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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

What could be causing my week-long muscle soreness?

Hi there, I've returned to the gym in earnest this year, since January I have been taking 1 kettlercise class and 2 spinning classes a week in addition to my weekly yoga class. I'm in my fifth month of this programme and I am still spending the week aching from the classes, I enjoy them, and don�t feel like I am pushing myself too far or anything. But I ache all the time! Could this be an issue with my diet, or technique? Many Thanks

A.

Our expert says...

Hi,

This is an excellent question! When we experience muscle aches/pains post-training (or over the 2-3 days after exercise this is referred to as DOMS = Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and the best thing we can do is to actually stay mobile and if possible undertake some gentle activity (often referred to as ‘active recovery’) i.e. a gentle walk or cycle or swim to ease the tired muscles and help encourage circulation to aid quick recovery.

Active recovery followed by gentle stretching (and in severe cases anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen) are useful to calm the muscle inflammation (which is what causes the pain in the soft tissues).  Sports massage is also a fantastic way of preventing but also dealing with muscle soreness which is why it is an integral part of an athlete’s daily routine.

In terms of WHY you are getting the muscle soreness try to ensure the following as they tips below will minimise muscle soreness post exercise:

- ensure that you follow an effective ‘cool down’ routine at the end of training / exercise sessions, with foam rolling (see ‘the future is foam rolling’ article in the resources section if you are not sure what this is), stretching, leg elevation and rest

- ensure you are consuming enough protein – ideally within each meal (to optimise muscle recovery) and for optimum recovery consume within the first 15minutes and then 1-2 hours post exercise.

- ensure you are taking in adequate amounts of water to keep you hydrated on a daily basis as hydration is a crucial component in muscle recovery

- get enough sleep, try to have 6-8 hours sleep (where possible) as during deep sleep is when a lot of tissue rebuilding and recovery takes place

- you could have your techniques checked by an instructor to ensure you are using the right muscle groups during your kettle bell classes as this class can be quite a strenuous one on joints and muscle tissue

If you find that your muscle soreness still occurs and is slow to go even after my suggestions (which is possible with demanding, functional classes like kettlebell) then I suggest you employ ice baths or cold showers immediately after a heavy training session (as it cools the inflammation in the muscles that leads to pain) and consider the help of sports massage as this is a fantastic way of increasing your muscles ability to cope with training and recovery from high intensity.

Hope this helps,

Kelly

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