Summer was great! We ran the beach, hiked the mountains, biked the trails, walked the roads and generally took advantage of the nice weather all season long. Now it’s fall and all of us are getting back into our regular exercise routines. Just because you were active throughout the summer doesn’t mean you’re going to be using different muscle groups in ways they haven’t been used in months. If you’re not careful, you could be in for a whole lot of achy muscles.
That’s why we’ve put together this essential guide to help you make that transition from outdoor to indoor exercise with as little pain as possible. And if you’ve already felt the effects of those first few visits to the gym, we’ll tell you how to treat those sore muscles and prevent future soreness as well.
- Start Slow
You may have been putting up a PR every time you lay down on the bench last spring, but now you find you can’t even get within 50lbs. of it. So, you’ll try to push yourself to get back to that weight. Take our advice: Don’t rush it. Instead, go lighter, focus on your form and stretch well before and after your workout. Then, gradually add weight each week until you regain that pre-summer power. The same thing goes for cardio. It’s hard to hit the road for a 10-mile run or climb on the erg for a 5,000-meter row when you haven’t done either since Memorial Day Weekend. Go with shorter distances to start and don’t worry about your pace. Just concentrate on getting your breath and your rhythm back. You’ll avoid the muscle soreness and cramps that come from doing too much too fast.
- Be Proactive
As you’re getting back into the swing of things, you may get fatigued sooner than you expect until you get your stamina back. When you get tired, your motor neurons send electrical signals to your fatigued muscles at a hyper-accelerated rate. This can trigger a muscle cramp for some people, but usually contributes to the residual pain we feel in the days following a tough workout. To prevent muscle soreness from exercise, take a HOTSHOT for Muscle Soreness right before or right after you work out. HOTSHOT activates receptors in your mouth, stomach, and esophagus, which then sends a calming signal down your spinal cord and inhibits the rapid-fire activity that contributes to subsequent soreness.
- What to eat for sore muscles
Your diet is a big part of getting back into your routine successfully. Make sure you’re getting plenty of protein. Because your muscles are under so much physical stress during a workout, they can get tiny “microtears” in their fibers that become inflamed and contribute to the soreness you feel afterwards. Protein is a “building block” for your muscles: it helps repair the damage that occurs during your workout and ultimately allows your muscles to grow. Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs and fish are the best foods that help muscle soreness and recovery because they deliver a lot of protein without adding a lot of calories. They also include other important muscle-building nutrients like potassium, glycogen and healthy dietary fats.
We all know how important sleep is to our overall well-being. But, maybe you spent the summer living every moment to the fullest at the expense of your regular night’s sleep. Hey, we get it. You’ve gotta live a little. Now that the nights are longer, it’s time to re-establish a healthy sleep schedule. A big portion of our muscle recovery happens when we’re getting a night of good quality sleep. Human growth hormone (HGH) is secreted during our sleep cycles, which helps encourage muscle recovery and growth.
We’re also talking rest as in “rest days”. As in don’t skip them. If you push yourself too hard, you could actually regress instead of improving. Take a day off between workouts. Or two, if you need it. Your muscles need the time to recover and heal.
- Have Fun
Yes, meeting your fitness objectives is a serious endeavor. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself along the way. If your routine becomes more of a slog than a release, you’re less likely to get back into it. Switch things up from time to time. Try a new exercise or weight-lifting discipline or even a new piece of a equipment. Then, work those new things into your regular routine. You’ll be surprised how much more interesting your workout becomes when it features a variety of ever-changing part. You’ll probably even look forward to it.
Summer is for exploring, basking in the sun and having experiences that aren’t possible during the rest of the year. Fall is a great time to reset and get back into the groove at school, at work and in the gym. Make sure you give yourself time, nutrition and rest you need to do it right. And if you happen to overdo it, HOTSHOT is here to help you recover and get back to achieving your goals.