If you have worked out, you know the feeling that follows it the next morning. Your alarm goes off, and your whole body is sore. Some people hate it, others see it as a badge of pride, something that they earned and something that is proof they are working out hard. But there are a huge amount of misconceptions about soreness, what causes it, what it does, and how to deal with it. The more informed you are about its causes, the better you will be able to treat it.
What Really Makes You Sore
A common misconception is that lactic acid is solely responsible for muscle soreness. That is actually not true. Muscle soreness is caused by your muscle fibers getting micro-tears that then need to be repaired the next day. It is also caused by the inflammation that follows these micro-tears. One of the reasons that ibuprofen and Tylenol help with the muscle soreness is because they are NSAID’s, or “Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs”, meaning they will go straight to the cause by reducing inflammation.
What Sore Muscles Means for Your Body
After these micro-tears happen, your body will begin to repair them. And when your body repairs them, they come back stronger. That is why soreness is considered important to muscle growth, though the actual pain goes away after a few weeks of working out. Lactic acid is actually important to the overall workout process as well. Lactate will help your body get more oxygen while you are working out, and help you work out longer. When it is present the next day, it is because it is being used by the cells to repair tissue damage.
Soreness Relief Using Massage
When massaging sore areas, the goal is actually not to just simply work out lactic acid either. It is mainly to increase blood flow and oxygen to the areas that need it, and the blood will carry the compounds needed to make your body feel better and any proteins needed for repair. But the idea of massaging your body to displace lactic acid is doing the right thing for the wrong reason. You should still aim to work the muscle all over, but do not apply too much pressure. A foam roller works best for this. A massage will actually help reduce cytokines, which are responsible for inflammation, and stimulate the mitochondria so they begin repairing even faster.
Soreness Relief Using Food
As for food, it is very common to get cramps during soreness. So eat plenty of food with potassium. Bananas are great for this. Free radicals also are responsible for soreness by causing oxidative stress. Plenty of Vitamin-C, which is an antioxidant, can help to reduce pain and recovery time. And of course, protein. If you are looking to lose weight and gain muscle, keep in mind your body still needs protein. And when your body does not have enough protein available from fat stores or recently eaten food, it will have to pull it from muscle tissue to make the repairs. This means undoing some of the gains you have made. So low-fat high-protein food is what you should aim for. Eggs are a great option for this, as well as turkey or any other lean meat.
Rest is Important
A small note, plenty of sleep is needed, as the main repairs are done when you are sleeping. That is why you often wake up sore, even if you weren’t after the workout the night before. All of the inflammation from the repairs will be present by the next morning, such that you feel it fully after sleep. But that is good; it means the repairs are happening. The more you sleep the quicker you will heal.
If you would like more information about post-workout relief, visit the professionals at STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.