Guest blog post by HW Coach Jill Nash.
“I hurt my _____”
“Did something to my ______”
“I injured my ______”
I hear this stuff all the time as a trainer/coach. Of course, my first question is always, “What did you do?” If at this point they say they fell/twisted/slipped/etc, I always advise seeing a doctor to rule out anything serious….an injury.
According to the lovely internet, “an injury is a general term that refers to harm caused by accidents, falls, hits, weapons and more and can range from minor to life-threatening.” This can pose a major or minor setback in training and should be addressed by a physician and treated by a physiotherapist/chiropractor/
Once rehabilitated and cleared by a medical profession that it is safe to train, most people make their way back to the gym to ease back into their training while adhering to proper follow-up recommendations.
So, injuries aside, most people that train regularly experience some level of muscle soreness almost daily if training is done with proper intensity and form. Again, this is known as DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, and is the pain and stiffness experienced 24-72 hours post-exercise as a result of imposing stress on the muscles to a point beyond that which they are accustomed to, according to webmd.com.
When new trainees experience muscle soreness for the first time, a vast majority of them manage to convince themselves that they are injured. This is partly due to the mind seeking an excuse/reason as to why they can’t do this, and the negative thoughts seep in, “You’ll never be ____”, “You’ll always be _____”, and “You should just quit while you’re ahead.”
Tell that negative voice to shut the hell up and assess your condition, seek remedies to alleviate the soreness and learn to embrace the soreness as reassurance that you created sufficient micro-tears in the muscle fibers which will be repaired and result in muscle growth…..or simply put, you’re building muscles and will get stronger as a result.
Now, I won’t leave ya hangin’ without some help with your DOMS. Some simply things that work for me are ice, BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids), massage therapy, foam rolling, anti-inflammatories, and active recovery.
To elaborate, as much as we crave the comfort of heat when we’re sore, it can actually increase the inflammation. Ice is much better at relieving pain and discomfort of muscle soreness, usually alternating 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off works.
Branched-chain amino acids can be found at most supplement stores and come in pill or powdered form. I prefer to put the powder in my water I’m sipping during/after training and usually at another time in the day. These also tend to taste really yummy and are a great addition to a post-workout shake.
My RMT works wonders when I’m particularly sore. Find yourself a good massage therapist that understands your sport of choice (for me, powerlifting) and can help make you feel better faster. Now granted, my massages are extremely painful, but the short term discomfort results in quicker recovery and improved mobility of tight muscles. They can be pricey, but it’s a worthwhile investment in your health and well-being.
Buy yourself a foam roller! Seriously, these things are fantastic for doing self-myofascial release therapy. Simply put, you roll on it with as much of your body weight as you can handle until you find a sore spot, at which point you maintain pressure for 30 to 60 seconds. These work wonders and are especially great if massage therapy is out of your budget as this treatment is known as a “poor-man’s massage.”
Sometimes, the above remedies don’t cut it and anti-inflammatories can come to the rescue to offer more immediate relief when time doesn’t permit foam-rolling, ice or a visit to your RMT. There’s no shame in it if you’re suffering with the DOMS.
Lastly, active recovery. The worst (WORST!) thing people can do is sit on their couch for a day or two when they have muscle soreness. This is just setting you up for a bigger setback in terms of recovery. Get moving! Go for a walk, do some light training in the gym, or swim (allows greater range of motion and feels amazing post-training).
Don’t let muscle soreness stop your progress towards your goals. I’m not saying to be stubborn and try for a PR when you’re extremely sore, that’s just silly. But take the advice offered here and self-remedy to get you quickly back in the gym. Remember, “Sore Today = Strong Tomorrow!”
Hope this helps at least one person!!
Coach Jill 🙂
Have questions? Want help with your training or nutrition? You can inbox me here, email firstname.lastname@example.org, check out www.