Training for a marathon? Pushing your body to its limits? Just starting to get back into your fitness routine?

All of these scenarios have one thing in common: muscle inflammation. When you workout, you initiate increases in muscle strength, growth and endurance, but it also increases the amount of inflammation in your body. You are breaking down your muscle fibers and in turn increasing your cortisol production (a hormone released when stress is placed on your body). Your muscles then swell as your body begins to react to the added stress placed on your nervous system. This is a normal response, asthese "micro-traumas" allow your body to withstand and adapt to similar workouts in the future.....a.k.a progress.

Sometimes I'll work out for a week or two straight and feel like I gained 10 pounds. Then, after taking a couple days off, I feel hotter than a Victoria's Secret model. WHAT. THE. HELL....Ever happen to you? It's because my body becomes inflamed, but I know that if I didn't work out consistently than I wouldn't have those days where I feel on top of the world. It's the weirdest thing and, at the same time, completely normal.

I've put together a list of ways you can reduce your muscle inflammation in order to make you and your body feel 100 times better. Next time you feel inflamed, try these out and take note of how you feel afterwards.

TART CHERRY JUICE
My absolute favorite remedy! Tart cherries are a proven anti-inflammatory food. They also help with arthritis and gout. Tart cherries allow for faster recovery, a decrease in muscle pain and less muscle damage. Make sure you choose TART cherry juice as this allows for the most benefits. I like to mix 1-2 oz. of tart cherry juice with a glass of water before I go to bed, as it also helps you sleep!

FISH OIL
The omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil can help with joint swelling and inflammation. People tend to over-consume omega-6's from eating red meat, which is actually an inflammatory food. We don't get enough omega-3's in our diets, which is a vital nutrient for optimal bodily functions. Try eating more cold-water fish such as tuna and salmon.

DETOX BATH
People's magnesium levels have decreased dramatically in the last 10 years due to diet and lifestyle changes. Epsom salts, which are high in magnesium and sulfate, are absorbed by the body in a hot bath. An Epsom salt bath flushes toxins and heavy metals from the cells reducing inflammation. Put 1.5 cups of Epsom salts and 1 cup baking soda (neutralizes your tap water) in a hot bath and soak for 20-40 minutes.

GINGER
Ginger suppresses pro-inflammatory molecules in your body. It can reduce your muscle pain by up to 25%. It also helps your digestive system move along, allowing one less thing for your body to worry about. Try to have ginger tea after a tough workout or eat a little more ginger with your sushi.

STRETCHING
Stretching your body after working out allows for an increase in blood flow and nutrients to reach your muscles. This allows your muscles to recover faster. When you are stretching your sore muscles, make sure to perform gentle stretches and ease into the motions so you don't tear the muscles even more.

AVOID CERTAIN FOODS
If you don't know what an ingredient is, most likely your body doesn't either. Choose foods that are real, natural and easy to pronounce (except quinoa....eat quinoa!). Foods such as meat, grains, dairy and anything processed causes inflammation in the body. We, as humans, aren't designed to digest these foods properly and in turn our body responds negatively.

Time to kick inflammation to the curb and see the results you have worked so hard to obtain. Get after it.

-XO, Cass

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