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Sometimes we workout to lose weight. Sometimes to build strength or muscle. Sometimes for our mental health. No matter the reason, we are likely to feel very sore at some point in our journey.
And during your first few weeks at Black Wolf you will be the most susceptible to being really sore. Depending on how new the movement patterns are to you, your muscles will be adjusting to the new challenges. The good thing is that this is a part of the process of you getting stronger and more confident. The bad news is that being sore is not super comfortable.
Is there anything you can do? Yes. Will it make the soreness go away entirely? Probably not. That only happens with time.
So what is in your control?
WHAT TO DO ABOUT SORENESS AFTER YOUR WORKOUT
Be careful here. I am not asking you to ignore the pain and force yourself through a grueling workout. I am simply asking you to move your body so that you can get blood flowing back through those sore muscles. Too often we wake up with sore legs and then never bend our knee to 90 degrees until the soreness is gone.
At a minimum, go for a walk ( a few walks throughout the day ideally). If you can, put your body through full ranges of motion using the muscles that are feeling sore. Slow squats, to a chair or bench if you are super sore. Knee push ups or better yet, get a little yoga going: low plank to high plank, cobra to downward dog.
Just move your body. Even though staying still is way more comfortable when you are sore, the sooner you get moving, the sooner you will be back to your awesome self.
If your pee tends to be any shade of yellow or gold, start with just focusing on drinking water. 1 ounce of water for every two pounds of body weight is a great starting point.
You’ll hear me talk about this at many points in your journey so you might as well get a head start. Use a bottle or large cup that you are able to keep with you throughout your day. On the bottom it probably has the number of ounces it holds. Now you know how many times you need to refill it during the day.
For those who have their water game down, there is a bit more opportunity here. Drowning yourself in water without keeping your electrolytes up to standard will not have the result you are hoping for. I love water. But if I have not had enough salt in my diet, no amount of water in the world is going to help me bounce back.
This is a tricky needle to thread. If you are currently consuming processed foods, your sodium intake is probably just fine if not way too high. But for those that have recently begun to clean up their diet, we often remove salt almost entirely. This is because high blood pressure is so common that all of us have either been told or have had a family member be told to cut down on their salt.
What if I told you adding Pink Himalayan Sea Salt to my water was my go to for bouncing back after feeling completely wiped out from a workout?
Here is a great explanation of the salt situation as it stands right now.
Give it a read when you get the chance. And follow @TheReadyState if you want productive content on your social feeds.
3) Eating (Well)
Many many of us begin working out so we can lose weight or lean out or otherwise change our body composition. So eating less is often on peoples minds. However, calories are needed for activity, and nutrients are needed for our body to operate optimally.
If you are well fed (lean meat, fruits and vegetables, complex carbs, little sugar) then you are positioned to capitalize on and recover from your workouts. If you are underfed or fed with low quality food choices, your performance will not be where it could be and your recovery will be much longer.
Once you establish your routine at Black Wolf we will talk about the opportunities that exist with the Black Wolf Nutrition program, but for now, keep it simple. The less boxed, bagged, processed food the better. The more real food the better.
White rice, potatoes, and squash are some of our favorite carb sources. Carbs give your muscles the fuel they need to perform. Eat more of this in the hours before or after your workout, and less but not necessarily none in the meals farthest from your workout.
Chicken, lean beef, and any other lean creature protein provides amazing amounts of protein (amino acids) which we need for tissue repair (muscles being sore from being broken down by a workout). Consume protein consistently through the day.
And the olive oils, coconut oils, almonds, etc. keep our hormones balanced and our micro-nutrient uptake consistent. Eat less of this around your workout and more in the meals farthest from your workout (opposite to carbs).
Everything you seek happens when you sleep. Not in the gym. Not in the kitchen. Abs are made in bed.
We already know that being under slept means we are not at our best. We may even know that poor sleep increases cortisol, oversimplified as the stress hormone, which is not great for our well being or how our body looks.
But the quality of our sleep also dictates the results we see from the work we put in. In his book Why We Sleep, Dr. Matthew Walker states, “Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day.” If you are into slightly nerdy stuff about sleep, the book is worth a listen on Audible. If you like more concise versions, he has done a number of podcast interviews unpacking the important points of the book.
To give ourself the best results and to recover from soreness the quickest, we must aim to sleep more and at a higher quality level.
WHAT (MAYBE) NOT TO DO
You are in pain so a pain reliever is a good idea, right? You are not wrong here. And if you really are struggling to make it through your day, then go for it. But don’t make a habit of using anti-inflammatories every time you are a bit sore.
Remember, acute inflammation is good. If you get injured, you want it to swell. That’s the body responding to the scene of the accident to help fix things. Strength training is literally tearing up the muscle so that it rebuilds stronger than it was before. So inflammation around the site is good. For a bit.
Anti-inflammation practices like Ibuprofen and ice or ice baths have come under scrutiny recently because of their profound ability to reduce inflammation. Turns out, if your goal is to gain strength or build muscle, reducing inflammation immediately will lower the quality of your gains.
Just be intentional about when you use these tools.
Massage Guns/Massages in General
Tight and sore are two different things (mostly). Remember, your sore muscles are inflamed. Pounding that tissue with an electric hammer doesnt seem so great anymore. Massages are the same. Massaging with a professional masseuse can be useful but they won’t be digging in super hard. They will simply help increase the blood flow through the areas that are giving you trouble.
BEING SORE IS NOT THE GOAL
At the end of the day, especially at the start of your journey, the aim of your workouts is not to destroy yourself. The goal is to show up consistently. Ease into your journey. Enjoy learning the details. Then, once you have a strong understanding, your body will be up to speed enough to handle almost anything you can throw at it.
Do you have any other remedies for being sore? Did I leave anything out? Let me know.
And if you’d like to come and check us out here in Houston, Texas, click the link below to schedule a free visit!