Aches and Pains – What do they mean?

10394567_822127597835919_2048834069246516979_nIf you managed to come to our Charity Boot Camp this last weekend, you might notice that you’re a little more sore than usual. Getting out of bed might seem like more of a chore, the stairs seem a little steeper than usual, or it might seem a little more difficult to raise your arm to brush your teeth. When you’re sore, you suddenly realize how many muscles you use in your daily life.

So why do we get sore? It’s happened our whole lives, but it might seem like the older we get, the less it takes for our muscles to ache after a workout. Especially after we do a completely new set of exercises at the gym. Our arms ache, our legs ache, our shoulders ache… What is our body trying to tell us?

Even though it might not seem like it, sore muscles are telling us that we are making progress in our personal fitness. Take a look at some of the science behind your Aches and Pains:

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Those aches and pains you feel after a workout is referred to by physiologists as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, and is completely normal for anyone who does strenuous activity. From those just starting their workout regimen to body builders who spend hours lifting weights, everybody feels sore at some point after a workout.

When you’re exercising, your putting your muscles through strenuous activity they haven’t had to endure before. Your muscles are going through some minor stress, which causes some microscopic tears to occur. Exercise physiologists believe these tears, paired with the minor inflammation that accompanies it, cause the minor aches you feel.

But despite how you feel when you wake up and struggle to get out of bed the next morning, these pains are actually a good thing! As your muscles endure your exercise regimen, they adjust to better accommodate your strenuous fitness activity. The next time you do deadlifts, squats, lunges, or bicep curls, you may notice you ache a little bit less… at least until you increase the resistance you’re using.

How do I ease these aches?

One thing I always recommend to my clients is stretch, stretch, stretch! Stretching your muscles better prepares them for strenuous activity, lessening the sudden shock of jumping off the couch and into your gym shoes. It also allows your muscles to limber up, providing less of a chance for injury.

Once you’re done working out, be sure to spend some extra time doing some easier, aerobic activity. This allows your muscles to cool down, again lessening the sudden shock of strenuous movement to less strenuous activity.

Another way to ease your sore muscles is to pace yourself while you work out. Spend one day doing a solid workout, pushing yourself to the limit. Maybe take part in on of our charity Boot Camps! But after pushing your limits, spend the next day or two working on something less strenuous, such as cardio. Your muscles need time to recover from the activity you just put them through.

Believe it or not, one of the best ways of easing muscle aches is to keep on exercising. In order to get the proper nutrients into your muscles, such as Vitamin C or those antioxidants in those blueberries you had for breakfast, your muscles have to move. Exercising allows your muscles to get the nutrients they need to prepare for the next bout of strenuous activity you throw at them.

So instead of waiting out sore muscles on the couch, give your muscles the attention they need! And remember that despite how they might feel at the time, the good kind of aches you feel after a good workout is the feeling of progress.

How We Get Ready for a 5K

iStock_000009329788XSmallIf you missed my blog last Tuesday, I wrote a bit about why I like getting people ready for a 5k. It’s a great way to set goals, test our fitness, and succeed our prior selves. Best of all, there’s no greater feeling than crossing that finish line, knowing that you were able to accomplish what you thought was impossible mere months ago.

So now you’re amped! You want to start training for a 5k, but if you have never done it before, training might be a little difficult to find a good place to start. Running long distances might be something you did a long time ago, or it might be something you have never attempted in your life.

The best thing about Boomer Fitness is we take your entire history of training into account when we put together a plan for you. It’s all about realizing where you are now, planning a course of action and setting goals, and then achieving those goals through measurable time frames.

Maybe you want to train for a 5k, but what if your running experience consists of a treadmill? We can work around that and start with the very basics of running. Maybe you used to be a cross country running in high school, but it’s more of a recreational activity for you now. Instead of focusing on the basics, we can instead work on getting your endurance up.

So what are we going to do first? Take a look at a few of the basics that we might cover when you come in to Boomer Fitness:

Training Beyond your Legs– Running is a full body exercise, and we need to make sure your body is prepped for endurance running. A lot of people make the mistake of only exercising their legs when they get ready for a run. While you’re legs are certainly going to be doing the bulk of the work, It’s vital to make sure your entire body is ready to go. After all, you’re entire self is going for the run, not just your pair of legs.

Think about it this way: If you want to tune up a car, you don’t just add new tires and expect the car to drive faster. You would have to tune up the engine, the transmission, change the oil, maybe add some high-octane fuel… It’s the same idea for working on your body.

Instead of just focusing on the muscles in your legs, Boomer Fitness Trainers will be focusing on your entire self. We will spend a lot of time on your legs, sure, but we will also work on your core, back, and even your arms.

Goal Planning – So you want to run a 5k at the end of August? Great! Lets get started now.

The sooner you start getting ready for an event, the sooner you can start making improvement. Many participants in 5ks leave training until the last minute, thinking they can cram enough training into a month, or even just a few weeks prior to the event. We have to remember that marked improvement takes a lot of time and dedication, and it isn’t something you can just cram in at the end.

If you start now? You will be in a much better place come summertime than if you start mid July.

Escaping the Treadmill – If you know me, you know how much I dislike constant use of bicycle machines or treadmills. Running on a treadmill is great training for a treadmill edition of a 5K, but these events aren’t done on a treadmill. They’re done outdoors!

The outdoors have hills, slopes, different types of pavement, and other variables you just can’t train for on a treadmill. Our training for a 5k is going to be much more intense than just ramping up the difficulty on a machine and calling it good. We will look at getting your heart rate up, resistance training your legs, endurance building, and switching up your diet as we get closer to the race.

Getting in the Right Mindset – I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: Fitness is only half physical. The other half of fitness is purely a mental state, and it’s vitally important that we get in the right frame of mind when we start.

Boomer Fitness puts a huge amount of emphasis on the mental side of fitness. True, we spend a lot of time on the machines, free weights, and mats, but we also spend a lot of time talking to you. After all, it’s your fitness we are working on, so we want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your program.

The hardest part about getting ready for a 5K is telling yourself that you can finish the event. It’s about starting the run and knowing that it’s not a question of if you manage to get to the finish line, but a matter of when and how you feel when you do it.

I know you can do this event. I know because I’ve seen many clients make the transformation from “I can’t” to “I will.” One of my favorite moments of being a Personal Trainer is seeing you make that transformation, and I want to help you get there. Send me an email when you’re ready to make the transformation!