I was at the gym yesterday, feeling good, listening to some music, getting my best workout of the week aka #legday. Leaving the gym I was thrilled, I could feel the gains happening. What happened the next morning was painful. As I woke up I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be able to walk up or down the stairs today, I would be taking the elevator. What was happening inside my body? I decided to take a look at the subject of muscle soreness and see what I could do to help the pain. Here is what I found.
Why do your muscles get sore?
Basically, when you do intense exercise it can cause micro-tears in your muscle tissues, which then leads to delayed onset muscle soreness, also known as DOMS. Common symptoms of DOMS include swelling, stiffness, and reduction of the range of motion in the joints, as well as tenderness and strength reduction in the muscles. Exercise-induced soreness can end as soon as two or three days after a workout but sometimes last more. Most lifters agree that the second day is the worst day for muscle soreness.
What can you do about it?
This is probably a move that you’ve heard over and over that you should be doing but never take the time to do it. If you aren’t foam rolling you are missing out on a quicker recovery and better overall muscle health. The key aspect of the foam roll is to remove the lactic acid build up in your muscles that cause the soreness. Removal of the acid will decrease overall pain and decrease recovery time.
To put it simply, heat helps muscles relax. When you apply heat to the inflamed area your blood vessels dilate, which promotes increased blood flow and helps those sore muscles relax. Heat is known to be more effective than ice when you are trying to treat sore joints and muscles.
Eat Fatty Acids
Do you eat food high in healthy fats or take a daily fish oil supplement? If not, I highly recommend that you start including these things into your diet. Fatty acids like fish oil are known to decrease inflammation within the body in accelerating the healing process. For years, bodybuilders and crossfitters have been using fish oil to relieve the soreness they feel after a workout.
Get Moving Slowly
It’s day three of the pain train. You are miserable and can’t seem to walk normally. This pain has caused you to skip the gym the last two days and you aren’t keeping up with your workouts. Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy way to say this but you’re going to have to get yourself back in the gym, sore or not. Start slow and get the blood flowing on an elliptical or bike. You will notice as you begin to warm up that you will begin to feel better. You may still be sore but you will feel good enough to get your lift in. Remember to always warm up prior to lifting. It is an important first step in the muscle building process.
To sum it all up, foam roll to break up the lactic acid. Heat to improve blood flow. Eat fatty acids to speed up the healing process. Take it easy getting back into your lift, but always get back into the groove. It will be worth it.
Need some protein with those fatty acids? Why not get 44g in your ice cream? Find us in a store near you.