Yesterday you decided to hit the gym for the first time in a while. Today you get out of bed to find your arms are sore, your core is worthless, and your legs are dead. You think, "What did I do to myself?!" You practiced proper form and listened to your body. How could you possibly feel this sore? You are experiencing a normal physical reaction to strenuous exercise called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
When we exercise, our muscles develop very tiny tears in the fibers. When these micro-tears heal, they heal stronger and larger than before, which is the mechanism by which our bodies develop muscle mass. Unfortunately, this healing process is not very comfortable. It can take one, two, or three days for the healing process to even start, which is why we sometime feel fine immediately after exercise, but experience significant muscle soreness a day or two later.
You may find yourself torn between taking a rest day and pushing through the pain. How do you decide what's best? Well, if you are thinking of skipping the stairs and taking the elevator because of your soreness, think again! Movement is the best cure for sore muscles. You can actually expedite the healing process by increasing circulation to those tender muscles. The key is elevating your heart rate and stretching.
Here are a few tips to staying active even while experiencing DOMS:
You shouldn't feel debilitatingly sore after every single workout, but when you are sore, remember that means you are making positive strides towards your health and fitness goals!
P.S. If you are interested in macro nutrition to fit your fitness goals, see our latest blog post on BCAA vs whey protein.