Sore today, stronger tomorrow...
For anyone new to Hiitgirl, there's an awful lot of new things to take in but the biggest memory of all for those starting out is the feeling after a workout. This affects hard-core fitness nuts and absolute beginners alike - you will get sore, really sore, walking down the stairs on your bum sore. This is completely normal and is actually to be welcomed - here's why.
Sore muscles or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is what happens when you force your muscles to move out of their comfort zone. This soreness is evidence of microscopic damage which the body then repairs ready for next time around. Keep doing this and amazingly your body cottons on that this is going to happen regularly so improves things quite a bit each time. This is you getting fitter.
What causes DOMS?
Scientists worked out that only certain types of muscle action bring soreness. These are the so called 'eccentric' muscle contractions familiar when lowering a weight or yourself into a squat, for example. Lowering your weight, a baby or a lovely crate of wine is a fundamental movement in life so don't avoid these kind of moves just because you get sore.
One thing we now know that doesn't cause DOMS is a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. This was the pet theory for a while but has been pretty much discounted now.
DOMS after a workout also doesn't mean you have an injury of some sort. In fact doing more of the same over time will result in protective adaptations as a result of the 'repeated-bout' effect. If you keep doing the same thing you can look forward to your post workout soreness rapidly disappearing.
Can it be prevented?
First of all, stretching and warmup exercises don't prevent soreness. You could avoid lowering movements altogether by using things like hydraulic exercise machines, but then you're not working 50% of your muscle capacity.
In other words, new Hiitgirls get sore and this can't be avoided - but it will go away as you get used to our kickass intensity.
What can be done to treat it?
You've probably seen athletes and sports people jumping into wheely bins full of ice after training as this seems to be the fashionable prevention method at the moment. However, the jury is still out on this one as some of the studies into this provide contradictory results. Plus it isn't the most practical or convenient method for all the obvious reasons!
Current thinking seems to point to doing a little bit of what made you sore in the first place. This probably seems a bit contrary but we don't recommend you rest up and have a 'duvet day', you need to move around.
A handy thing to have is a foam roller. It's a great way to help you keep moving and banish DOMS after a hard workout, plus it's cheaper than a sports massage!