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The Morning AFTER a Workout

I know the feeling.

You worked out yesterday, either for the first time in a long time, or you tried something new.

And now you feel terrible.

And you can't move.

And you didn't even know you HAD that muscle.


Many people don't get past day one of an exercise routine because of this very problem.  Here are some things that can be done before, during and after a workout to help ease that pain.
  • Drink water!  Water is an athlete's (let's use that term loosely) best friend!  The first thing you should do when waking up is drink a glass of water, and continue to drink some sort of liquid (preferably not soda) throughout the day.  If you step on the scale before a work out, and again directly after and you have lost weight, you didn't drink enough water.
  • Active recovery.  Active recovery means you are letting your body cool down by continuing low-intensity movement.  For example walking around until you've caught your breath and your body has returned to it's normal temperature.  Basically, don't sit down for a minimum of 10 minutes after your workout is over.
  • Protein!  Within a half hour after your workout eat some protein.  Protein provides your body amino acids that help repair your muscles.  It also improves your body's ability to absorb water.  You can do this by making yourself a protein shake (not as scary as it sounds!) or my favorite way, eating a hamburger (though there are some who may recognize this as the bad idea it is, doesn't stop me).
  • Exercise again!  It may seem counter-intuitive, or even torturous, but the best thing you can do is get out again the next day.  When you get your body moving, you get your blood moving, which means fresh oxygen to your muscles.  It also helps wash out the gunk that built up in your muscles that made them sore.  
Soreness is a regular part of exercise.  Everyone from professional athletes, to weekend warriors will get sore after a tough workout.  Your soreness will most likely peak two days after your workout.  Don't let it discourage you.  Keep your workouts light until your muscles recover, but keep moving!

Remember that if it doesn't feel like regular muscle soreness, or it is a persisting problem you may have an injury that needs attention from your doctor.

Amy Nelson is a running mom with a cycling husband and two boys.

* Picture from my personal files, play Where's Waldo, I'm in there somewhere.  

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