You want to know something funny? I thought the longer I was on my health journey, the easier it would be – the less sore I would become.
Okay okay, go ahead and laugh with me…. What the heck was I thinking? Here I am 1.5 years into strength training weekly, and you can still catch me stumbling down the hall like a newborn fawn. The resemblance I have to Bambi after leg day is quite uncanny unfortunately.
Truth is, as long as I continue to work out and break down muscles to build them up, soreness will be part of my story. Most of the time, sore muscles makes me feel accomplished and reminds me of all the hard work I did. But that doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable.
That being said, here are a few things I do to help combat that uncomfortable feeling:
First, I would like to start with my first disclaimer: I know I am a freak who naturally loves and drinks a lot of water to begin with. Long before I started my health journey, I drink a half gallon-gallon of water each day. When I gave up soda in 2015 cold turkey, water was literally my only option and it became my lifeline.
All that to say, your body needs water – especially broken down muscles trying to recover. Drink up sis, because just like the plants and flowers, you need water to grow.
Even as I type this, I can hear Jennifer telling me “Mikayla, you have to eat more protein!” As hard as I tried, for a long time, I just couldn’t reach my goals. So even though I was dragging my feet, I finally started supplementing with protein shakes. Lord, let me tell you, I honestly am so mad I didn’t before. There is nothing as delicious as convenience, am I right? Just shake up your protein or blend it up with fruit or just pull it out the fridge! Whatever you fancy, from protein powders to pre-made shakes, supplementing worked wonders for me! I realized my recovery was a lot easier when I consumed more protein and consuming that protein became easier when I finally gave into supplementation with protein shakes.
As for supplements, I don’t recommend popping Advil like its Halloween candy. Find something that works well for you. Turmeric works well as a natural pain reliever. Several MLMs and natural grocery/supplement stores offer healthier alternatives to pain relief (pills or cream) – just don’t forget to check your labels! And for the love of all that is good, don’t ever forget the power of Magnesium!! As a crucial mineral in over 300 body functions (including oxygenating your body) Magnesium works wonders!
Epsom Salt Baths
This is one of my favorite ways to combat sore muscles. Mainly, because I love a good bubble bath to begin with – grab a book, light a candle, and REST QUEEN. But in all seriousness, there really is a lot of benefits for taking epsom salt baths. For me, it helps with sore muscles, sunburns, migraines, relaxation/meditation, and stress. Folk remedy or not, I highly recommend!
Heating Pad / Ice Pack
I am the ripe old age of 24 going on 104, and on any given night, you can catch me reaching for my heating pad. While some people are “icers,” the heat (for me) is really what soothes my muscles. I sleep on my heating pad many nights – my back, legs, sides, neck – whatever it may be, feels so much better after a long rest on my heating pad. This Texas girl has the fan on power level “tornado” and the heating pad on power level “hell.” And there are NO apologies to be given, ha!
*Disclaimer: I am not qualified in any way to give out advice regarding this matter. However, this is just what I prefer to do. I have heard to alternate 15 minutes on/off and switch between ice and heat, but do what you will.
I am the first to admit that I don’t stretch as nearly as much as I should. However, when I do, it’s almost as I can feel the pain leaving my body. KRM has hosted several yoga sessions that have quite literally saved my muscles… and I couldn’t recommend them enough!
Don’t forget to stretch before and after workout, but especially keep in mind that stretching should be a daily practice regardless. I challenge you to stretch each morning when you wake up and each night when you go to bed – just a simple 10 minute stretch could change your life.
I LOVE a good massage – I normally indulge about once a quarter and treat myself to a spa day. However, most of the time, that is too bougie for even me LOL! So what’s a good alternative? Foam rollers. Seriously, don’t sleep on the power of a good rollout session. They can be a little pricy, but they are much cheaper than a massage and are well worth the investment.
What works well for you? We would love to know! Like I said, my muscles are always sore… like always, and I need all the help I can get!
You’ve got this,