This is race week for me, so I'll be keeping the workouts short and movement-based. I've been training to run Big Cottonwood Marathon and am hoping to qualify to run the Boston Marathon in April (crossing all my fingers and toes).
Last week we were all pretty sore. I often switch up the routines by changing the number of sets and reps. The last few weeks we have been completing 4 sets of 10 reps each, so we've been using heavier weights. And we're feeling it!
Muscle soreness can be caused by lactic acid build-up in the muscle or it can also be caused by micro tears in the muscle from lifting. That is how a muscle gets bigger: it gets a little damaged, the body repairs it but makes it a little bigger and stronger than before so it can withstand the stress you give it. To repair the micro tears, the body sends extra nutrients, amino acids, through increased blood flow. That extra inflammation can be a little (or a lot) uncomfortable, depending on how much damage has been done. Some people wear it as a badge of honor, others want to curl up in a ball and cry. Just know that it does not last forever. That muscle soreness is usually gone in about 1-3 days.
If you ever find yourself sore, here are a few tips to recover more quickly:
1. Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated to help flush the junk out of your muscles.
2. Keep moving. Don't skip workouts just because you are sore. Likewise, don't feel like you need to keep killing it in the gym every workout. A little light cardio before and after workouts can help reduce soreness. So get up and walk around every day, multiple times a day. This will also help increase the blood flow to your muscles so they can repair more quickly and flush out the junk. Stretch, try some restorative yoga, jog, swim, anything that feels good.
3. Eat the rainbow. Eat a diet rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients from real, colorful whole foods. Eat a variety of fruits and/or veggies with each meal. Consider adding turmeric to your meals or drinking golden milk. The curcumin in turmeric is fantastic for naturally reducing inflammation.
4. Get enough protein. Make sure you are getting enough good quality protein each day to supply your body with plenty of amino acids to repair those muscles. You don't need to chug protein shakes. A serving or 2 of protein at each meal is plenty. These can be from plant sources as well as animal sources. My go-to protein sources include beans, legumes, lentils, tofu and lots of veggies.
4. Get some extra ZZZ's. Your body does most of its repair and taking out the "trash" at night. So getting plenty of good, quality sleep can help you recover more quickly between workouts.
5. Consider using magnesium. A relaxing Epsom salt bath can help relieve sore muscles, as can topically applying magnesium oil spray.
6. Ice Baths. After a tough workout, it may be helpful to take an ice bath to help reduce the inflammation.
Some people may recommend taking ibuprofen. I personally am not a fan of that approach. It actually hinders the healing process and can wreak havoc on your gut.
What do you do when you're feeling sore after a workout? Leave me a comment and let's get a discussion going!
Monday: 30-Minute Abs, Butt, Legs and HIIT
Tuesday: Tabata Trimmer 2
Wednesday: Full Body Burnout 2
Thursday: Cardio Tone 1
Friday: Roarin' 20's Workout
Saturday: 30+ Minutes Outdoor Activity
Sunday: Basic Mat Pilates