What’s the Deal with Muscle Soreness?

Tons of athletes gauge the quality of their last workout based on how sore they are. The goal of being sore the next day or the 2nd day after a workout is important for people. Although muscle soreness should not be a goal, there is this sense of accomplishment when achieved. That soreness following an intense day at the gym reinforces you went “hard”. This is more mental than anything else. Soreness does not necessarily mean effectiveness. Soreness also hinders your ability to perform effectively the following day(s). This is especially true for CrossFit athletes who may be using the same body part on consecutive training days. Soreness is not a goal of hard work; it is a byproduct of overwork. Overworking your muscles leads to muscle soreness. An ideal session at the gym should push your limits while limiting how sore you will be the next day.

Muscle soreness is referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). It is a result from microscopic tears within the tissues of your muscles. The goal of working out is to break down muscle tissue in order to heal bigger and stronger. Your body is asking for time to heal, which is why muscle soreness is present. The more tissue damage, the more you will feel the “pain”. Understanding the concept of muscle soreness is usually straightforward. Stopping muscle soreness altogether is often not realistic for athletes who are looking to continually challenge themselves. Finding a solution to muscle soreness is a much more realistic use of your time. Solutions will vary form athlete to athlete but, in general, proper sleep, nutrition, and supplementation will be your most useful tools. Sleep is a matter of lifestyle. Nutrition is a matter of discipline. Supplementation is a matter of quality. Finding the right supplement post-workout will give you the edge you are looking for. You want to find a product that includes, but is not limited to, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, BCAA’s, creatine, and glutamine. Avoid products with propriety blends, as those products don’t list the amount of each ingredient, respectively, in the blend. There are ways to hide what is in a product when blends are listed.

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