When pushing your body through new ranges of movement and intensity levels, your body is going to be sore. It's part of any fitness journey. Muscle soreness is actually an indication of a job well done. You’re challenging your body in a new way, and naturally there will be some pain as your muscles rebuild themselves to adapt and become stronger. Once you get more accustomed to exercise by training frequently, you’ll find that muscle soreness crops up less and less often, even after a particularly tough workout. Even though muscle soreness can be seen as a marker of a good workout, it's not an enjoyable experience. To help, here's 4 simple but useful tips on how to tackle muscle soreness so you can enjoy training, get back to the gym sooner, and continue working on your goals.
When you’re snoozing, your muscles take the opportunity to repair themselves and muscle-building chemicals such as Human Growth Hormone are naturally produced by your body in the deep sleep stages. Sleep is a truly regenerative process where your body is able to restore, rebuild and adapt. Developing a good sleep routine won’t only help with DOMS but will also help in gaining muscle and losing fat long term. Aim for 7-8 hours every night.
A lack of electrolytes contributes to muscle soreness so you need to make sure you are staying hydrated throughout your workout. Your muscles are working harder and so they demand more oxygen therefore needing more blood pumping around – around 82% of your blood volume actually consists of water, so hydration is much more important and effective than simply quenching your thirst! Females should aim for +2.2L daily. Men should aim for +3L daily.
Eat more Protein.
Protein is a critical nutrient for building and maintaining muscle, so it plays a huge role in helping your muscles recover from a tough workout. The best time to consume protein is before and after training. This way, your body will use the extra protein to build and repair muscle fibers. For optimal results, add fruits or other carb sources to your post-workout meal/snack - after exercise, you need both protein and carbs to recover and function at your peak! While needs vary, aim for 1.4 - 2 grams of profit per kilogram of bodyweight.
For an active person who's 68kg, that's about 95 to 136 grams per day which can be split up between all your meals.
Probably the last thing you feel like doing when you experience muscle soreness is moving. However, active recovery where you perform gentle, restorative movements can be one of the most effective tools you can use to dramatically decrease the amount of muscle soreness you experience. After all, sedentary lifestyles cause more harm than good – so get moving! Light exercise that can help to stretch the sore muscles can also provide some pain relief by keeping your muscles moving. Even going for a walk, or taking the stairs instead of the lift, will help. Aim for +10,000 steps on a rest day.
To summarise, hit it hard, but get some well-deserved rest. Fuel yourself, get your steps in, and drink some water. At Chalk we want to help our members get the most out of their training - and to do so you have to take of yourself. The 23 hours outside the gym matters.