Ever feel like this cutie after leg day? Those stairs can be daunting – and embarrassing. But, if you’re anything like me, there is a bit of sadistic enjoyment that comes from that inability to navigate stairs, or write, or lift a spoon…you know, after an especially good workout? It just hurts so good….
So, why exactly, do we even get sore in the first place? It has been a common belief that muscle soreness results from a build up of lactic acid in the muscles. However, recent studies are showing that muscle soreness is not related to lactic acid, as much as it is actual microscopic tears in the muscle fibers themselves, and those microscopic tears can definitely put a damper on a new gym routine. Let’s face it – if your just getting back to the gym, or starting from scratch, that kind of pain can be enough to keep you out of the gym. Read on for 8 tips to minimize the pain that goes with getting your routine dialed in.
1. Get plenty of sleep – we all know our body repairs during our REM cycles, so be sure and get plenty of rest – at least 8 hours if at all possible.
2. Stay hydrated – what’s the first thing mom tells you when you sick? “Get plenty of fluids” – right? They allow our body to heal and repair, bringing oxygen to the muscles and flushing out the naughties. This does not include, coffee, soda, juice or crystal lite, by the way. Just add water…and lots of it!
3. Warm up properly – before starting your lifting routine, be sure to get in a good warm up. 10-15 min of moderate cardio, stretching and rolling out are a few ways to minimize soreness. Be sure to do this before going straight to the weights. This will also help prevent injury.
4. Get in a good stretch session after your workout – your muscles are like rubberbands, stretching and contracting as you put them through their paces. A post workout stretch, is like lubricating your muscle fibers and will help keep you limber. We’ve all seen the super buff guy, super muscular, but he can’t walk straight to save his life. Heaven forbid he has to run. Well, that’s what happens when we don’t stretch. The point of exercise is a healthy body. If we can’t move properly, regardless of how buff we are, are we really that healthy? Just a thot.
5. Heat Therapy – Take a hot bath or stop in the steam room after your workout to help maintain flexibility. Heat therapy is known to give flexibility and increase blood flow to otherwise stiff muscles.
6. Take aminos – one of the reasons body builders are so big on their post workout protein shakes, has to do with the aminos. Your muscles are made of amino acids. When you tear and stretch those muscle fibers, your body needs to replenish with more aminos. Many get this in the form of protein shakes, others take amino acid supplements. Either way, feed your muscles a little extra protein. It helps speed up your ‘gains’ and repairs those torn muscles.
7. Keep up with your cardio – I know it sounds crazy – “you want me to get back on the stairmaster, when I can’t move already?” – but trust me. Once you push through the first few steps and your body starts to warm up, you won’t even notice it. Just focus on getting the heart rate up, rather than the resistance you set the machine at. The point is to get the blood pumping.
8. Last but not least – don’t stop the routine. Once you have worked through the initial soreness – your muscle memory will kick in and that’s when you can really start to increase your strength. The first heavy workout for each muscle group is hardest when getting back in the swing, so keep up the good work and reap the benefits! You can do it – don’t give up!
Sending you squishes and hope you have a happy day! 🙂