Reasons for Your Muscles Not Recovering After Exercise
During a hard workout, tiny micro tears occur in your muscles. While this may sound detrimental, it's a key process in increasing performance. After your session, your body begins the recovery process by repairing the damaged cells, making them grow bigger and stronger. According to the American Council on Exercise, the breakdown of muscle tissue can cause delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is the sore feeling you get post training. This should only last a day or two, but if it lasts any longer, then your recovery process is sub par and your performance may suffer.
The foods you eat play a huge part in muscular recovery. According to the Australian Sports Commission, during a training session, your body calls on its stored carbohydrate for energy. This carbohydrate then needs to be replaced with carbohydrate from foods. You also need protein for the recovery process, as protein is the building block of muscle tissue. Without sufficient protein and carb intake, you won't recover fully and will experience prolonged soreness and a decreased performance next workout.
Over training happens when you train at a very high intensity too frequently. Your muscles don't get enough time to recover between sessions, so never rebuild fully. True over training can be debilitating and present flu-like symptoms, along with a complete lack of energy. Sports nutritionist Dr. John Berardi notes that while frequent training is needed to yield strength gains, training too often can be disastrous. If you find you're constantly feeling sore, then take a week off training completely to allow your body to recover.
During training, your body goes through many stressful procedures and waste products build up, says UK Athletics coach Brian Mackenzie. Stretching helps to return blood flow to muscles, tendons and joints and reduces swelling and inflammation. It also aids in distributing oxygen around the body, and getting rid of waste products, such as lactic acid from the muscles. If you're not spending a good five to 10 minutes stretching post-workout, your recovery will be impaired.
A useful tool in increasing muscular recovery is sports massage; as with stretching, it pushes blood through the muscles, and rids them of waste products. Ice baths and cold showers also work well, as they reduce inflammation. If you're not doing these in between sessions, you're not giving your muscles the best chance of recovering by your next workout.
- Ace Fitness: If my Muscles are Sore From Previous Workouts, is it Safe to Exercise Them?; Julia Valentour
- Australian Sports Commission: Recovery Nutrition
- Weight Lifting and Post Exercise Muscle Recovery; John Berardi
- Brian Mac: Injury Prevention: Cool Down - Recover Faster and Avoid Injury; Brian Mackenzie
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.