Sore muscles after a workout is an issue every regular gym-goer is intimately familiar with. While you might catch your breath quite quickly after a workout, your muscles need some more time to get back to peak condition. The result? Aching thighs after leg day and not being able to lift your arms after a gruelling session training biceps or shoulders. It’s not a bad thing—it shows that you really worked your muscles. However, it is quite literally a pain!
Although completely eliminating muscle soreness might not be a possibility, there are some simple habits you can adopt that’ll help speed the process up. These healthy habits come recommended by science so feel free to try them out yourself.
1. Watch What You Eat
We know that you’ve heard this advice before with regards to losing weight, but it’s just as valid when it comes to taking care of your muscles. A very popular nutrition philosophy is ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ (IIFYM) which basically ensures you get the nutrition you need without having to obsessively track calories. Simply put, as long as you keep the total calories consumed below a certain level, eat whatever you want!
This philosophy might be the rage because it allows you to eat a certain amount of junk food but choosing high-quality, nutrient-dense foods over their lower-quality, junk-food counterparts is instrumental in boosting physical health. In fact, this 2007 study suggests that simply improving the quality of your food leads to better body composition, even with no change in quantity of food consumed.
2. Carbs Are Not The Enemy
You might have heard how carbohydrates can make you put on weight. If you consume them in excess, they will. However, consuming carbs in the right amount from the right sources at the right time provides a boost of energy in the body which is very beneficial before and after a workout! This 2008 study informs that eating the majority of your carbs before and after a workout and minimising carb intake for the rest of the day helps recovery and reduces muscle soreness.
3. Prioritise Your Sleep
For better athletic performance and faster recovery, science recommends you do all you can to ensure you get the right amount of quality sleep every night. Lack of sleep might not seem a big deal to you, but this study from 2014 and another one from 2015 shed light on how sleep loss can play havoc with your hormones and affect your health. Its health benefits extend beyond the gym too!
Try out these healthy habits and ease your post-workout pain considerably!