Thursday, January 13, 2011

Don't Let Sore Muscles Hinder Your Goals

Right about now - mid January - is when all those new devout gym-goers who resolved to get fit in 2011 start backing away from the elliptical machine. Sore muscles tend to be the culprits that kill the honeymoon phase of regular gym attendance, but don't let them stop you from reaching your health and weight loss goals.

While it's true that you should take things a bit easier when your muscles are sore, you also have to give them time to heal or else you may not set foot back at the gym for a little while. Not to mention the discomfort you'll be feeling from day to day.

Muscle soreness is the result of the formation of tiny tears in your muscles that get filled in with amino acids - the building blocks of proteins - in order to patch up the gaps and grow your muscles. You should try to leave a day in between each workout so that those tears can heal properly and help you avoid damaging your tissues and being even more sore. Healthy eating is especially important on days that you work out - be sure to have at least 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight, or about 0.4g per pound. So if you weigh 120lbs, you should have at least 44g protein per day, which is only about an ounce and a half, or the size of half a deck of playing cards! If you, like the average person, bump that up to 3oz of lean protein per day you and include lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, you should be well on your way to seeing the body shaping results you're looking for.

If your muscles are especially sore, try taking a hot shower, gently massaging your muscles, and gently stretching them out once they have been warmed up. Stretching your muscles cold is like trying to stretch a cold elastic band - much more likely to snap and result in injury which is never ever a good thing.

So folks, stick with it, don't give up, and show those skeptics who's still going to be at the gym come next month (and the next and the next...).