The reason you may be sore after a workout and how to fix it!
Authored by Jordyn Kreller. Jordyn is the NXTLVL in-house bootcamp guru! Check out her tips on how to avoid post-workout muscle soreness, below.
It’s about that time again! Bootcamps are in full swing and you guys are bringing the heat every workout! Chances are you are moving more intensely than before, sweating buckets, and doing movement patterns that your body is not used to. Which, all can lead to increased soreness, ouch! I am right there with you.
First, I want to normalize it for you. Being sore doesn’t mean you are injured or something is wrong.
If you feel like you have limited range of motion because of it, that’s normal. Extreme soreness to the point of extreme swelling can be dangerous, so please look out for that, but cases of rhabdomylisis are pretty rare. Most of us are just in the category of:
Hey, walking down the stairs is really hard and squatting to the toilet … FORGET ABOUT IT, ha!
Normal. Not pleasant. But normal.
The good news is that so long as you keep training, it does get better and next week you won’t feel nearly as sore or limited.
But it’s a catch-22, right? Moving hurts so we want to skip our training, but then again, training more frequently and with these same movement patterns makes it better over time. My vote is for the latter.
As we embark on the next few weeks of bootcamp, I want to provide you guys with some things to keep in mind when it comes to muscle soreness.
If you work at a desk and tend to sit a lot, I’d advise setting the timer on your phone as a reminder to get up and move. Have it set for every 30-60 minutes; get up and walk a little, move, do some light stretching for a minute or two and then sit back down. The longer you sit, the harder it’s going to be move once you stand up.
Everyone loves the warm-up, especially the high knees ;) And still, most times, our bodies are not fully warmed up going into an intense circuit like a bootcamp. You all know that feeling of the first round … your heart is pumping, loss of breath, and the first thing you think is, “WOW, I am out of shape!” … NOT THE CASE! During the first five minutes of exercise, the body doesn’t take in the amount of oxygen required to move the body faster or work more muscles. If you progressively keep moving, your body will slowly catch up to oxygen demand.
But why do we warm up this way? Why don’t we just start the circuits right away?
A proper warm-up can go a long way in increasing the bodies ability to perform. Benefits of warming-up.
Raise body temperature.
Neural arousal (WAKE UP BODY!).
Opening of capillaries to muscles (increasing blood flow).
Metabolic adjustment to heavy loads (allowing you to lift more, with higher intensity).
Reduce the chance of soft tissue (ligament, tendon, and muscle) injuries by allowing your muscles and joints to move through a greater range of motion easily—and safely.
Help mentally prepare you for the workout ahead, giving you a few minutes to get “pumped up” for a great workout!
We are sore because of the strain the exercises create on our muscles. But in order to progress in your workouts, that is becoming stronger, faster, etc., we must ensure we are allowing the body to recover; that is through sufficient rest and nutrition. Nutrition is composed of a list of variables, specifically macronutrients and micronutrients. Macros —proteins, carbohydrates, and fats — are the building blocks of muscle and they are the key fuel sources to your training and recovery.. But micronutrients — vitamins and minerals — are what metabolism depends heavily on in order to function properly. It’s best to get a variety of micronutrients from food, that is fruits and vegetables. Be sure to fill up on lean protein sources, fruits (particularly berries, which are chalked full of antioxidants), vegetables (eat your rainbow), starches like rice, potato, oats, starchy vegetables, and healthy fats from nuts, oils, avocado, salmon, olives, etc.I just want you to focus on
And finally, don’t forget about the power of hydration. Adding an extra liter to your daily water intake (about 33 oz) will help with soreness as well.
Muscle soreness can usually be controlled, if not exactly eliminated, with a few simple techniques. If some of them look familiar, it's because they're also well-known ways to boost your overall recovery—the most overlooked component of the training lifestyle.Here are my best solutions to avoid those dreaded trips up and down the stairs:
Post-Workout Meal: Muscles require nutrients in order to recover. This may seem obvious, but it's often surprising how many people don't take it to heart. In many cases, soreness can be alleviated with protein-rich foods which minimize inflammation and digestive distress.
A simple rule is to consume a quality meal within 30-40 minutes of your workout, comprised of protein and slow-absorbing carbs.
Epsom Salts Bath: A hot bath is a fantastic way to loosen muscles post-workout. A hot bath with Epsom salts is even better, because the magnesium in the solution can be absorbed through the skin, helping reduce soreness and improve muscle function. The heat and buoyancy of water also speeds blood flow, which helps you relax and sleep soundly.
Epsom salt dissolves best with three quarters of a cup per tub of water. Swirl the water to make sure it's dissolved or you'll sit on granules. Cap the bath time at roughly 30 minutes. If you live in a warm climate, opt for cool water.
Sleep More: Sleep is the most overlooked aspect of training and recovery. Most average lifters—like average people—require 7-8 hours of sleep per night. However, hard-training strength athletes may require as much as 10 hours of sleep per night to see optimal recovery. But good luck finding many of them who actually get that much!
Checking your rested heart rate in the morning when you first wake is a good method to test recovery. A heart rate between 60-80 BPM is good, lower than that is awesome, and higher than that may indicate that you need more sleep.
Most people see the best benefits of low-intensity cardio by keeping their heart rate below 120 BPM. Keep these workouts to 30 minutes max in order to walk away fresh and not drained. In the gym, treadmills and bikes seem to provide the best benefits, but a brisk walk or hike outdoors is also a great option.
Want to talk to Jordyn Kreller about one-on-one Personal Training sessions, or Remote Online Coaching? Check out her details, here.