Recovery Done Right; 3 natural ways to relieve sore muscles
Tough, grueling workouts are all the rage these days.
Whether it’s a high-intensity boot camp, a strength training session or a crossfit class, people just can’t seem to get enough of these sweaty, full-body workouts.
Even though these intense exercises can offer amazing benefits, they can also wreak havoc on your body, immune system and hormone levels. Ailments such as strained muscles, depleted electrolytes, overuse injuries, low energy, and mood swings are just a few of the conditions that can come up after working out too much or too hard. If you’re not self-aware of your limits or your form, prepare to receive some gnarly repercussions and some mega-muscle soreness.
Now, don’t get me wrong; being sore is one of my favorite sensations. I feel it shows you how hard you’ve worked while getting you closer to your desired level of fitness.
And this sensation isn’t just magic; it’ s a result of small micro tears in your muscle fibers. Your muscles then have to repair themselves with rest, water and nutrition in order to come back even stronger than before. This is called progress…and that’s what people really struggle with.
You know when you’re working out everyday, sweating your ass off and pushing through the pain and soreness, only to one day be super puffy, unmotivated and grouchy AF the very next week?
Yep, it’s called “overtraining”, and I’ve totally been there. Overtraining is a result of not letting your body, mind and muscles get the rest they need.
This first happened to me when I first got into HIIT workouts. I would do them ALL the time because I was quickly seeing results. I would power through each and every eye wince and teeth cringe just to be dripping in sweat the next minute.
Huffing and puffing for air was my kryptonite and I wasn’t giving it up. That’s until one day I woke up completely uninspired by life while hating everyone and everything in it. I felt puffy, irritated, sore, my digestion was off, and I pulled my hamstring the second I stepped out of bed. That’s when I knew I needed to recover.
So what can you do, naturally, to help speed up recovery? Well, as a personal trainer and health coach, I like to blend my holistic “hippie” tendencies with my love for strength and conditioning, and it’s definitely become a balanced relationship.
After a lot of trial and tribulation, I’ve come up with three remedies I swear by when it comes to recovering naturally. No expensive shakes, subscriptions or infomercials needed.
Magnesium is a mineral that regulates hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body such as producing energy, optimizing proteins, and contracting and relaxing muscles. Essentially, magnesium helps your body do what it’s designed to do, and in turn, relaxes your muscles, helps you sleep better, and even regulates digestion. Talk about a win-win….The crazy part? 8 out of 10 people are deficient in this major mineral that does so much.
Foods such as dark leafy greens, seeds, almonds, avocado, cacao, and bananas are a great source of magnesium. I also love to take a magnesium supplement such a topical lotion or spray or this powdered form that you can drink nightly. Another option would be to take an Epsom Salt soak, which is high in magnesium so the body can absorb it through the skin. Just another reason to take that weekly bath…
2. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherries contain certain compounds called phenols, such as antioxidants and melatonin. Melatonin helps your body sleep by regulating your hormone levels. Antioxidants have high anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and decrease recovery time.
The other great thing about tart cherries is that they are highly concentrated so a little goes a long way. You can start using tart cherry juice by taking 1-2 oz of juice mixed with 6-8 oz of water shortly after an intense workout.
Check out my Tart Cherry Tonic which incorporates tart cherry juice AND magnesium in one deliciously, addicting smoothie.
Duh. If you know me, you know I love yoga…and for very good reason.
Not only does yoga stretch out your muscles in ways that you never thought were possible, but it’s also a great active recovery tool for all of you that can’t seem to sit still on a rest day.
The pairing of movement with your breath is also a great combination to recover. Your muscles and body need oxygen in order to function properly. Think about it; we can survive weeks without food, days without water, but only minutes without air. Getting as much oxygen to those muscles as possible will help them repair and function even better.
If you’re new to yoga, start slow. There are great apps such as The Yoga Studio that cater to total beginners and even the pros. Then, check out YouTube videos like Yoga with Adriene. Once you’re ready, take a class. Take lots of classes. I believe everyone, no matter what your age, weight, or athletic ability is, can benefit from yoga.
So there you have it; my top 3 ways to reduce muscle soreness and actually feel normal again. Give these methods a shot and I can guarantee that you will start to feel better, both physically and mentally. Do you have any certain methods you swear by? Leave them in the comments below as I’m always searching for new things to try!