Day in and day out, we put our bodies through grueling physical tasks, using the some of the most challenging workouts ever created. Soreness, stiffness, tightness, discomfort and any other adjective you can think of after a hard workout is likely to occur. I can say from experience that the longer you do these workouts, the less intense the soreness becomes. Of course, when a new movement is added in, all bets are off.
The point is, CrossFit makes you sore. There are a number of different ways to combat this soreness, both from a preventative and treatment standpoint (which I will cover later). The purpose of this blog post is to both inform and warn of the negative effects of using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAID’s especially to relieve exercise-induced muscle soreness. NSAID’s include aspirin and ibuprofen’s such as advil.
Muscles need time and nutrition to recover, not advil.
The result of intense training on muscles is known as microtrauma. This trauma includes small tears in the muscle, which may sound alarming, but rest assured the muscle builds a larger and more durable fiber as a result of the tear. These tears require healing, which brings about a number of different enzymes and hormones that cause inflammation. This rebuilding and inflammation, along with the micro-tears themselves, is what causes soreness. Here is the take-home message: this process is vital to the health and regeneration of the new muscle tissue.
When NSAID’s are taken, they block the key enzymes which govern this recovery process. And, according to research they also hinder muscle protein synthesis, meaning the muscle cannot use the protein available to build more muscle. Taking NSAID’s before working out might be even worse. One study showed that taking NSAID’s prior to intense training leads to more oxidative stress. This means the body is under even more duress when trying to recover after a tough workout. In addition, NSAID’s are known to cause stomach bleeding, and if taken too frequently can lead to stomach ulcers.
Many people think taking an advil before or after a workout is helpful, but think again; you are hindering your progress. Here are some natural ways to combat soreness and speed up the recovery process.
1. Drink Water- you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces everyday. So, if you weigh 200lbs, that’s at least 100oz per day.
2. Get Some Sleep- the body repairs damage from daily activities best when it is at rest. I once heard former NFL player and CrossFitter John Welbourne say, “Get as much sleep as you can without getting fired or divorced.”
3. Do Some Light Stretching and Movement- the worst thing for sore muscles is to do nothing. Long flights or car rides after hard workouts are the worst for soreness. Walk, jog, and stretch to get the blood flowing in the sore area, which will expedite the healing process
4. Eat Whole Foods- organic fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that will help heal the body faster. These “clean” foods give the muscles the proper nutrients to repair properly.
5. Take Fish Oil- this supplement is a natural anti-inflammatory, and it helps combat general bodily inflammation caused by poor diet or exposure to toxic substances. Turmeric is also a good spice/supplement to take as a more natural anti-inflammatory.
6. Take Glucosamine and Chondroiton- taken in combination, these joint-aiding substances help pull water into the joint, helping to lubricate and protect it.
CrossFit Redondo | 1206 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach, CA 90277