Workouts can be a pain in the butt, literally. This is especially true when you start a new program or get back into exercise after a lull. While some nutritional supplements might be helpful in other aspects of recovery, they don’t reduce muscle soreness. Nor does stretching before and after the workout. But I know of three research-proven ways to do it.

One strategy for getting rid of sore muscles is to engage in some light activity in the days following the workout. You’ll feel sore when you start, but moving around increases blood flow. The increased blood flow should help reduce the soreness and stiffness at an accelerated rate.

You could also soak the exercised muscles in cold water immediately after the workout. Researchers from New Zealand found that by doing this, muscle soreness is reduced the next day.

And that brings me to the easiest and most convenient way to reduce soreness: prevention.

Excessive muscle soreness is the result of doing too much. But if you’re sore today because you did too much yesterday, you can still exercise. Just be conservative and reduce both the volume and intensity of your workout. And when you start up a new program in the future, cut back on the amount of exercise you intend to do by 50 percent. For example, if your regimen calls for two sets of push-ups, just do one set. Then, in your next workout, you’ll be ready for the full monty.

[Ed. Note: Fitness expert Craig Ballantyne is the creator of the Turbulence Training for Fat Loss system. For a free online source of information, motivation, and social support to help you improve your health, lose weight, and get fit, sign up for ETR’s free natural health e-letter.]

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men’s Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he’ll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com