Every Thursday, Svveat Stories tackles your most pressing fitness questions—this week, yoga teacher Christine Noonan explains how to avoid that dreaded post-workout soreness.

I love trying new workouts, but every time I do I end up with extreme muscle soreness that lingers for days. It’s great to know my workout was effective, but how can I keep the achy muscles at bay so they don’t throw off my entire week?
— Sore Loser

Christine Noonan
Photo by Nathan White

Hey there, Sore Loser.

With so many powerful workouts available to us Torontonians, you’ve likely done one that pushed your physical limits—the kind of workout where the day after, or even two or three days after, the smallest of actions, like getting dressed, seem like a monumental task.

I talked to a few Toronto fitness experts to find out what you can do before a workout to reduce the likelihood, or the duration, of lingering soreness. Here goes:

1.      Hydrate.

Most of us underestimate how much water we need on a daily basis. If you’re working out and sweating, you need even more water to replenish the fluids you’re losing through sweat. Stick to the general guideline of drinking at least half your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking around 75 ounces of water a day—roughly 1.5 litres.

Hydrate
Photo by Christine Noonan

2.     Show up well rested.

While we can’t always control the quality of our sleep, try to get the amount of sleep your body needs for its optimal performance (again, this varies for each of us). The muscles and systems of the body repair and regenerate while we sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep and feeling rested for the day ahead will not only make your mind sharper, but will ensure you’re ready to tackle your workout.

3.     Eat foods that fuel you.

Avid runner Lisa Davidson recently compared the human body to a Porsche. You wouldn’t drive a car like this and expect it to perform at its peak speed and handling without filling it with gas. If we think of our body as a machine, it needs fuel to operate. While there are so many schools of thought regarding nutrition, most fitness experts agree that both protein and a healthy fat are a pre-workout must.

4.     Warm up by moving the body.

If your regular routine doesn’t start with a warm-up, Justin D’Olimpio of Just Train Fitness says it should. He recommends spending five to 10 minutes doing dynamic stretching and cardio exercises. In addition to warming up the body, this will lubricate your joints and get your blood flowing.

5.      Be mindful.

This one can sometimes be tricky. Most of us have experienced the effects of endorphins while we are working out—that burst of energy that makes us feel as if we can do anything. It is also important to listen to your body and know where you are on your fitness journey. If you’ve just returned from a two-week vacation, for example, you will need to adjust your movements/weights/reps. Listening to your body and finding the right balance between pushing yourself and knowing when it’s too much is important. When my form gets sloppy, I take a look and see if I can improve my form, or if it’s my body telling me to adjust weights or reps.

Follow Christine on Instagram @ChristineNoonanYoga to find out where she’s teaching next.

Have a fitness question you’d like us to answer? Email us at stories@svveat.com or ask us in the comments below.

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