Hey there! It’s your friendly Tacoma personal trainer about to knock out a nice full day but wanted to answer this question one of my clients had for me about training at BeFit Tacoma Boot Camp regarding muscle soreness and recovery. BeFit Tacoma Boot camp is a fat loss program first and foremost. Part of fat loss is moving…quite a bit! Moving quite a bit can make you sore! Quality movement has a bit of a learning curve, and BeFit Tacoma boot camp surely has that at points but if you’re honest with yourself AND honest with your nutrition the you’re going to rock and roll like Steve Mcqueen! More on that in a second….but before we go anywhere we should take a second and just look at how cute my dog Mr.Bear is. Relevant? No. Entertaining? Yes.
Now that that’s over with let’s get on with our question of the week:
“Good morning! What is a good method to determine if your muscles are recovered enough between classes? I attended the Monday night class and didn’t seem too sore yesterday, but i seem a bit more sore today… I had planned on coming to tonight’s class and Friday’s class, but I’m hoping you can help me gauge if my muscles are “OK” to do this.
Isaac Ho, Sexiest Tacoma Personal Trainer ( True Story), Breaks It Down
Let’s have a down to earth talk about soreness. As far as I know we haven’t figured out what causes soreness. All we know is it’s pain. Pain really boils down to one thing. Nerves telling your brain something is destroyed! Trashed! No longer able to be as structurally strong as it was. Some people would say Lactic Acid makes you sore. If you know anything about Lactic Acid it’s a waste product your muscles make when they don’t have enough oxygen to fuel their contractions. It’s often credited for the “burning sensation” you get like when your Jane Fonda tells you to, ” Feel the burn”.
Whether that’s lactic acid or not no one really knows. It’s not really the kind of acid that is going to burn through your skin and drip all over the dumbbells and mats pouring down into the floor like battery acid. That is a whole different problem and a very real one I might add. When I was a little boy on my way to Disney World I spoke to a chemical engineer who told me there were mile and miles, fields and fields, of waste product burning through containers with no way to dispose of it. Pretty scary stuff to learn at 12 years old. I promptly took his banana, yogurt, peanuts, and ginger ale, ate them, and ran out to ride Scream Mountain!
Lactic acid tells your body to stop letting you create more contractions but the burning feeling, according to an article/research study, for a continued education course I did years ago, said a theory of why the muscles could be giving a burning feeling might be from the sweet release of oxygen in the blood stream finally allowing some air into the muscles. Because of the high pressure burst of oxygen it comes too fast and creates a burst of blood vessels creating pain! Yep…sounds pretty fancy. I’m not too interested. Whether that’s true or not we don’t really care because the true way to make someone sore is simple. You tear muscles to kingdom come and that’s why when you try to move you hurt! Those muscles are torn across those segments and the more you move them the more stress across those fibers. Since they’re in pain your body is going to let you know that’s probably not a great idea for them so they’re going to give you the kick to your nervous system that tells you. It’s basically your body saying ” Hey man I’m kind of in trouble here if you wouldn’t make me more structurally unstable that would be good!”
Torn muscles are sore muscles. Pumped muscles are tight muscles. There is a difference. Pumped muscles actually can help recovery. Remember the point of any training program is RECOVERY. We talked about being consistent with your workouts in our last Tacoma Personal Trainer Blog. If you haven’t read about consistency and recovery from moderate compared to devastating workouts you’ll want to check that out. What makes steroids so effective is because it allows you to RECOVER from workouts normal people can’t. Most people think steroids are cheating and yes they are BUT WHY are they cheating? They help you recover faster than the normal person. Taking steroids doesn’t mean you can sit on the couch and do 16 oz curls with the beer can and have a killer body. It means you have to earn that killer body through hard work but you will be able to recover from workouts and training stimulus’s that would leave the average person depressed and unable to move. That’s why the programs in most magazines and don’t work for the average person. They’re written on recovery principles for someone who takes steroids! Recovery is the most under looked, underutilized, and underrated principle on earth
Sheri is asking me about soreness, which is discomfort, because she doesn’t want to workout so much she can’t move for a week. She knows she won’t get further by not being able to move but what she is really asking is a multi-layered question.
1. How do I know my soreness is not going to hinder me? Most importantly that I will be safe on my next workouts?
2. What do I do about the soreness?
3. Why is the soreness worse the second day than the third?
Luckily, when it comes to exercise, being a nerd is pretty much all I do, so I know the answer to her multi-layered question. Let’s take a look at it!
How Do I know My Soreness Is Not Going to Hinder Me?
Soreness can make you move slowly, cause you to feel tight, decrease your mental drive to train hard, and make you cautious about getting too sore, hurting to sit down on the toilet, and not being able to walk. Forget exercising. If we aren’t walking and breathing we aren’t living! Walking is not exercise! It’s locomotion! Basic movement! You gotta do that! It’s a pre-requisite to exercise! Soreness can hinder you and most of recovery and soreness in the first place is based around your training program. If you have a training program with a lot of new movements you aren’t used to and you’re training the same movement in the next session it may be better to pick something different the next time. Otherwise you are straining the same muscles again in the same direction before they’ve had a chance to recover and structurally support you. Think of your body as a living tree that heals back stronger after damage. It takes a hit to the right branch and starts to heal itself. Now if I want to break that branch completely off I attack that branch again but if I want that tree to last and actually grow back stronger then I attack a different branch or the trunk. That’s why you’ll see in our Tacoma Boot Camp Program that we alternate exercises per workouts. It’s to deload the joints as well as the muscles. A mistake I made back when we started was thinking it was going to be fine to have my clients deadlift Monday, Wednesday, and Friday just because it wasn’t that heavy and they weren’t sore. In a way it sounded great and worked fine except for one kind of person. The person with previous back problems or scoliosis who was not as structurally stable. So we started to cycle out the movements and assign them to certain days sparing the muscles and joints. If you’re sore from squats on Monday, and Wednesday is more squats and you are barely walking from being so sore, you’re probably going to want to look at the next section. You’ll be safe on your workouts as long as your training program is built to not hammer away the same segments that are still recovering.
What Do I Do About Soreness?
Some people like to feel sore. Personally, I don’t like to feel too sore. Even though it lets me know I did something, I really don’t need something external to let me know I did something! I’d rather just look at my end goal and know I’m getting closer to it. I ask clients if they are sore not to gauge the effectiveness of a workout but to gauge their ability to recover and adaptability to a program. So if you are at my Tacoma personal training gym and I ask you if you’re sore, I don’t really care to know if you think it’s a great workout or not I’m trying to figure out if you got enough sleep, if your nutrition was good enough, if you’re drinking enough water, and how your body is reacting to the program. Clever! I know!
I would rather add 100lbs to one of my lifts than be sore. I’m not in the business of being sore just getting results. As we mentioned above soreness can be a great confidence booster that your program may be ” working” for you but it’s not a measure of how you’re actually doing. Baseball bat to your muscles would leave you sore but wouldn’t necessarily make you in better shape. That being said let’s get rid of soreness.
Three Ways to Get Rid of Soreness:
1. Drink a ton of water.
Drinking water will cleanse your system and help get rid of all those nasty toxins. It will also greatly affect the health of your fascia, the connective tissue of your body. With healthy fascia you won’t be as tight and your posture will be better. Anyone in pain changes their posture and movement so getting you to reset is essential and it all starts with drinking enough water.
2. Get more blood flow.
Recovery is key and sitting around actually isn’t the answer. You want to get some light activity to get blood back into the muscles forcing it to reset. Think of it as a crumpled garden hose. We want to pump water through that hose getting it to refill and straighten itself out. That’s why bodybuilders will usually end a workout with high rep sets to get blood into the muscles to pump them up so they can get as many nutrients to help encourage growth and recovery.
3. Stretch and foam roll.
Taking muscles through a dynamic warmup like we mentioned in this last “Ask the 100 Dollar Tacoma Personal Trainer” article will help you not only get blood flow but work on stretching the muscles. Now we’re not doing anything aggressive with this stretching we’re just making sure we keep the gears well oiled. The foam rolling will help break up knots, adhesion, overall fascia health, and may hurt like a mofo but it will feel like a miracle has occurred after. I promise you. A smart warmup will incorporate dynamic mobility work into it to these things for you before you even start working out and if you include it a few minutes of foam rolling time before a workout can do wonders to help you move better. I haven’t had time to shoot the roam roll video series yet but as a gift I posted up the soft tissue guide here for you. Just click to download! A gift from your friendly Tacoma personal trainer!
Why is soreness worse on the second day than the first?
This is a question that hasn’t been figured out yet. DOMS– Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness has been a mystery on why the muscles feel worse on the second day. Exercise scientists are well aware of it and people who exercise are probably even more aware than the people studying it. I don’t think the reason why you’re sore is that important but here’s my two cents on it. I’ve noticed not everyone gets sore for the days after. For example when I do my usual workout, I find if I’m sore it’s the day after. Most people who have been on a consistent, similar training style program for a while rarely get sore. In fact, if they do get sore it’s because they switched the movements or bolstered the reps, both which will cause much more tearing of the muscles. They will then be sore for days after. It comes down to the bodies ability to adapt. If you are used to it, your body recovers after the first day, but if it is not used to anything at all, the healing process is much different. The muscles aren’t used to it and the inflammation process for healing begins slower. Massage is a process where damage of a tissue that asks the body to heal and repair itself in a better position. If your body is used to doing that it does it easily within one day. If you’re not used to it then it takes longer for the healing process to begin and the inflammation to fully heal. The delay is really dependent on the bodies ability to adapt and start the healing/inflammation process. Many of my clients rarely get sore now UNLESS I change the reps/ sets or exercises on them, which I do, just to keep it interesting for myself. I say myself, because trainees rarely get bored they’re mostly trying to learn the basics. Trainers get bored so we try to come up with a bunch of new stuff that isn’t really necessary!
That’s it my friends! Click like for Facebook, leave me a comment with any questions, and have a beautiful day!