woman using a foam roll on her leg to release tension and help with muscle pain in the exercise class

5 Secrets To Relieve Post-Workout Soreness

If there’s a universal truth when it comes to starting a workout or returning to fitness after a break, it’s this: You’re going to be sore. You’re going to feel it in muscles caught napping. It may be the most sore you’ve ever felt in your life– a deep, almost painful soreness that might have you asking, “Is this normal?”

Good news: The soreness is completely normal.
Better news: It goes away.

There’s a few reasons for your soreness but one of the first is lactic acid build up. This can sometimes cause your muscles to be sore for a bit but isn’t the primary reason for the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) you may feel for a few days after. DOMS is, in good news, your body repairing itself and is caused by:

“…swelling in the muscle compartment that results from an influx of white blood cells, prostaglandins (which are anti-inflammatory), and other nutrients and fluids that flow to the muscles to repair the “damage” after a tough workout. The type of muscle damage [we are] referring to is microscopic (it occurs in small protein contractile units of the muscle called myofibrils) and is part of the normal process of growth in the body called anabolism. It is not the type of damage or injury that you see your doctor about.” —Richard Weil, MEd, CDE

So that’s nice and all but you want some relief, right? Here’s 5 simple tricks to help relieve your aches:

Stretch

Stretching following a workout helps reduce muscle fatigue. Your muscles are warm following a workout, and you benefit from increased blood circulation. Stretching also helps your posture, improves your anxiety, enhances flexibility, and minimizes lower back pain and your risk of injury. Whatever muscles you’ve worked, make sure to stretch them, and stretch them well. For a list of great stretches, we suggest these.

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Drink Up

Hard workouts will leave you sore, and lacking in carbs, protein, and electrolytes. Replenishing your body with a good recovery drink (taken right after your workout) will reduce (not eliminate) soreness by quickly resupplying your body with ingredients that counteract, and soothe the trauma you’ve just thrown its way.

Depending on your type of workout, you can replenish these with a protein drink, some juice, a sports drink, or a smoothie. Some research shows that even chocolate milk can help replenish your body’s nutrients. Vitamins C, E and Glutamine help reduce Oxidative/Muscle Stress, while the sugar (yes, sugar– this is one of the few times you can splurge and it actually helps) spikes insulin, which when triggered post-workout, has been termed the “Master Recovery Hormone.” (Recovery science gets very “sciency,” but rest-assured, there’s a noticeable difference between soreness with and without some form of recovery drink.)

No matter how you choose to replenish, make sure to stay hydrated. If you need help determining what nutrients you need to replenish from your specific workout, read this article. Many Kubex Fitness locations are all equipped with a Whole-Food Smoothie Bar to help you maximize your post workout recovery. Make sure to check it out after your next workout.

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Stick It

The Stick is a simple “wand” used in hundreds of hospitals by medical professionals all over the country to help patients relieve their muscle issues. Use The Stick. Use it like it’s going out of style. The Stick has hand grips bookending a row of PVC rollers/beads that you can use to roll over your achy muscles. Short of a professional sports massage (which we’d also recommend if you have the coin), this gadget allows you to give yourself a deep tissue rub-down, working out kinks and flushing lactic acid buildup that contribute to soreness. While The Stick itself might not look like anything spectacular, the product itself is 120% awesome. You can order The Stick here and watch “The Doctors” discuss and demonstrate its magic right here.

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Rumble In Your Living Room

If you’re looking for something that will “get to the point” pretty quick, you could try the RumbleRoller. The RumbleRoller is a foam roller on steroids that works similarly to The Stick, but has knobs which act as pressure point identifiers that you can “lean into” and release “trigger points” that tend to form in sore muscles. In short, it’s miraculous. You can purchase the RumbleRoller here and we promise, your muscles will never be the same.

Rinse and Repeat

Most importantly, keep doing your workouts. The thought might bring a tear  to your eye, but you’ll find as you warm up and stretch, the initial “unbearable” soreness goes away. It’s OK to workout when you’re still feeling sore. The fact is, you simply need to suck it up and push through it. In a week or two, your workouts shouldn’t leave you too sore at all.

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