Monday, January 14, 2013

Sore Muscles???? Rest Day or Workout????

So I have been working out intensely for almost a year now and I still experience muscle soreness!! Last week I started a new program - Les Mills Combat and I am in pain all over!! There are areas of my body I have never been sore before.  I usually can walk up our stairs at home no problem but tonight as I was marching up the stairs with my kids I was in pain!! I have been doing punches, kicks, jabs, burpees, etc. and wow does my body feel the difference in this workout as opposed to my previous workouts.  It just goes to show you that when you switch up your workouts you still work your muscles in a different way!  So....instead of taking a rest day when your muscles are sore and using that as your excuse not to workout - get up and GET IT DONE!!!! You need to work the soreness out!!!!

I did some research about working out and muscle soreness since so many of my customers experience it when they start my challenge groups.  I figured it would be well worth sharing.  We all get sore from working out from time to time so why not know how best to handle the discomfort!!!!

It is common for beginners to experience muscle soreness that lasts for a week or two, just as seasoned fitness buffs will be sore after a tough workout.  YES, you should keep working out even though you are sore!  
There is more to it, so keep reading....

Not working out? Well that certainly won't get you that body you envision!!

Muscle Soreness has two primary causes:
1. The soreness you experience happens during your workout ('the burn") and should subside within a couple of hours.  This is caused by lactic acid production.  When you are training and your muscles are not getting enough oxygen (anaerobic glycolysis), lactic acid builds up.  You can break down lactic acid by continuing to move and by doing light aerobic exercise, such as walking, after you workout.  This is why the cool down of all exercise programs is so very important, especially for beginners.  The longer you cool down, the faster that lactic acid will leave the muscles (typically within an hour).

2.  The type of muscle soreness you are experiencing, up to a day or two (and sometimes even three) after your workout is known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).  DOMS is caused by microscopic tears inside the muscles  resulting from weight-training or fully exhausting the muscles during cardio.  This is normal.  Beginners will probably be more sore and usually for longer.  If you really worked as hard as you should have during your strength training session, you should be somewhat sore for the next day or two as well.  

Ahh, REST...this is the point where you need to rest your muscles you worked for 1-2 days after a workout.  Take at least one day off between strength training sessions, and if you are still very sore, take 2 days off.  (This means form lifting, not from all exercise such as cardio).  If you don't let your muscles recover and repair, they will continue to break down and you will actually get weaker.  

To help prevent soreness in the future, and alleviate some of it now, 
be sure to do the following:
1.  Warm up for 5-10 minutes and cool down for at least 5 minutes.
2.  Stretch after a warm up, during your workout, and after you are done.  Only stretch when your muscles are already warm!
3. Stay Active!! The more your muscles move, the faster they will recover from exercise and soreness.  If you choose to rest completely instead of "active recovery" with light exercise, you will most likely be sore longer.  

Now what to eat to help prevent muscle soreness or the intensity of muscle soreness...

There are some great post workout drinks and foods that you can consume to help reduce the post muscle soreness and help your body to recover faster. 

The most important meal you eat is the one you have directly after your workout.  Approximately an hour after your workout, there is a window of opportunity when your muscles are literally starving for nutrients.  This is called the "Golden Hour" and the meal you eat at this time is the most important for building muscle and replenishing energy sources.

First your body needs a fresh supply of amino acids.  Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are used by your body for making muscles, hormones, neurotransmitter, bones, and all sorts of other important things.  Exercise depletes critical amino acids such as glutamine, valine, isoleucine, and leucine.  The way to replenish your body's supply is with protein - meat, chicken, eggs, fish, or whey protein powder.

Second you need carbohydrates.  Exercise draws upon your body's storage of glycogen, which is the storage form of sugar.  Glycogen waits in the liver and the muscles for a signal that sugar is needed.  Your body can hold about 1800 calories of sugar as glycogen, which is plenty to fuel any workout short of a marathon, but athletes do best when their glycogen stores are full.  So, unless you are on a carb-restricted diet, some slow burning carbs after working out is a good idea.  Try to stick with oatmeal, brown rice, grains like quinoa and amaranth, and all fruits and vegetables. 

Your muscles need protein for repair and growth, and your body needs some carbs to replenish its glycogen stores.  Remember, right before exercise you have to consider the time it takes to digest food, so you need to go light.   Post workout is the ideal time to have a full meal.  

What are the best meals or combination of foods to have post workouts?

Shakeology is a great post workout meal.  It has a perfect combination of protein and carbs along with all the essential amino acids and nutrients you body needs to recover from the workout you just did. You also don't have to ponder what you will have to eat or worse make a bad food choice. Instead have a shake and you get all you need quick and easy.  It is so refreshing and delicious!!!!

Chicken and Mixed Vegetables
Four ounces of skinless, boneless chicken breast contains almost 35 grams of high quality protein as well as small amounts of calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron; 255 mg of phosphorus; 287 mg of heart-healthy potassium; and 75 percent of the recommended dietary intake for niacin, a B Vitamin that's important in energy metabolism.  One large (6-ounce) chicken breast is even more loaded: It contains more potassium than there is in a medium banana, plus a whopping 53 grams of protein.  
The fat in boneless, skinless chicken is most monounsaturated. Only 1.1 grams of the 4 grams of fat in 4 ounces of chicken is saturated fat.  The vegetables provide carbs and fiber. 

Breakfast Anytime: Egg Omelet with Avocado
In our house our kids love having breakfast for dinner!! Thank goodness because eggs are just about the best source of protein on the planet.  Mix with as many vegetables you like for a perfect meal.  Serve with avocado for a nice dose of fiber and monounsaturated fat.

At the Gym: Whey Protein  Shake
Whey protein powder I think is the best protein powder available.  You can mix whey powder with frozen berries and water, or with peanut butter, oatmeal, sliced apple, or just plain 'ole water. The whey provides the protein and the rest depending on what you add can provide the carbs, fiber, or fat. 

The Three S's" Salmon, Spinach, and Sweet Potato
Here's the ideal balanced meal.  Wild salmon for protein and omega 3s, spinach for the cornucopia of vitamins and minerals (including superstar of eye nutrition, lutein), and a sweet potato for slow-burning carbohydrates.  It's an almost perfect meal. You can add a little flaxseed oil to the sweet potato or even sprinkle it with almonds.  Be careful of your portion size though - these options are all brimming with health but they are also high-calorie items.

Bodybuilder's Delight: Tuna, Brown Rice, and Vegetables
You cannot go to a hard core gym without seeing a bodybuilder eating this classic from a Tupperware container.  A single can of light tuna canned in water and drained provides an astonishing 42 grams of high quality protein for under 200 calories.  That same can has more than 100 percent of the daily value of niacin, 29 percent of the daily value of vitamin B6 and 82 percent of the daily value for vitamin B12.  Tuna is a superb source of the vitally important cancer-protective trace mineral selenium.  Add some brown rice for fiber and carbs, and load up with vegetables and you are good to go.

You cannot go wrong with any of these, or variations thereof.  They'll load up your body with energy needed to refuel and the protein needed to rebuild and repair muscle. Couple them with hard, intense and frequent workouts, and you will be on the way to the body of your dreams.

Independent BeachBody Coach

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