Feeling sore after a brutal House Ride? Yeah, we feel you. Delayed-onset muscle soreness (also known as DOMS) can make your body feel tense and your muscles feel weak while you’re recovering. You might even feel like you never want to workout again. But listen, workout-induced muscle damage, and the steps you take to recover, are all part of your growth as an athlete. Taking the right steps is essential to successful recovery.
Here are 8 pro-tips you should follow before, during, and after an intense workout:
1. It’s a good idea to drink caffeinated tea or coffee prior to your workout because caffeine can increase muscular strength and endurance. Studies also show that taking caffeine before a workout can reduce muscles soreness and fatigue by nearly half.
2. Take 10 to 15 minutes to warm up properly with some cardio and stretching to prep your muscles and joints for your workout. Make sure to get a good amount of blood flow to the muscles that you’re specifically focusing on during the workout.
3. Dehydration is your worst enemy. You need lots of fluid when you’re active. A good rule of thumb is to gulp down eight ounces of water for every 15 to 30 minutes of exercise. Don’t sleep on this or else your soreness will feel more intense and last longer.
4. Use a foam roller to massage out any knots or tight spots and increase blood flow to your muscles through applied pressure. After your workout, spend 10 to 15 minutes using a foam roller before stretching. If your muscles are more relaxed, you’ll be able to stretch it further than if they’re still contracted.
5. Remember to eat a post-workout snack that has a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. It will help restore any nutrients lost in the muscles during the workout. We also recommend drinking tart cherry juice, which has been shown to reduce soreness.
6. Immediately after a tough workout, try taking a cold shower to reduce inflammation of the muscles. You can also ice your muscle, which has been shown to reduce muscle soreness by 20%.
7. Add foods that are rich in omega-3s to your diet to help reduce this inflammation. Think salmon, flax, avocado, walnuts, etc. The natural anti-inflammatory properties of these foods will help minimize muscle soreness after overexertion.
8. Consider getting a massage to increase circulation and break up major knots in problem areas. Research found that massages can also reduce inflammatory compounds called cytokines.