Has this happened to you? You’ve made the decision to shape your fitness, committed yourself to a great workout regimen, and finally, you’ve given it all you’ve got on Day 1. Feels great, huh?
Oh yah! You’ve experienced the fabled post workout endorphins and finish your hectic school day feeling fantastic. The next morning you wake up annnnd OUCH! You are sooo sore you can barely move.
What is going on here? Well, basically this is a condition known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). It happens to both beginners and also more veteran lifters who really push through to the next level in their workout routines.
Muscle soreness is caused by little, tiny “tears” in your muscle fibers. Before you freak out and think that you’ve done something drastically wrong, realize that this is a normal and re-occuring part of the rebuilding back - bigger and stronger - process of any workout routine. Oftentimes, the soreness peaks 1-2 days after you’ve worked that specific body part and then will gradually go away.
How to make it go away…ASAP!
There are a few really good tips and tricks that can easily be implemented to help your recovery from muscle soreness.
- Hydrate - though you may be too sore to grab some water (lol), water will not only help flush out toxins, but will also aid the nourishment of your sore muscles. This doesn’t mean you need to be gulping down Gatorade (lots of these sports drinks are full of simple sugars), but instead just keeping hydrated with plain ol’ H2O!
- Proper Nutrition - this is what your hydration will transport to your sore muscles for improved recovery. Muscle recovery is aided by adequate protein consumption, so make sure you aren’t just eating wheat toast and salads! Eat a good, whole food meal about an hour after your workout and strive for a balance of lean proteins and good carbohydrates.
- Rest - this includes both SLEEP (crucial not only for your recovery, but also your natural energy…coffee can only do so much) and time off from the gym. Muscles can take a while to recover (up to ~48 hrs) so if you just worked out your shoulders today, give them at least a few days off before working them directly.
- Active Rest - this refers to doing some sort of physical activity to aid blood flow and circulation. For example, you worked out your legs today and although they may be sore tomorrow, you do a bit of active rest such as a light spin bike to kind of ease out their soreness.
- Stretching - although it is never a good idea to pop into a hard stretch while your muscles are cold (increased chance of injury), you can definitely stretch out your sore muscles gently or after your body gets warmed up from another day’s physical activity (perhaps after some active rest).
- Massage - what better time than to ask your hot friend to lend a hand because you are sore from taking care of your body!
- Supplementation - for those who are into supplements, L-glutamine is an amino acid (basic building block of protein) that is often added into shakes or water to help the body recover. You could take this (often in powder form) with your PWO (post workout shake) and/or right before you go to bed.
Don’t let DOMS get the best of ya! Use some or all of these tips to aid your recovery. Recovery, after all, is the name of the game when it comes to achieving your fitness goals! There is a common saying in fitness that goes “your next workout is only as good as your recovery” and there definitely is some truth to that!
Plan for fitness. Plan for recovery!
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