What to do for body aches?
The question of aches in the sport comes back often, and especially in bodybuilding.
How to relieve aches? Can we avoid aches?
I wanted to write about it because I just took 3 weeks of rest, without sport, following a small injury. IT has been good from time to time to rest your body, and for less than a month the loss of muscle is minimal and is easily recovered.
My problem is the body aches! When one trains regularly the aches pass, or are very weak. But after a break, they come back and it’s painful! At the upper body I have almost nothing, it is especially the thighs that take dear after the session leg! I find this horrible feeling of having the impression that I will fall apart every time I go down a walk.
Here is a small summary of what you need to know about the subject.
Causes of muscle aches
Aches and pains are muscle soreness triggered by intense and / or unusual physical activity . A sports session after a rest period will cause muscle micro-traumas that result in micro-lesions of the tissues. Your body reacts by triggering an inflammatory reaction to repair them: these are the body aches.
They generally occur the day after a session, and generally arrive at their maximum in terms of pain 2 days later.
(Aches can also be one of the symptoms of a viral infection (flu …) It is therefore possible to have aches without effort but they are often accompanied by fatigue, fever, chills, etc. and n have nothing to do with my subject of the day 😀 ).
The case of the squat
For this muscle legs, impossible to ignore the squat. This is the best exercise, but also the one that causes the most muscle soreness after training.
The reason is simple: the squat generates eccentric muscular contractions , that is to say that you control the movement and brake it (= the muscle works by resisting a load rather than lifting it). This is the case of the squat, with the descent phase, which explains that the thighs are often the worst.
As you can imagine, working with heavier or heavier loads than usual aids the onset of body aches.
How to relieve aches
Unfortunately there is no real cure for aches . The rest is the most effective, wait it out. Nevertheless, there are some tips that you can test:
For thigh and calf pain, one of the most effective methods is scrubbing: you perform a low-intensity cardio-type effort, for a short time, after training or the next day. This is what football players do, for example, after match. Swimming, biking and walking are especially recommended.
This activity will produce an oxygenation of the cells that will open the blood capillaries, which allows better repair of muscle tissue.
A hot shower or hot bath may help relieve aches and relax muscles. Underwater, you can take the opportunity to gently massage the cramped areas from the bottom up to promote circulation. If you have the possibility, the sauna is also highly recommended.
However this solution is not unanimous, because in case of muscle damage hot can cause bleeding.
Paradoxically, cold therapy is also used for recovery in professional settings. It can be short sessions during which the athlete is immersed in a bath of ice water (between 2 and 10 ° C) or even cryotherapy, which consists in briefly exposing the body to extreme cold (-100 ° C).
A healthy lifestyle
This is not a trick because it is valid for everything, but it must be well hydrated and especially after training. In general you need to drink water all day long 😉
After exercise, promote an anti-inflammatory diet. It is recommended to eat protein source foods (low fat meats, tofu, legumes …), starchy foods, muscle fuel, but also vegetables and fruits providing antioxidants suitable for recovery. Also favor foods rich in potassium and vitamins such as bananas, citrus fruits, vegetables and dried fruits.
It will however avoid acidifying foods such as various sodas, coffee or alcohol.
We just saw that diet is important to improve recovery, so it may be interesting to use supplementation. The association BCAA + Taurine is often cited. Amino acids before and / or during training are the most effective in helping you avoid body aches. Example of taking supplements:
● Before training: 5g of BCAA + 5g of taurine.
● During training: 5g of BCAA
● After training: A protein source of fast assimilation (whey) + 5g of BCAA + 5g of glutamine + a source of carbohydrates.
Massage – other
The solution most often mentioned to fight aches is massage (especially with gels or creams). There is also talk of homeopathy, aromatherapy, electrotherapy or herbal medicine … but there is no evidence of the effectiveness of these methods. They may be of interest, but medicine does not really have any evidence yet.
Some studies have shown that the massage slightly increases the superficial venous circulation, but without proving a real impact on the lasting decrease of the pain.
Better to avoid aches by focusing on prevention and respect for your rhythm.
How to avoid aches?
Warming up / stretching
A good warm up and stretching of the muscles before and after the effort remain the best way to decrease the intensity of the muscular pains.
Be careful though that the stretches are not too violent, and I advise you to let pass at least ten minutes after your session before stretching. Stretching too much after the effort may increase the micro-lesions and therefore intensify the body aches.
Go ahead gradually
Avoid as much as possible to force during a training after a recovery, and increase the intensity of the exercises as and when. Towards the end, decrease the effort and the muscular activity little by little, in order to respect the integrity of the muscles and to better prevent the appearance of contractures.
In bodybuilding, after a period of rest use weights and loads a little bit lower than your pre-break level. This does not mean that you have regressed, the muscles have a memory and you will quickly return to your level, but it helps to reduce aches and avoid hurting you.
Frequently asked questions about body aches
No body aches = ineffective sitting?
While many associate aches with the effectiveness of their training, do not rely on this: a weight training session that does not cause you to bend does not mean it was a waste of time or was ineffective. The more you progress, the less you will be cramped … They are not a factor of muscle growth.
Can we play sports with body aches?
If you feel pain, it is better to follow the recovery process than to re-apply the muscles that are still recovering from the previous session. Nevertheless, nothing prevents you from working other muscles, or choosing a different activity that will not solicit the most painful muscles.