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Getting sore is part of training hard, but you shouldn’t have to suffer for long. Try these tricks to reduce muscle soreness.
You know the feeing – the day after a hard workout your muscles feel so sore that you can barely move. In a strange sort of way, it’s quite nice. The feeling of soreness is one that makes you feel like you’ve had a really productive workout, and you know you’ve worked hard and pushed yourself. In fact, some people get so used to this soreness that they really miss it when it’s not there, and start to worry when they don’t feel some kind of pain after a training session.

Even if you’re not feeling sore after your workout, it’s worth doing some anyway, as you may be suffering later on, or the following day. You’ll certainly regret it if you skip your post workout stretching, only to feel like you can’t move off the couch the next day!

2. Light Exercise

With lactic acid, hydrogen ions and various toxins still circulating around your muscle fibers in the days following a workout, soreness is highly likely. By far the best way to get rid of these is to keep moving. You don’t want to train too hard, as this will cause further muscle breakdown.

However, performing some light exercise, such as walking, gentle jogging, or mobility work is a great way to flush blood through the muscles, warm them up, and push out all the soreness-causing toxins. Swimming is also a good choice, as it’s non weight bearing, so won’t cause any more muscle damage.

3. Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is by far the most painful soreness relieving trick, but it works a treat. A foam roller is a dense cylindrical tube made of foam. They range on length from 12 inches to 36, and come in various densities. You place a certain body part over the foam roller, place your weight on top, and roll across it for the length of the muscle.

If you’ve never foam rolled before, be warned – it can be excruciating at first, so start with a softer roller, and don’t place too much weight on it. Like light exercise, foam rolling increases blood flow to the muscles, but it also pushes out any knots and adhesions which may be causing soreness and restricting mobility.

4. Sports Massage

If you want the benefits of foam rolling but without the discomfort and effort, then a sports massage might be a better option. While sports massages can be painful, you can ask the therapist to start off slightly lighter, and work up to a more intense massage. The masseur will also be able to get to areas that the foam roller can’t, such as smaller muscle groups like your calves and adductors. Likewise, if you’ve been foam rolling for a while, and find that it’s no longer as effective, a good sports massage therapist will be able to increase the tension and pressure, making a massage even more effective than foam rolling.

5. Nutrition

In order for them to grow, your muscles need the right fuel. This means food! Have you ever noticed that you’ll often feel more sore when you’re dieting or trying to lose weight? This is because you’re not consuming as many calories as usual, so your muscles aren’t getting enough nutrients and energy to rebuild and grow.

You can combat this by consuming the majority of your daily calories before and after training in your pre and post workout meals. In both meals, have a portion of protein, such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs or a protein supplement. Protein is responsible for building muscle tissue, so is a vital component of recovery nutrition. Add lots of fruits and vegetables for nutrients and antioxidants, along with some carbohydrates from root vegetables, grains or a sports drink, and a small serving of healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocado or olive oil. If you’re still feeling sore, have a protein shake to speed up muscular recovery.

Try these five tricks after your next workout, and hopefully you’ll never experience debilitating soreness again.