I think you get the picture.. the memes about post – Leg Day feels are endless. BUT not as endless as the soreness and pain you endure. I’ll admit it – I may have skipped a leg day or two due to fear of what I’d face after. So how does one alleviate the agony and torment caused by a killer leg day session? Well I’m glad you asked:
A foam roller is an relatively stiff exercise device that is shaped like a cylinder that allows you to basically give yourself a massage. When used for self-massaging, it can help to soothe tight, sore areas (or “trigger points”) and speed up muscle recovery. This process of rolling out tight muscles and relieving tension is called myofascial release. Fascia are connective tissues that run throughout the muscles in your entire body. When they’re loose, your muscles will ALSO be more loose and be easier to stretch. You can foam roll to warm-up before a workout AND foam roll to recover after you workout. (For a foam roller that both Dan and I love – Check Out: Foam Roller)
Ice (DUH. OBVI!)
A hot bath may feel better at first, but giving muscles the cold shoulder (ya get it???) through icing after an exercise is actually more beneficial. Though a hot bath provides overall relaxation and pain relief, icing reduces inflammation and actually prevents further muscle damage and speeds up the healing process.
Active recovery basically means that you stay active even though you’re still sore – but by doing LESS INTENSE activity. For example, if your muscles are sore after running then you would “actively recover” by going for a light walk OR if your muscles are sore from lifting heavy you would “actively recover” by doing some body weight exercises. Active recovery gets rid of muscle soreness & stiffness by stimulating blood flow & improving circulation to the muscles without overexerting your already sore muscles. (For more information on Active Recovery – Check Out: Do You Even Active Recovery?)
Common sense should already tell you to rest or at least not work out the same muscle group that is hurting you – at least until they’ve fully recovered.
Massages – Now THAT’s what I’m talking about!
A study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine showed the positive effect of massage on sore muscles. Deep-tissue massaging after exercise has been shown to increase the blood flow to muscles and speed up the removal of inflammatory chemicals that produce soreness. If your significant other isn’t the best at massaging (like mine is – *cough* *cough*), try investing in a handheld massager, massage stick, or even just a lacross ball. You can massage the muscle for up to 20 minutes to help reduce soreness after a tough workout. (If you’re looking for any of the above – Check Out: Handheld Massager, Massage Stick, & Lacrosse Ball).
A study found that when 82 marathon runners took 5 arnica pills 2x a day on the day before, the day of, and 3 days after their marathon, they had LESS soreness than the marathon runners who didn’t take arnica pills. On top of this, according to another study published in Rheumatology International, an herbal version of the cream Bengay based on the arnica plant is JUST AS effective as ibuprofen in easing pain. (If you’re interested in taking arnica OR arnica creams – Check Out: Pills & Cream)
EAT MORE PROTEIN!!!
If you are just starting a new workout plan, or just finished up an absolute killer workout, make sure to eat more protein right after. Getting that extra protein may help your body recover faster. A study done on marines showed that protein immediately after intense training reduced muscle soreness the next day.
Drink Coffee BEFORE You Workout
Your morning cup of Joe may be doing more than just waking you up before those early morning Rise & Grind sessions. Studies have shown that drinking coffee prior to a workout reduces muscles soreness and fatigue by nearly half.
Drink Cherry Juice??
Scientist believe that the flavonoids & anthocyanins in cherry juice is what helps prevents muscle soreness. According to a study from 2010 published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, the antioxidant compounds found in tart cherries called are believed to work by reducing inflammation.
So there you have it! Leg Day – I see you! And I’m coming for you.. no fear!!!!