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Hurts So Good: 3 Key Tips For Workout Soreness Relief

Starting a new workout routine or ramping up your exercise intensity can be invigorating, but it often comes with a common side effect: muscle soreness.


Now don’t get me wrong, some soreness is fine and a perfectly normal response to training.


However, what happens when we get so sore, we contemplate leaving money on the ground….


I was once told a story by a gym member who was so sore from her first workout, that she dropped a $20 bill at the ATM and seriously considered leaving it there.



Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is no joke and can make everyday activities challenging and dampen your enthusiasm for continuing your fitness journey.


Fortunately, there are effective strategies to help prevent or minimize soreness, allowing you to maintain consistency and enjoy your workouts.


Here are three key tips to help prevent (or greatly reduce) extreme levels of soreness when you first start working out.


 And…. potentially save you $20.


1. Gradual Progression


One of the primary causes of muscle soreness is overloading muscles too quickly. Whether you're new to exercise or stepping up your routine, it's essential to progress gradually.


Abruptly increasing the intensity, duration, or frequency of your workouts can lead to micro-tears in muscle fibers, resulting in soreness.


Gradual Progression:


  • Start Slow: Begin with lighter weights, shorter durations, or lower intensities. Gradually increase these parameters as your body adapts.

 

  • Follow the 10% Rule: Increase your workout intensity or duration by no more than 10% per week. This approach allows your muscles to adapt without overloading them and also help ensure you’re maintaining proper form.

 

  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body responds to each workout. If you feel excessive soreness or fatigue, give your body time to recover by adding in an extra rest or active recovery day.


2. Post-Workout Recovery Strategies - Workout Soreness


Effective post-workout recovery strategies are crucial for minimizing muscle soreness and promoting faster healing.


Implementing these strategies can help your muscles recover and rebuild more efficiently.


Stretching:


  • Static Stretching: Perform static stretches to improve flexibility and reduce muscle stiffness. Hold each stretch for 30+ seconds without bouncing.


Stretching

Hydration and Nutrition:


  • Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration supports muscle function and recovery. Drink water before, during, and after your workout to stay hydrated.

 

  • Minerals Matter: Using minerals like magnesium, potassium, and sodium can optimize recovery and hydration. Magnesium aids muscle relaxation and reduces cramps, potassium balances fluids and supports muscle function, and sodium helps retain hydration.

 

Pro Tip: Get it all in one spot and cut your soreness timetable in half by using ‘Prestige Labs Intra’. This is my personal go-to source for added recovery when first starting out or ramping up my total training.

 

  • Post-Workout Nutrition: Consume a balanced meal or snack within 30-60 minutes after exercising, if you’re training fasted, and within 2-3 hours if you ate prior to your workout.

 

Include protein (minimum 30 grams) to aid muscle repair and carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores. Options like a protein shake with fruit, a turkey sandwich, or Greek yogurt with berries can be effective.


Active Recovery:


  • Low-Intensity Activities: Engage in low-intensity activities like walking, swimming, or yoga on rest days. These activities promote blood flow, reduce muscle stiffness, and aid recovery without adding stress to your muscles.


3. Recovery Aids and Techniques


Incorporating various recovery aids and techniques can significantly reduce muscle soreness and improve overall recovery time. These techniques can be especially useful if you’re feeling like you’ve hit a wall, and your body just can’t seem to fully recover.


Here are some effective methods:


Massage and Foam Rolling:


  • Self-Massage: Use foam rollers or massage sticks to perform self-myofascial release. This technique helps break up knots and adhesions in muscles, promoting better blood flow and reducing soreness.


  • Professional Massage: Consider getting a professional massage to target deeper muscle tissues and alleviate tension.


Cold and Heat Therapy:


  • Cold Therapy: Apply ice packs or take cold showers to reduce inflammation and numb sore areas. Cold therapy is particularly effective immediately after intense workouts.

 

*Use this method sparingly as excessive cold immersion has been shown to potentially compromise muscle hypertrophy (lean muscle tissue gain).

 

  • Heat Therapy: Use heating pads, warm baths, or hot tubs to relax muscles and improve blood flow. Heat therapy is beneficial for reducing muscle stiffness and promoting relaxation.


Adequate Sleep:


  • Quality Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Sleep is crucial for muscle repair and recovery, as it allows your body to produce growth hormone and other recovery-promoting substances.

 

  • REM Sleep: Vital for cognitive functions like memory consolidation, learning, and mood regulation.

 

  • Deep Sleep: Essential for physical recovery, as it promotes muscle repair, tissue growth, and the release of growth hormone.

 

Pro Tip: Aim for 20+% of your total sleep time to fall into the REM and Deep sleep categories respectively and you’ll supercharge your recovery.


Soreness Sucks Wrap-up:


Although it’s normal to be sore at times, if you’re perpetually sore, something is probably off in your recovery protocol.


The Key 3:

  1. Gradual Progression: Increase workout intensity slowly to prevent overloading muscles too quickly.

  2. Post-Workout Recovery: Properly hydrate, eat a balanced post-workout meal, and engage in low-intensity activities on rest days.

  3. Recovery Aids: Use foam rolling, cold/heat therapy, and ensure quality sleep for muscle repair.

By incorporating these strategies into your fitness routine, you can prevent or significantly reduce muscle soreness, allowing you to stay consistent and motivated on your fitness journey.


Remember, “You are what you can recover from.”


Putting the same effort into your recovery, as you do your training, will skyrocket your progress, energy, attitude, and overall awesomeness.


Committed to Your Success,

Coach Michael

 

 

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