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Handling Soreness

*How to handle soreness*

It happens.

We do a little too much, get overly ambitious, are are pushed past our comfort zones by our coach or group of gym friends. Next thing we know we’re waking up sore AF and second guessing whether we should even move or return to that workout again.

Soreness, though uncomfortable, is not necessarily a bad thing, but the goal should definitely not be to ‘make yourself sore’.

A good effective workout is NOT defined by how sore your are.

What soreness DOES mean is that we pushed our muscles beyond their ability and enough to elicit muscle tissue damage.

*FYI, in order to build up muscle you must stimulate it and there will naturally be micro tears which are then rebuilt stronger... which is what we want if you want a better metabolism and to be stronger and fitter.

The degree of soreness does not need to be extreme, and it should not have to limit you or last more than 1-3 days.

Nevertheless, despite our best efforts, it does happen and not just from your typical gym workouts.

In fact, you can get sore from doing anything strenuous that you’ve either never done, not done in a while, or did so with lots of effort.

For example:

💪🏼A day of gardening and yard work

💪🏼Moving and lifting things around the house

💪🏼Trying a new sport or activity

💪🏼Jumping into a workout after being fairly inactive or sedentary

💪🏼Not properly warming up

💪🏼Overtraining or doing a high volume of training

💪🏼Correcting form of an exercise after performing it incorrectly for a long time prior

Soreness is different than pain which is important to differentiate between. Soreness is uncomfortable and can limit your range of motion - flexibility and mobility, strength and performance, and can set you up for injury if you try to perform with the same intensity but your body cannot withstand. Pain though is the body’s sign that something is wrong, and serves to protect. Pain tells you of injury or nearing of injury.

You should NOT be experiencing pain and if you do, then stop doing and ease away from what is painful. Persistent pain is reason to seek additional medical attention.

For this blog, I’m talking about soreness not pain or injury. When you stretch, exercise or move you want to below that pain threshold. Burning, challenged, and uncomfortable is ok, but pain... No.

Now back to Soreness.....

<< Solutions to Soreness >>

Here’s what you need to do to both alleviate soreness quicker and help avoid it in the future:

🧘🏼‍♀️Stretch regularly and often, whether that’s a formal stretch session, yoga or some combination or similar option.

🧘🏼‍♀️Ease in to progressively overload the body, avoid going all in the first time or approaching workouts and activities with the all or nothing mentality at the start.

🧘🏼‍♀️Release, trigger point and Myofascial release for better mobility and to breakdown the knotted muscle and connective tissue. This speeds healing and allows better movement patterns, activation and technique.

🧘🏼‍♀️Move. The body is made for movement. We get stiff and tight in time due to decreases in movement and mobility. Plus, movement when sore gets the blood flowing especially to those sore and stiff muscles which in turn speeds recovery time.

🧘🏼‍♀️Sleep. when we train and workout we tear down the body. It’s when we recover that we reap the rewards of our labor. Your brain and body rejuvenate, repair and reset when we sleep and rest. Hormones and metabolism functions are optimized during sleep too which supports recovery and optimal wellness and fitness. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality shut eye.

🧘🏼‍♀️Rest. Not every day needs to be hard or intense. In fact, if you’re pushing yourself hard on a daily basis you’re not going to recover and repair well. Performance and strength gains will stall or diminish. You also become more prone to injury. Balance work with rest, both in body and in mind. Alternate intense training days with leisure time recovery physical activity and yes, sometimes even a day at the beach or a spa day is absolutely necessary and well worth it!

Hydrate. similar to getting blood flowing through movement, hydration allows

Optimize nutrition - quality protein and nutrient rich plant based foods provide antioxidants for repairing the body and keeping it vital and youthful. Exercise is a stress, and stress can age us. To counter this nutrients, protein, antioxidants are essential.

🧘🏼‍♀️Cross train. even the top athletes in their given sport spend days or periods of time doing other activities and types of workouts. Doing the same thing day in day out without variety wears the body out. Work in enjoyable, new, or interesting sports, activities or workouts here and there. Example, if you’re a seasons runner, cross training with some resistance and weight training will improve other systems that will in turn improve your running performance and time.

🧘🏼‍♀️Be patient. If you’ve managed to get yourself seriously sore you may not be feeling it until 1-2 days later and that soreness may last for days thereafter. This DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness is not completely understood by science, but there’s a strong correlation with lactic acid build and one’s level of fitness. So the fitter you become the less sore and less intense you’ll feel that soreness. Nonetheless, be patient as your body recovers and repairs by practicing the above and once recovered easing into future workouts and activities.

🧘🏼‍♀️*Don’t necessarily skip the gym and wait until you don’t feel sore. So often, I witness someone getting very sore then avoiding the gym again until they have gotten over that soreness, which often means I don’t see them again for another week or two. This is a huge mistake! What happens is you never train your body to adapt and get better so you continue to cycle in and out of train > get sore > rest until better > train ... Instead, commit to 3-4 days of consistent exercise each week, and show up even if you are sore from the last workout, just modify and alternate heavy days with light ones. Going through the movements even if using lighter or body weight still gets you moving and supports muscle memory and positive changes.

Do already practice any of these? What will you incorporate into you regular routine?

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