With Spring already here and summer just around the corner, I started thinking about one of my New Year's resolutions - creating a fitness plan for myself. What started as a little vanity (how am I going to look in a swim suit in a few months?) slowly evolved into the realization that the stress of everyday life has finally taken its toll on me. What I really want, and need, is more energy and balance.
I recently decided to start Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Workout. Starting an exercise routine is always challenging. Finding the time to exercise, creating a balanced routine, and honoring your goals and sticking with them is challenging enough; but adding in muscle soreness can be a real challenge for anyones workout. As someone who played sports most of my life, muscle soreness is nothing new for me. Here are a few tips I learned along the way.
Epsom salt: A scoop or two of Epsom salt mixed in with a tub full of warm water will do wonders for your aching muscles. Epsom salt is made up of magnesium, an important mineral our body needs, and unlike most minerals it can be absorbed through the skin. Magnesium allows your body to flush out all of those unwanted toxins, i.e. lactic acid, resulting in a relaxation of your muscles and a release of muscle tension. Throw on a face mask, sit back and relax for a good 15-20 min soak. You can find Epsom salt at any drug store. My favorite is Rica, with organic rose oil and petals mixed in with Epsom salt and other minerals. It is truly a multi sensory experience.
Magnesium supplement: As mentioned above magnesium can be absorbed through the skin, but that is not the only way to consume magnesium. If you are really feeling the burn, in addition to your tub soak, a supplement may help. According to Doctor Oz, “The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium for young adults is around 400 mg/day for men and 310 mg/day for women. For adults over 30, the RDA is 420 mg/day for men and 320 mg/day for women.” If pills are not really your thing, you can buy a magnesium powder. It can be mixed into warm water or your favorite tea; this really taste good and the warm liquid will leave you calm and relaxed.
As a preventative you may want to consider adding more magnesium into your diet. Dates, nuts, millet, spinach, avocado and beans to name a few.
Massage: The lymphatic system helps your body eliminate toxins. Using body oil or wash, I always begin my massage on the inner portion of the sore muscle and work my way out. Because of the location of the lymphatic system, I use firm upward strokes. Massage increases the blood circulation, therefore the acid is flushed out of tired or strained muscles much faster, which results in a faster recovery and better performance. Depending on how sore I am I might do this in a warm bath. The ritual alone is very soothing, relaxing your mind and body, loosening your muscles, and making the massage less painful.
Muscle Creams: Our skin is an organ, soaking up everything that it touches. Because of this, I use natural products whenever possible. Lasting Touch, Tiger’s Balm, and Arnica are my go to’s when it comes to muscle creams. Before I go to bed, after a workout, or if I need an extra lift, I apply these creams to give a boost to my muscles so I can reach my goals.
Sleep: Getting your 8-10 hours of sleep can do wonders for an aching body. Sleep allows the body to restore organs, bones, and tissue. It also replenish immune cells, and circulate human growth hormone. Sleep has a profound effect on muscle growth and your overall physical well being. When you get enough sleep your mind, body, spirit and heart connection is in balance; therefore, you are more likely to be productive and achieve the results you want.
Stretching: Although stretching can be painful, it allows blood flow circulation to get back into the muscle pushing lactic acid out.
Muscle soreness is a sign that all your hard work is paying off!! Give yourself a pat on the back you did it! I know it is hard, but try not to fear the pain; embrace it. Use it as a motivator, because just like most things, muscle building is a process. That soreness is just your bodies’ way of telling you to move more and keep going. Just remember why you started and what you want to achieve.