiome, so use them carefully.

Inflammation following training causes an increase in IGF-1, which significantly ups the rate of muscle repair. It also causes satellite cells to become muscle cells. Want bigger, stronger muscles? You need inflammation!

It’s a tap dance between just enough training and too much training. Just enough = steady gains with enhanced recovery. Too much training and you can trigger the beginnings of chronic inflammation and injury. Spend time on your training and nutrition, learn your body, and work hard to get it right!


Interested in online training or nutrition coaching? Reach out to me here on the blog, Facebook at Renegade Fitness, Instagram @renegadefitnessmiami, or on the website at

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