Fitness with Achal
Why do we get sore muscles?The burning of the muscles the day after a workout is a sign that we did a number on our muscles. OK, not really, but it’s actually a sign that we used our muscles to the fullest and pushed them to change. As we exercise, muscles extend and contract. The contraction causes the disruption of the filaments that hold the muscle fibres together as they slide over each other. So to explain it in one line, sore muscles are a result of an activity that stresses the muscle tissue beyond what it is accustomed to.
Necessary evilMuscle pain is perfectly normal and should not be a reason to discontinue the activity. The tearing of muscle cells results in repair and regeneration of new, stronger muscle cells to prepare for the activity again. In short, our muscles try to adapt to the new activity. Muscle soreness can be a sign of a successful workout. After the recovery of the muscles (generally two to three days), they perform more efficiently and are more resistant to tearing and causing damage. So don’t miss a workout just because you are sore.
How to make it go awayI love muscle soreness, but at the same time, I like to adopt an effective recovery process so I am at my best before my next workout. Drinking lots of water is a great aid in alleviating muscle soreness. Repairing damaged muscle and initiating rebuilding of muscle cells requires protein in your diet. During the recovery process, if you eat right and drink lots of water, you will gain quality muscle cells which will result in toned muscles and great looking skin. You’ll be well on your way to a new, sexier you!
How much soreness is good?When I started going to the gym the biggest question I had was when I should stop a particular exercise. Sometimes I feel the burn at rep 10, and sometimes I feel the burn at rep 20, so which rep is right for me? The secret is you need to workout till you feel the burn in the particular muscle you are training. Use the proper weight so that by the time you reach the twelfth or fifteenth rep, you feel the burn and you can’t push anymore. Take a 15- to 20-second rest between sets and try to combine different muscle groups for an intense calorie-burning workout. The burn you feel in your muscles is a battle between your blood and lactic acid (which burns muscle cells). May the stronger of the two win!
If muscle pain lasts for more than three days, it may be a sign of overuse, so relax and take it easy. Soreness is a natural outcome of any kind of a physical activity and it is prevalent in the beginning stages of a workout program. Even bodybuilders experience muscle soreness; don’t get discouraged and keep on sweating it out! Next time, your muscles are sore, pat yourself on the back for working out right!
Achal Dua is a certified personal trainer and CEO of Bollywood Abs Inc. in the Washington, DC, metro area. He specializes in rapid weight loss, endurance and athletic training. An avid blogger, Achal has been featured in Vogue magazine and has regularly appeared on Zee TV, Jus Punjabi and Humdesi Radio. www.bollywoodabs.com
BY ACHAL DUA / PUBLISHED IN THE BEAUTY ISSUE, SPRING 2012