So You’ve Got Sore Muscles After a Big Workout….Now What?

Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Blog, Challenge, Motivation, Nutrition, Shakeology, Supplements | 3 comments

So You’ve Got Sore Muscles After a Big Workout….Now What?

Sore Muscles and What To Do About It

If you’ve just started a new fitness program or engaged in any physical activity that you aren’t used to doing, you’re probably experiencing some level of sore muscles.  This is a common experience, regardless of your fitness level.  The level of soreness can vary from ‘barely there’ to ‘I can barely walk’ to all out ‘Don’t even breathe on me!’  Regardless of your level of sore muscles, you are almost certainly wondering what you can do to help them feel better, and may also be wondering if you should continue with your new activities or take a break.

Let’s start with a basic understanding of what causes sore muscles.  Muscle soreness has two primary causes. The first soreness you experience happens during your workout (“the burn”) and should subside within a couple of hours. This is caused by lactic acid production. When you are training and your muscles are not getting enough oxygen (anaerobic glycolysis), lactic acid builds up. You can break down lactic acid by continuing to move and by doing light aerobic exercise (such as walking) after your workout. This is why cool-downs are so important, especially for beginners. The longer you cool down, the faster that lactic acid will leave the muscles (typically within an hour).

The second type of sore muscles you are experiencing, up to a day or two (and sometimes even three) after your workout is known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). DOMS is caused by microscopic tears inside the muscles, resulting from weight-training or fully exhausting the muscles during cardio. This is normal. Again, beginners will be more sore and usually for longer, but if you really worked as hard as you should have during a weight-lifting session, you should be somewhat sore for the next day or two.

This is where rest comes in. You absolutely must rest the muscles you worked for 1-2 days after a workout. Take at least one day off between strength training sessions, and if you are still very sore, take 2 days off. (This means from lifting the same muscle group, not from all exercise such as other muscle groups or cardio). If you don’t let your muscles recover and repair, they will continue to break down and you will actually get weaker.  Building new muscle is like building a house. You must have a firm foundation or you will not be able to continue to build!

To help prevent soreness in the future, and alleviate some of it now, be sure to: 
1. Always warm-up for 5-10 minutes and cool-down for at least 5 minutes or more.  This means getting your heart rate up with light cardio.

2. Stretch after a warm-up, during your workout, and after you are done. Only stretch when your muscles are already warm from some kind of light activity.

3. Stay active. The more your muscles move, the faster they will recover from exercise and soreness. If you choose to rest completely instead of “actively recovering” with light exercise, you’ll probably be sore longer.

4.  Drink plenty of water.


Yes! There is!! :)

5.  Take a hot bath with 2 cups of Epsom Salts.   When you soak sore muscles in Epsom salts, your body absorbs the magnesium and the sulfates through your skin.   An increase in your body’s magnesium levels can improve circulation, ease muscle pain, flush toxins and heavy metals from cells, improve nerve function and relieve stress. Plus, you get to relax and soak in the tub –bonus!

Eating to Help Relieve Sore Muscles

There are also some great post workout drinks and foods that you can consume to help reduce sore muscles and help your body to recover faster.
The most important things you consume are the one that you have directly after your workout.  For about an hour after your workout, there’s a window of opportunity when your muscles are literally starving for nutrients. We call this the golden hour and the supplements you use and what foods you eat at this time are the most important for building muscle and replenishing energy sources.

The first thing your body needs is a nice fresh supply of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are used by your body for making muscles, hormones, neurotransmitters, bones and all sorts of other important things. Exercise depletes critical amino acids such as glutamine, valine, isoleucine and leucine–and the way you replenish your body’s supply is with protein. That means meat, chicken, eggs, fish or whey protein powder.

The second thing you need is some carbohydrates. Exercise draws upon your body’s stores of glycogen, which is the storage form of sugar. Glycogen waits in the liver and the muscles for a signal that sugar is needed: “Hey, she’s exercising, let’s give her some fuel!” Your body can hold about 1,800 calories of sugar as glycogen, which is plenty to fuel any workout short of a marathon, but athletes do best when their glycogen stores are full, so unless you are on a carb-restricted diet, some slow-burning carbs after working out is a good idea. (Hint: The best carbs are oatmeal, brown rice, grains like quinoa or amaranth, and all vegetables and fruits).

Your muscles need protein for repair and growth, and your body needs some carbs to replenish its glycogen stores. Truth be told, after a hard workout your body is like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors: It’s crying “Feed me!” and it won’t take no for an answer. Remember, right before exercise you have to consider the time it takes to digest food, so you need to go light. But post-workout is the ideal time to have a full meal. So what’s the best meal, or combination of foods, to have post-workout?

Results and Recovery Drink -


This is my first choice for recovering from an intense workout- but it has to have been INTENSE!  When you have worked out to exhaustion, usually 60+ minutes of intense cardio or 30+ of heavy weight resistance, you will have depleted your blood’s glycogen (energy) stores.  As soon as possible after your workout, you want to get this into your system while the blood’s receptors are open. This will increase your results as your body will be able to repair faster, and replace the energy you’ll want for your next workout.  If you miss the window, you’ve missed your chance and the drink will do nothing but add to your waistline as if it were an ordinary sugary drink.
P90X® Results and Recovery Formula® tastes so great, you won’t believe how good it is for you! When recovering from intense workouts, Results and Recovery Formula will provide you with the vital nutrients you need to bounce back from your workout. And the delicious, smooth orange flavor makes it the perfect post-workout reward.


  • Dextrose-based formula for optimum glycogen replenishment*
  • A high Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) blend to provide the critical building blocks for rapid muscle resynthesis*
  • Vitamins, including antioxidants, to help reduce muscle soreness and assist in repair and growth*

I recommend using this, then waiting 20-30 minutes for absorption then moving on to…Shakeology!

shakeology_suppliment_beachbody_fitness_weightloss_program_excerciseShakeology is a great post workout meal.  It has a perfect combination of protein and carbs along with all the essential amino acids and nutrients your body needs to recovery from the workout you just did.  At least you don’t have to stand there in the kitchen wondering if what you are eating is the right option.  Instead whip up a shake and go!  It honestly is refreshing and delicious!

The rest of your meals should be balanced and ‘clean’, as unprocessed as possible.  Remember the 3 main macronutrients or ‘food groups’ you want to have in EACH MEAL are protein, carbohydrates (carbs), and healthy fats.   Here are some suggestions:

chicken brown rice and veggies

Chicken, brown rice and veggies topped with olive or coconut oil


tuna salad 1

Tuna mixed with Greek Yogurt on top of a bed of lettuce with Avocado and Tomatoes

quinoa salad

Quinoa mixed with 2 Tbl Olive Oil salad dressing mixed with a variety of Seasonal fresh Vegetables.

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  1. i am sore as s..t but I have my supplements ordered. Yay

    • Keep it up Chris! Pain is just weakness LEAVING the body! ;)

  2. Thank you I’m glad you found it useful!

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