Why Am I So Sore? What Can I Do About It?
Does this sound familiar? You start a fitness program, complete your first workout to the best of your ability, do everything you think you should to minimize soreness. Then you wake up the next day and It hits you. You can hardly move. Maybe you feel as though you've fallen down a flight of stairs.
Why has this happened? What do you do now? How long should you wait before your next workout?
First let me dispel a persistent myth. Being sore does NOT indicate you have had a good workout. Also not being sore does not indicate you had a poor workout.
Consider this in view of your goals. Did you start your fitness program to get sore? No you started it to achieve a set of goals regarding your health, your appearance and your ability. Correct?
So while you may or may not be sore after a workout, the condition really has little to do with the quality of your workout. In fact, once you are past the initial phases of your program, post-workout soreness should be the exception, rather than the rule.
Let's look at why we get sore and what you should do to speed your recovery and minimize the soreness.
Why do you get sore?
The short answer is training causes micro-trauma, or small tears, in your muscles. To be clear, these are microscopic tears, not muscle tears associated with significant injuries. The soreness is your body signaling you that you need to pay attention to recovery.
Why don't you always get sore?
The reason is we adapt to the challenges we present our to our body. When you begin to train, or progress to a new level, your body is essentially "shocked." You are not yet good at the movements or adapted to the new intensity level. So the micro tears occur and you become sore.
As you progress through your training cycle, you become better at the movements, you begin to adapt to the intensity level. Then two very good things happen. First your soreness reduces. And second you begin to get deeper into the potential benefits of your program and you get better results!
So what can you do about it?
First anticipate that you will be sore. While we can try to minimize the effects during your first couple of workouts, it is probably inevitable, at least to some extent.
Remember those micro tears? They need to be repaired. Your body is looking for a few things to do this specifically nutrients, water and circulation.
Nutrients — during the first hour following training, you need the proper combination of nutrients, protein and carbohydrates in the correct ratio, vitamins and anti-oxidants.
Research has shown that a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein during the first 60 minutes following training can increase your ability to recover (and reduce soreness) by 100%. And this same nutrient timing and profile can actually increase your weight loss!
This is where using a post-workout shake like Prograde Workout is so important.
You also need to drink plenty of water to speed your recovery. How much is subject to some debate, but start with half your bodyweight in ounces and adjust.
Finally, you should move a bit. A walk will do you a lot of good, as will working through some of the joint mobility sequences we use in our group personal training sessions.
Remember, being sore in the initial stages of a program is normal. The first couple of weeks can be difficult. You need to stay committed to your goals and stay tough. Your results are just around the corner!