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So, you’ve just started a new program and you’re SORE. Like sitting down on the toilet seat is TOUGH sore. Yup. Been there. And it’s AWESOME! Ok. Short term it’s a little uncomfortable, but long term it’s great. Because if you’re getting muscle soreness it means you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone and are making CHANGES.

Feeling uncomfortable – well, it’s UNCOMFORTABLE. But if your muscles aren’t getting sore the likelihood is you’re not challenging your body enough to make changes in your fitness. I’m not talking about so sore you can’t walk kind of soreness (that’s TOO much). But you should be aware of the muscles you’ve worked.

Read on to understand WHY your muscles are sore, how sore is TOO sore and what you can do to help yourself through muscle soreness!

WHY oh WHY does it hurt?
When you do strength based activities OR more intense cardio where your muscles are getting worked in NEW and challenging ways….you’re actually breaking down muscle fibres and creating SMALL repairable muscle tears. These SMALL micro-tears are great! They signal the body to get stronger by building stronger fibres. Hello PROGRESS! This is a good thing. And the fitness geeks (aka me) call this DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

So here’s the lowdown on muscle soreness:
-it should show up 24-48 hours after your exercise session (that’s the DELAY we’re talking about in DOMS)
-it should go away 24-48 hours after it shows up!
-it should primarily be felt in the muscle belly (think middle of the muscle)

What is TOO much soreness?
-if the discomfort is SO bad that you can’t function…that may be too much (and a signal you should back off your training intensity)
-if the pain is in the joint or tendons or ligaments this is also NOT good. Time to visit your fave rehab professional (Massage, Physio or Chiropractor)!
-if the soreness doesn’t dissipate in 24-48H after it shows up…you likely did TOO much. Make sure you give your body some recovery time then next time ease off the intensity a bit.

HELP! You’re IN it. Your body is SORE. What now?
1. Stretch! Make sure your muscles are warm and then complete a total body stretching routine or some yoga! Soreness will be eased off with gentle  movement – a workout will actually help as long as it’s not too intense!
2. Fuel and hydrate well! Your body needs BUILDING blocks to rebuild muscle!
3. Epsom Salts Bath. This can be super helpful and relaxing! Talk to your doctor to find out if this might help you!

Whatever you do – don’t STOP! Gradually over time the soreness will be less, as your body adapts to the new workouts. But a word of caution – if it goes completely (aka you do the same workout that stopped you in your tracks and it’s a walk in the park)? Time to SHAKE things up and do something new! No soreness = no changes = no results. In order to continue to get results (aka get stronger & fitter) you need to continue to challenge the body in a progressive & functional way! Need help? I’m here for you!