So-called "muscle heads" may not be generally regarded as very bright, but getting ideal results from your workouts actual takes quite a bit of thought and consideration. For example, finding ways to deal with soreness and ensuring that you consume a beneficial nutritional plan can be somewhat complicated. Understanding these concerns and how best to deal with them will help maximize the results you see from your efforts at the gym. Always consult a doctor before beginning any workout plan.
What Causes Muscle Soreness?
Finishing a grueling workout can give you many feelings: pride, excitement, exhaustion and, unfortunately, soreness. And while "no pain, no gain" is a dangerous workout philosophy to follow, the soreness after exercise is related to tough workouts. Resistance training produces microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. It is the repair of these tears that helps make your muscles stronger. In addition to immediate soreness, you may also feel delayed-onset soreness, which sets in 24 to 48 hours after your workout. Typically, that soreness accompanies a dramatic increase in frequency or intensity of workouts. Delayed onset soreness also occurs when you return to working out after a long break, which makes working out consistently look like an even better idea than it already is.
How Can I Reduce Soreness?
Luckily for sufferers of soreness, there are many ways to address this discomfort. According to the journal "Sports Medicine," some of the most effective methods for treating muscle soreness include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, and stretching. Taking a few days off from working affected muscles and enjoying a massage can also be helpful, not that you ever really need an excuse to do the latter!
Why Consume Protein After a Workout?
Technically, there is no wrong time to consume protein, as this nutrient is essential for your health. However, consuming protein after workouts is especially important because the nutrient can help repair the muscle tissue damaged in your workout. According to the American Council on Exercise, eating up to 20 grams of protein within 30 minutes of your workout is key. Consuming low-fat protein sources such as Greek yogurt, tuna or a protein shake can help you keep calorie intake moderate while getting enough protein.
Protein and Post-Workout Soreness
In addition to repairing your muscle tissue, protein may also have benefits for battling muscle soreness. Research published in the July 2012 edition of the journal "Nutrients" notes that consumption of protein and carbohydrates -- such as a protein shake with milk or a tuna sandwich -- may help reduce muscle soreness and decrease the degree to which soreness impeded upon muscle performance and strength.
- American Council on Exercise: Q: What Causes Muscle Soreness and How is it Best Relieved?
- Sports Medicine: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness: Treatment Strategies and Performance Factors
- American Council on Exercise: 7 Smart Post-Workout Snacks and How to Know When You Really Need One
- Nutrients: Recovery from Cycling Exercise: Effects of Carbohydrate and Protein Beverages
Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for Bloginity.com and Bodybuilding.com. He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.