If you are new to working out or have just started a new fitness program, you should be experiencing some muscle soreness. Don’t be alarmed– it’s a sign that you are creating change in your body. That said, we all have limits to how much pain we can take and building new muscles should not be torture. Ideally, you should help your body recover from the “stress” of your last workout in one of the following four easy ways:
- Drink plenty of water! All bodily functions require water. If you sweat a lot during your workout you have to combat dehydration and provide the extra fluids necessary to repair broken muscle fibers and build new ones. Aim for one gallon a day.
- Eat lean protein! Great sources of lean protein include meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy, beans, soy foods, nuts and seeds. Use the color-coded portion control containers included with your workout program to avoid over-eating.
- Get a good-night’s sleep! Call it your beauty sleep or recovery sleep. The fact remains that our bodies are hard at work repairing while we are getting some shut-eye. So if you keep pulling all-nighters your body will never get the chance to function at its full potential, and pretty soon you will be running on fumes. Not to mention that your soreness will reach all-new pain levels to the point where you won’t want to even move your little toe anymore.
- Eat enough calories! You have to eat enough calories to sustain your new fitness activity, even if you want to lose weight. This is not the time to starve yourself. What is your body supposed to use for repairing and building muscles? Use a calorie calculator to determine what your daily consumption should be based on your height, age, weight, sex, and activity. Make no mistake–in starvation mode your body will break down your existing muscle tissue first, NOT your fat cells in order to sustain itself. In other words, you can’t change your physique if you don’t eat enough.
There should be gradual improvement in your fitness level with reduced soreness if you use these four tips. But keep in mind that the your muscle soreness is directly related to how much you are challenging yourself during your workouts. You want to achieve a tolerable level of soreness that is indicative of your continued progress. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if you need help figuring out which program might work best for you based on your current fitness level and your goals.