Hard workouts come out with one of two results: either you feel great, a little sore, but you can muddle through, or the feeling that you may need to be spoon-fed for the next couple of days because you feel just awful!
If you feel the latter, you’re in luck. We’ve discussed in our previous blog what causes this excruciating feeling, and what you can do to avoid it. If you’re already there, we’ll discuss here how to get you back to the land of the (normal) living.
If you had a particularly hard workout, do your best to keep moving later that day and the next morning. Moving your muscles with a walk will keep your fluids circulating, aiding with repair. The more you move within the first 24 hours (not a full on marathon, mind you, just a bit of a walk or even some yoga before bed) the less sore you’ll be the next day (or two).
What you don’t want to do is take an ice bath. It may be the stuff of football locker rooms, but there’s little science to support this helps. Of course, there are still many that believe a good ice bath will assist in reducing pain and improving performance, but have you ever sat in an ice bath before? It’s not exactly relaxing. If you insist, go for the ice cubes, but there are other ways to relieve your pain that aren’t nearly as cold.
As important as it is to have a good trainer, it’s also important to have a good massage therapist. Your massage therapist will know exactly how to relieve the pain and release the lactic acid built up in your muscles. Massage also improves blood flow, speeding up the recovery process. Having a massage therapist can also be a useful guide. If the pain during your session is severe, you know that at your future workout session you need to dial down the weight.
So, what can you do with your diet to help with soreness? Wait, you didn’t know food helps too? Of course! Food is fuel for your body, and what better way to heal it than with from the inside out? Try hot peppers or hot sauce. Capsaicin offers pain relief by blocking pain messages to your brain. Capsaicin can be found in many spicy foods, so stock up on that hot food!
Ginger is also great at aiding in relief. A ginger supplement will cut muscle pain by 25% in just over a week. If Ginger isn’t your thing, get your hands on watermelon juice (seriously!) Drink this as soon as your session is over; the amino acid L-citrulline helps ease muscle aches.
If nothing is helping, you may not have a soreness issue; you may have injured yourself. As we’ve mentioned before, if your soreness lasts longer than two days, and the pain is not fading, you may have exacerbated a muscle. Stick to the old Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate. Ease yourself back into your routine after trying this for a few days. Of course, if the pain is severe, see your doctor immediately.