I’m a Hurtin’ Unit: My Muscles Are Sore After My Workout

Since I am trying to do a bit of body sculpting over the next two months, I set up a workout routine beyond what I normally do. The end result was having sore muscles a day after my workout. This is to be expected, as I am quite out of shape. But holy cow, am I a hurtin’ unit today.

It’s not because I overworked myself or that I pulled something. It’s my body’s way of letting me know that I seriously neglected physical fitness over the last couple of years.

On the upside, I managed to set a couple of new personal records after Exercise.com did their database wipe more than a year ago.

Why Are My Muscles So Sore After the Workout?

For the most part, muscle soreness is common after you put them through the strain and stress of vigorous exercise. It’s called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS. It’s a normal side effect and is nothing to worry about.

Usually, DOMS happens anywhere from 8-24 hours after an intense workout, such as lifting 20-pound dumbbells after taking a 3-year break from exercise. The soreness can last up to 48 hours and is somewhat of a good sign.

As everyone is different, these numbers are based on averages. Some people will feel DOMS immediately while others, like myself, will feel it almost an entire day later. It also depends on the intensity of your workout.

Although it’s a bit annoying and can hinder a bit of your movement for a couple of days, it’s actually a good sign. Especially if you want to build strength and define muscle mass.

Pushing My Current Limits

In my case, I lifted 3,360 pounds in total yesterday using nothing more than 20-pound dumbbells. This is quite a bit less than what I used to press back in the day. But since I haven’t really lifted since 2018, I have to deal with DOMS.

Getting Back to Workouts

The workout plan I came up with this week puts a great deal of strain on everything from the waist up. This was on purpose, especially for everything I’m doing on my core.

But, throughout the workout, I decided I needed to reel back on the reps. I was trying to do too much and didn’t want to risk actual injury.

And that’s where I feel the muscles and how sore they are after my workout, from the waist up.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if I’ll be able to do push-ups this week to see if I can break my record. I might have to wait until next week when I’m not so sore.

Does DOMS Happen After Every Workout?

It can take a few days or similarly intense sessions to start feeling DOMS less after your routine. And some fitness experts view that as a sign to increase the intensity even further.

But, I’m not trying to be a bodybuilder. I just want to get back to where I was a few years ago.

Muscle soreness will eventually subside if you continue the same workout routine. Once your body acclimates to the weights or intense movements, you’ll feel it less and less.

For example, I was quite sore when I started playing the Xbox Kinect again a couple of weeks ago. Nowadays, my muscles don’t get as sore after the workout and I wind up just burning a ton of calories and sweating profusely.

6 Ways to Reduce Sore Muscles Are After a Workout

Now, you don’t have to suffer through having sore muscles after an intense workout. In fact, there are several methods you can use to reduce the pain quite easily.

A few ways I address muscle soreness post-workout include:

  • Advil: 
    Advil is a great anti-inflammatory that helps ease the discomfort you feel from DOMS.
  • Taking a Nice, Hot Shower: 
    Even in the summer, when it’s pushing 100 degrees, I find a hot shower to be extremely helpful. That’s because the heat increases blood flow to muscles, which eases much of the soreness.
  • Full Body Stretch: 
    An easy, full-body stretch can help release the tension your muscles are experiencing. And, it’s always good to stretch before and after a workout, anyway.
  • Keep Yourself in Motion: 
    Perhaps one of the most effective methods for dealing with DOMS is to keep yourself moving. I find light exercises or constant motion help alleviate a lot of soreness.
  • Get Proper Rest: 
    Although I don’t often get enough rest and relaxation, “rest days” are a tried-and-true staple for most bodybuilders and fitness experts.
  • Whey Protein Powder Shakes:
    Whey protein powder helps by delivering nutrients to those sore muscles to help them recover and start healing sooner. Normally, I’ll have my shake immediately after my workout.

What About Massages for Sore Muscles After a Workout?

A lot of people say how you should get a massage after intense workouts that cause DOMS. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford a massage therapist or have anyone in their lives who care to rub them down.

However, there are quite a few vibration devices nowadays that can aid in sore muscles after a workout. In fact, Planet Fitness has that water massage table thing, which I kind of want to try someday.

In any case, massages can do wonders for easing tension and pain. I’ve had a few, but not very often. Still, I do know how much of a difference it makes to be rubbed down after soreness sets in.

It’s a good pain, although it may make you cry.

Out of everything I do to reduce muscle soreness, though, keeping in motion is the most effective for me. I try not to sit still and let my muscles tense up too much. Movement keeps them loose.

What Can I Do to Speed Up Muscle Recovery?

No one likes to sit in pain. Well, unless you’re a masochist. So, what can you do to speed up recovery time that doesn’t involve a ton of money?

Drinking More Water

Water does a lot of good for your body. Not only does it aid in recovery time, but it can also help you lose weight and keep everything running smoothly.

For one thing, water moves nutrients your muscles need to recover as well as making sure oxygen is available. It also contributes to blood pressure and a slew of other benefits.

It just simply makes sense to make sure you’re properly hydrated.

Eating the Right Foods

The foods you eat can also help speed recovery from sore muscles after a workout. And I’m not just talking about whey protein powder, though, that’s one of the things that helps me adapt throughout the day.

I love making a shake from blueberry maxPro Elite and dark chocolate almond milk.

Milk, beans, Greek yogurt, and even tacos can aid in recovery time after DOMS sets in. In reality, there are a lot of foods that aid recovery after a workout.

Getting Enough Sleep

And lastly, getting enough sleep gives your body time to heal and mend wounds. Because that’s pretty much what DOMS is, micro-tears in the muscle fiber that need replacing with stronger fibers.

Your body does a lot of healing while you sleep. So, making sure you get enough shut-eye is greatly beneficial on multiple levels.

Although I’m still working on getting more of this myself, I do notice on days I sleep longer that I feel much better the next day. Especially after a grueling workout.

The Idea Behind My Workout Plan

I already knew I was going to be a hurtin’ unit as I was planning out my exercise routine. That’s because it’s literally been since 2018 that I actually put in this much effort for fitness.

Everything from the waist up hurts because that is where I focused most of the work…my abs. Sure, I want to have a more defined chest and a bit of muscle in my arms. But my core is where my weight is most noticeable.

This is because I don’t do a lot of core-focused work. Yes, some of my Kinect games will contribute to working out the abs and obliques. But not like a focused exercise, such as planks and using the ab roller.

The sore muscles I feel after such a workout is telling me that I’m on the right path. That all of this work on those muscle groups is surely going to pay off over time. After about two months or so, I’m surely going to show a massive difference.

Because I do want to effectively reduce and define my core, half of my exercise routine centers around the abs. I also alternate between ab work and other exercises so I don’t overexert those muscles trying to do too much in succession.

So, when I do something like a Swiss ball dumbbell fly, it’s giving my abs a bit of a break before moving on to something like lying leg raises.

Giving Proper Rest Periods

Another part of my weekly workout plan is to give my body a rest period in between lifting sessions. Because I pushed myself pretty far yesterday, today I’m focusing more on the cardio side of things.

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are more like to result in sore muscles after the workout while Tuesdays and Thursdays are centric to just burning fat.

Yes, I will feel a bit of discomfort when playing the Xbox, but not to the extent of what I pushed through the day before. Besides, I find a good 20+ minute workout in front of the Kinect works wonders for alleviating some of the effects of DOMS.

Sore Muscles After a Workout is Good?

Have a bit of soreness post-workout is good. It’s your body telling you that you’ve pushed your limits and is in the process of healing while making muscles denser. Though, too much pain could signify you’ve actually hurt yourself.

When experiencing DOMS, it should be more of a soreness and not an all-out excruciating pain. Seek medical advice if you experience pain beyond what you feel is tolerable.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeing your doctor if something doesn’t feel right. The last thing you want to do is cause a severe injury that can have lasting effects.

Never take your health and fitness for granted.

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Michael Brockbank

Since 2015, Michael has put in the effort to lose more than 80 pounds by gamifying fitness and eating proper portion sizes. He conducts extensive research into various health and fitness products to provide the best answers possible according to his own experience and knowledge.

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