So you just started – or restarted – an exercise program, and your muscles are stiff and sore. While there’s not much you can do about that now, you can prevent it from happening in the future.
Here’s the plan you should follow.
The next time you do a workout, do only one set per exercise (rather than the three sets most workouts call for) – and don’t worry, you’ll still get most of the fat-burning, muscle-building, strength-boosting benefits of a regular full workout. The week after that, add another set and do two sets per exercise. Finally, in the third week, you’ll be ready to do a full three sets of each exercise.
I also recommend increasing your vitamin C intake to 2-3 grams per day. Research shows that vitamin C reduces exercise-induced muscle damage. I personally have been experiencing less soreness after my workouts since supplementing with vitamin C (which I started doing to avoid colds).
And if you are really hurting right now? One of the best things you can do is simply keep moving and do some low-intensity exercise. Research suggests that light exercise can contribute to enhanced healing … and might even reduce your soreness.[Ed. Note: Building muscle and burning fat doesn’t have to take hours of work. Fitness expert Craig Ballantyne has put together a Turbulence Training program that can help you get fit with three 45-minute workouts a week.]