Fitness has loads of benefits, from better heart health to a better body. But what about being sore? That next-day (or two) “workout hangover” can leave me stiff, tired and, if I’m being honest, less motivated. I’m not talking about good pain, I’m talking about the all-over pain that’s good in the sense that I’m not injured, but still intense DOMS (Delayed On-set Muscle Soreness). I don’t usually get DOMS unless it’s been a while since I’ve trained or I’ve tried a new workout. Recently I tried three new programs and dealt with the pain in three ways.
The Brand New Class
I do Pilates at least once a week, but I find a new instructor or class can change things up enough that I feel it the next day. That’s what happened when I went to Muse Movement. The reformers were different than the ones I was used to and we did a few moves I’d never done before. But the studio is an old classroom and the décor is Instagrammable from every angle. So my next-day DOMS wasn’t so much debilitating as it was a reminder of the muscles I wasn’t regularly training.
Solution: Recent research suggests that omegas, when taken after exercise, are good for muscle function in women. It’s likely because of the anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil, which should help with feeling sore. I’ve been taking MegaRed, because it’s made of krill fish, which have a higher concentration of omegas.
The Fusion Class
I’ve tried many different classes, but Nucleo Pilates & Rowing is unique. The idea is that you can get your cardio in a Pilates class and increase the calorie burn, which Pilates isn’t known for. I liked the transition from the rower to the mat (and fitness ring). It’s like the two complemented each other, giving strength and relief to my core and back. But the next day I was tight—not immobile, but I definitely needed to loosen my lower back and abs.
Solution: Instead of a pain reliever, I took a couple of glasses of Orange Naturals Mag Pop. It contains magnesium, which loosens up tight muscles. (NB: I find this brand doesn’t make you have to go number two, like other brands do).
The Intense Workout
You know when you are about to do a circuit class and there’s one super intense exercise you’re dreading? In Greco’s Lean & Fit there were seven (!) moves that made me cringe, including box jumps and burpees in the same workout! Then when I thought it was over, we did another circuit. It was like I had worked out for the first time in my life. After a good night’s rest (probably the best in a long time), I was as stiff as a board.
Solution: I took Advil as recommended and used a Gaiam foam roller. The thing with foam rollers is that to target the muscle that burns, it has to be intense when you’re doing it. If you’re not sure what to do with a foam roller, try this video.
Also, I get asked if I work out the next day when my muscles are sore, and I do. I find the movement helps stretch those muscles that have become too tight. Still, if you think the pain is an injury, don’t exercise. Go to your doctor to find out how you can heal quickly. The whole point of working out is to move, and you can’t do that if you’re hurt.