Photo Credit: shadowandsilhouette
(Crossposted at Blogher.com)
Who knew that after not exercising like I normally do I would be this sore coming back. I mean OUCH!! I can hardly move. OK well, I knew this would happen and it's not quite that bad but I am sore today, very much so. I can feel every muscle I worked this week and to be honest, it's a good feeling, except for when I try to get up out of bed or off the couch, when I squat the pick up the toddler and when I pull open the fridge door... you get the idea, it hurts.
My muscles are sore because of all the vacationing I've been doing lately at home and away from home. My latest trip took us to the Outer Banks, North Carolina, where we walked on sand and land, climbed the Nags Head sand dunes, and battled the waves of the ocean. Evidently, that was not nearly enough to give me a good workout, however, it was nice to have such an active vacation. We had a great time!!
Back in the gym I started my week off with weight training, Turbo Kick Box, Spinning, Elliptical training, and more weight training. Although my diet was not bad during vacation, it is definitely better now that I'm home. I think my body is in shock from all the egg whites, salads, lean meats, fruits and vegetables I've been eating this week.
When muscles are sore it is important to remember that:
#1 stretching, massage, hot baths will help you fell better but it isn't going to make the soreness go away completely,
#2 drinking water is essential,
#3 eating high protein foods is a requirement to help muscles grow stronger, and
#4 take it easy, take time to recover, but don't stop exercising.
The last one here, #4 is the one that can make or break your fitness routine. Many people prefer not to feel that pain and they either never increase the resistance or quit exercising all together. That's never a good idea because if you return to the gym you will be sore all over again. However, keep in mind that the endorphins released during exercise relieve pain so instead of not doing anything, exercise and experience the benefits of endorphins.
Ideally, you want to take 24-36 hours off between sets. If you work chest, biceps and shoulders on Monday, then wait until Wednesday or Thursday before working that same set of muscles. It largely depends on how hard you work each set. The soreness you feel is the pain of your muscles getting stronger. Your muscles are just getting used to the new fitness routine. You want to work those muscles and push yourself harder each time you go back.
In order for you to become stronger, faster, and improve endurance you have to exercise beyond what you normally do, you have to make the muscles burn during the workout. Just like in running, you can't run the same mile every day and expect to become a better runner. So you run faster and further and feel the burn. In weight training or muscle conditioning you feel the burn by lifting heavier weights. This burn is a sign that you are damaging your muscles (that doesn't sound appealing does it?) But it is. Because muscles have the unique ability to recover and when they do they are stronger and that's what we're looking for. The more lean muscle mass you develop, the higher your metabolism, the more fat and calories you burn-- again, who doesn't want that?
While I do feel very sore today, I am confident that my muscles are once again adjusting to my workout routine, I know that I am becoming stronger, improving my physique, lowering my BMI and speeding up my metabolism. I will rest this weekend from any weight training and go back on Monday for more burn!
When your muscles start burning, push just a little harder. When you are sore, rest, stay hydrated, eat well. Whatever you do, don't ever stop exercising!