Physique Global

Muscle Fatigue and Soreness: Reasons and Remedies

What is Muscle Fatigue?

Muscle fatigue is the decline in ability of a muscle to generate force over time. The result is a feeling of exhaustion or a need to rest because of lack of energy or strength. There are two main causes of muscle fatigue: vigorous exercise/muscle training and medical conditions such as the common cold, poor nutrition or more serious conditions like diabetes.

However, we are concerned solely muscle fatigue due to training. The extent of muscle fatigue you experience depends on what kind of training you’re doing. Muscle fatigue can result from high volume training or any training at all. Let’s take an example of high repetition training. In this kind of training, we perform up to 25-30 reps until failure, and at the end of the set, when we are not able to perform any more repetitions, it means we trained to the limit where muscle fatigue occurs.

How to decrease muscle fatigue during your workout?

To decrease muscle fatigue during training, make sure you eat a well planned pre-workout meal and consume at least 16 ounces of water, 2-3 hours before your workout. This will give your body sufficient time to absorb the nutrients in your pre-workout meal, as well as have your body’s glucose level (the insulin spike) return to normal before hitting the gym. Then, 30-60 minutes prior to your workout, take your pre-workout supplements and your pre-workout snack, if that is part of your diet plan. Remember to stay hydrated during your workout!

What is Muscle Soreness?

Muscle soreness is also called muscle fever, and is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after training a particular muscle. The soreness is felt most intensely 24 to 72 hours after performing the exercise. Generally, the soreness gradually increases in intensity and can last for several days, and will slowly dissipate over time. The soreness is caused by compound exercise, that is, exercise consisting of eccentric (lengthening) contractions and compound moves like heavy bench press, shoulder press, squats, deadlifts, and snatches. On the other hand, isolated muscle exercise causes much less soreness, and concentric (shortening) exercise causes none.

After eccentric (lengthening) exercises, the muscle adapts rapidly to prevent muscle damage, and thereby causes soreness if the exercise is repeated. Delayed onset muscle soreness is one symptom of exercise-induced muscle adaptation and is a sign that your muscles are becoming stronger and better able to perform the exercise next time. In other words, next time you perform the exercise, there should be less muscle soreness. Acute muscle soreness, which appears during and immediately after exercise should go away within a very short period of time. If you experience pain while performing an exercise, this is not muscle soreness and you should stop and evaluate whether you are performing the exercise correctly. If the pain continues, you should stop the exercise to prevent injury. Muscle soreness is normal, pain that does not quickly stop is a sign of a potential injury.

What are the remedies for muscle soreness?
1- Add stretching to your pre workout routine and a brief cardio session after weight training.
2- Take proper rest and get a full night of sleep.
3- Take few days off from weight training and just to stick cardio.
4- Increase foods rich in vitamins and minerals.
5- Take additional multi vitamins and amino acids. Sources should be supplements.
6- Try natural remedies like the spa, steam bath, or icing.
7- Take ayurvedic supplements like turmeric, that help in decreasing inflammation.
8- Consult good physiotherapist.
9- Increase your water intake.
10- Add coconut water at least once a day.

My Personal Experience –

I was having the issue of muscle soreness for last six weeks. If I trained one muscle group on Monday it didn’t fully recover until Friday. I felt like the soreness was not lessening. I was obviously upset with this, because it resulted in decreasing my strength and it could result in serious injury in future if I did not take the correct steps to heal. Moreover, I know my nutrition was completely on point, however I was still suffering from soreness. You know why? It was not due to over training and bad nutrition. It was due to the fact that I was regularly training for approximately the past five years around 6 days a week without giving a few days off for rest. My body needed some time to relax and heal itself. Finally, I decided to take a week off from weight training. Guys – read it again. I clearly mentioned a week off from weight training, but not from the gym. I increased my cardio up to 35-40 minutes a day and I also still trained abs on alternate days using just my body weight, no additional weight. I decreased my carbs to 150 grams a day from 350 grams a day because I was off weight training. I increased my fat and protein intake so that I could continue to consume my required calories. I stayed hydrated. I added stretching for 30 minutes every day. Guess what? It worked really well. I finally recovered after 7 days of this alternate regime and now I don’t feel soreness for days, but instead I recover in about 36 hours.

If you are facing the same problem, I recommend you to take one week off weight training and try this. Post your feedback! I hope it will help you in future.

Thank you!

Shredded Singh
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