It’s the start of the year, and that means a lot of us have made New Year’s resolutions to be more healthy, get into shape, and spend more time at the gym. Unfortunately, sometimes these resolutions have unintended consequences. Our overzealousness can get us into trouble when we spend too much time beating our bodies into shape and too little time taking care of them. If you’ve ever come home from the gym with sore, tired muscles, you know what we’re talking about.
While a little bit of soreness is all well and good, too much can lead to injury or other complications that can set you back instead of moving you forward. Regular muscle soreness happens right after a hard workout and makes you feel like you’ve done good work. However, delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS is caused by the body’s inflammatory response to exercise. It’s that soreness you get the next morning, or even a few days later, and it can last and last. The good news is that both types of muscle soreness are preventable, and with the right knowledge, can be recovered from quickly.
To help prevent soreness, before exercising, there are a few things you need to do. The first, hydrate! You need to be drinking lots of water, or tea (if you can’t stomach water) in the hours and even days leading up to a tough workout. A good rule of thumb is to drink half an ounce of water per pound of body weight. Second, make sure you’re getting the right nutrition. The food you eat prepares your muscles for exercise, so make sure you’re eating the right amount of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Third, you need to sleep. Sleep is how your body resets itself at night. If you’re not getting the right amount of sleep, your muscles are already fatigued and so muscle soreness is inevitable.
Now that you’ve prepared for exercising, it’s time to make sure that your exercising smartly. Never start an exercise routine cold. Make sure you go through the proper warm up of stretching and easier workouts. For example, if you’re going to try and squat a certain weight; start out with lighter weights and work your way up. Also, don’t get too intense. It’s not a good idea to try and do more than your body can handle. You can challenge your limits without destroying your body.
Always remember to take breaks. Don’t just jump from one exercise routine to the next. That’s guaranteed to give you muscle soreness. Instead, between exercises and between sets take a moment to shake off the tension and then move on. Even if all you do is take a water break, it will help. Finally, just as you need to warm up, you need to cool down. Establish a cool down ritual that includes slow and easy stretching, particularly of all the muscle groups you just worked out.
Finally, at the end of your exercise session, if you want to prevent muscle soreness, you’re still not done.
- Get Adequate Nutrition: After you workout, you should be eating about 50 grams of carbs and 25 grams of protein to protect your muscles from soreness.
- Eat Soon: Don’t wait more than two hours after exercising to eat.
- Take a Shower: Taking a shower that alternates between hot and cold water in 20-30 second intervals is a great way to relieve and prevent sore muscles.
- Ice Your Muscles: Icing your muscles doesn’t necessarily heal soreness, but it does reduce swelling and pain to help you heal.
- Drink Man Tea: Our Man Tea is great to take before and after you exercise. It helps give you stamina and strength, increases your energy, and even helps you gain lean muscle mass.