How to handle every girl's #1 workout problem
Have you ever felt like this the day after a workout?
You may be experiencing DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness.
DOMS can occur several hours after a workout, or 24-72 hours after a difficult workout. Did you know muscle soreness can indicate small tears in your muscle fiber? Yikes, no wonder it hurts so bad. If you're sore, we've got a few tips for you on what to do to prevent that pesky pain in the first place and how to recover faster when your muscles are screaming at you.
1. Warm up.
You may get to the gym and want to jump right in, but warming up can help prepare your muscles and your bod for the workout they're about to experience. It's really important to warm up before your workout for about 10 minutes to get your body and mind prepared, wake up your system and even prevent injury. Plus, it'll get your heart rate up which can enhance your overall performance. Any light cardio on the treadmill or stairmaster or even jumping rope will do. And if you're planning on lifting weights, use body weight and resistance band workouts as a warm up.
2. Stretch before your workout, not just after.
You've heard that stretching is important, but stretching before your workout also gets your muscles loose and ready. If your muscles are tight going into phsyical activity, they'll be much more prone to soreness afterwards. Stretching gets your blood flowing and your body ready to work. (Remember it's just as important after your workout to release build ups of lactic acid that cause muscle soreness.) With only a few more minutes at the gym, you can save yourself from a world of hurt so when in doubt, stretch it out.
3. Eat your protein.
There's a reason those bodybuilders at the gym are obsessed with their post-workout protein shake. While you don't have to go full gym-rat, eating some protein after your workout helps repair and grow your muscles faster and more effectively. Eat some meat with dinner, or if you prefer a plant-based diet, supplement with high protein foods like Greek yogurt, lentils or egg whites.
4. Rest properly.
Getting enough sleep is important for repairing your mind and your body. And make sure you're resting enough between hitting the same muscles between workouts, so if you hit your legs on Monday, stick to upper body on Tuesday or until your legs are feeling less sore. Between workouts, sleeping 8 hours will help you heal as well.
5. Work through the pain.
You were planning on going to a Zumba class with your friend today, but you worked out last week and you're still feeling the lingering effects of DOMS. Unless you're in serious pain (which could be an indicator of a bigger problem), the best thing to do may be to go work through the pain. If you power through a workout on slightly sore muscles, you may start to feel a bit better as you increase blood flow in your body and warm them up again. Treat your body with love, attention and care, but don't be afraid to push yourself a little bit.
6. Stay hydrated
Everybody tells you to drink your 8 glasses of water a day and they're right. Staying hydrated will help you recover faster. Plus, you might just see some other benefits like increased energy and clearer skin. Why not give it a shot?
7. Foam roll.
Invest in a foam roller if you're a girl who just can't beat muscle soreness. On a day you aren't hitting the gym, try a simple but effective foam rolling technique, like the one in this video. This simple routine won't take you more than twenty minutes and can seriously help.
8. Cool down.
Since warming up is so important, it shouldn't come as a shock that cooling down is also an integral part of preventing muscle pain. Stopping a workout abruptly is just as damanging as starting quickly. Cooling down with a brisk walk and some stretching of the areas worked will send blood to those muscles and help you heal.
What tricks do you use to recover from your workouts? Let us know below!