Working out can be a lot of fun. You get fitter and stronger with every session in the gym. But, unfortunately, after a day or two, your muscles can start to really ache. Sometimes, it can be so bad that you can struggle to walk properly.
But what’s causing it (other than general muscle breakdown)? Let’s take a look.
You’re Going Too Hard, Too Soon
Aching muscles are a sign of a good workout. However, you can go too hard, too soon, causing more muscle breakdown than your body can manage. When this happens, it will go into preservation mode, using pain as a way to stop you from using your muscles until they recover.
If you notice your muscles are painfully sore (to the point where it hurts to move them), then back off the weights a little. Do fewer sets and try not to train so intensely - at least until your muscles acclimatize to the activity.
You’re Not Massaging Them Properly Afterwards
Many of the world’s top athletes get massages every time they go to the gym. Why? Because massage is one of the most powerful tools for helping muscles recover more quickly.
Massage is effective because it moves nutrients around the muscle tissue and helps to drain waste products. Hiring a masseuse, using a foam roller, or using a percussion massager can reduce recovery time significantly, allowing you to get back in the gym faster.
You’re Eating The Wrong Foods
When it comes to training, some foods are better than others. For example, eating a lot of processed junk will lead to increased inflammation in the body and make it more difficult for tissues to repair themselves. By contrast, eating natural anti-inflammatory foods can prevent muscle soreness from occurring in the first place.
Research, for instance, shows that people who eat berries are far less likely to have muscle soreness after a training session than those who don’t. Berries reduce inflammation but do not impede the body’s ability to adapt to the training intensity. So even though you are less sore, you’re still getting all of the benefits.
You’re Not Taking Cold Showers
Nobody wants to take cold showers, but research shows that they are among the most effective ways of reducing inflammation throughout the entire body. People who allow themselves to get cold from time to time increase their body’s resistance to physically challenging situations and are able to get in the gym more often.
Your Rest Days Aren’t Really Rest Days At All
Rest days should be periods of active, intentional rest. If they’re not then, you’re not actually going to do your body any favors. Why? Because if your activity levels remain high, your body will continue breaking down muscle tissue and won’t have an opportunity to rebuild it.
The trick here is to give yourself permission to rest. If you’ve been working hard the whole time, then resting is actually an essential part of your recovery. Without rest, your body will not enter a “build and grow” state.