How to Relieve Sore Muscles After a Workout?

How to Relieve Sore Muscles After a Workout?

Morgan Robinson - August 31, 2023

Exercise recovery is a highly important part of your workout regime. Achieving peak performance means that you have to push your body harder. This makes rest all the more important. 

Each and every workout stresses the body. You are causing microscopic damage to your muscles each time you exercise - and it's during your workout recovery period that your muscles actually grow. 

A muscle needs anywhere between 24 to 48 hours to repair after a workout session - overworking muscles can lead to tissue breakdown instead of building. This means for weight training routines, you should never work out the same muscle group two days in a row. 

Below are some of the options of how to relieve sore muscles:

Replace lost fluids

Muscle soreness occurs from lactic acid build up in a muscle. An easy way to recover quickly after exercise is through hydrating to replace the fluid lost during exercise. Water is known to support every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body. Drinking adequate amounts of water also helps to flush out toxins. 

Fluid replacement is even more important for endurance athletes who lose large amounts of water during high intensity training. 

If you are participating in high intensity exercise or are working out in hot weather, you should consider an electrolyte drink to help you to hydrate. Electrolyte drinks contain both water and electrolytes in the form of sodium, potassium and sugar. 

Prioritise recovery foods

After exercise, you need to refuel to help your body to recover, repair tissues, and increase strength. 

Ideally, you should aim to eat within 60 minutes after your workout. Fuel up on high-quality protein and carbohydrates. For muscle growth, you should be aiming for around 20-40 grams of protein after exercising. 

Take BCAAs 

Consuming BCAAs in between meals will help your muscles to recover. Five grams of BCAAs in between meals will ensure that protein synthesis is spiked throughout the day. 

The BCAA product should contain around two grams of leucine, one gram of isoleucine and one gram of valine. 

Relax and rest

Time is one of the best ways to recover after a hard workout. This allows the recovery process to occur at a natural pace. 

Prioritise stretching

After each workout you should consider gentle stretching. This is an effective way to help your muscles to recover. This can help to reduce muscle stiffness and prevent injuries. 

Perform active recovery 

Gentle movement such as yoga, a brisk walk or a slow bike ride helps to improve circulation. This helps to promote nutrient and waste product transportation throughout the body. This in time helps muscles to repair and refuel faster. 

Get a massage:

A massage helps to improve circulation, while ensuring that you take the time to fully relax. Using a massage gun can be an effective way to relieve sore muscles. You might also choose to use a foam roller to relieve tight muscles. 

Foam rolling:

Foam rolling has many benefits - it helps to break up muscles adhesions, improve flexibility, improve joint function and reduce the amount of injuries you may face. 

Foam rolling before a workout helps your muscles to limber up and improve muscle function. Foam rolling after a workout helps to flush out toxins. 

Foam rolling for at least 15 minutes a day helps to prevent injury. 

Take an ice bath:

Ice baths can be an effective way to recover faster, reducing muscle soreness and preventing injury. Contrast water therapy (alternating hot and cold showers) also has the same benefits - helping to flush out waste products in the tissues. 

Prioritise sleep:

During sleep your body produces a Growth Hormone (GH) which is responsible for tissue growth and repair. 

Avoid overtraining:

The best way to recover fast, is through building an exercise regime that avoids overtraining. Excessive training or lack of rest days will limit your fitness gains. 

To conclude, the most important thing to do in order to recover quickly is to listen to your body. If you are feeling tired or sore you may want to consider scheduling in more recovery time.