Friday, January 16, 2009

Feeling it the next day....

So you had a good exercise day; in fact you pushed until you felt the burn through out the legs and arms; and not for just a short period; but for an extended duration.

A valuable piece of advice I was given one day regarding training; "You will never know what it feels to run 6 minute miles if all you do is train for 7 minutes"; essentially what was being said is if you train the same day after day you will never become physically stronger or have greater endurance.

Its important in any sport to work out hard a few days of the week for an extended duration to teach the muscles how to improve using fatigue as the tool. The next day you wake up; and you feel sore in the muscles that were exercised; and you know what caused it; its the prevention part that people start to look into.

Next-day muscle soreness was thought to be caused by lactic acid build up; but recent studies have shown this is not the case. Lactic acid built up in the muscles during periods of max endurance; will reduce immediately once you cool down; and there is no residual left after a period of time. So cooling down doesn't prevent muscle soreness; neither does stretching after exercising since muscle contraction isn't the culprit either.

The soreness is caused by damage to the muscle fibers themselves. Studies completed; revealed that the muscle fibers on the day after a hard workout showed signs of bleeding along with disruption of the fibers themselves when contracted. The degree of muscle damage can be determined by measuring an enzyme in the bloodstream called CPK. A creatine found in muscles; CPK is released into the bloodstream when muscles are damaged. Researchers measuring CPK levels in the bloodstream; have deteremined that
poeple who continued to exercise when feeling soreness in the muscle are the ones to feel on the next day as well.

There is no real prevention; but rather this soreness should be used as a guide to your training. I do days where I push until I start to feel the burn; back off; then continue the pace again and exercise to this burn. I continue until my muscles start to feel stiff and fatigued and then the workout stops. The next day depending on how sore I am I either take a recovery day, slow the pace, or do a cross training activity. Experience and recommendations from others have told me not to train those muscles again until the soreness has gone away; you risk an injury to that muscle group.

This may be why I believe in cross training so much; push hard a few days a week in my primary sport; do active stretching on the muscles the day's between; and look to other activies to teach my body new tricks.

1 comment:

Follow Me Foodie said...

Hi Ryan! Thanks for the tips! I eat more than I work out, but definitely can relate to this day after pain you speak of!

Useful blog you have and people in Vancouver will totally dig it. Suits the lifestyle.