If you are new to strength training or have taken it up a notch with the Wilma app, your muscles are probably feeling the adjustment. That's exactly what you want! In order to become stronger, we first have to break down our muscles. But when you're so sore you can't go down the stairs... now that's a different problem.
Let's start with this. As we work out, we are creating stress for our muscles, right? In a sense, we're getting weaker while we train.Yes, weaker. Hear me out. Your muscles are getting broken down. And by the end of a tough workout, you are usually producing less optimal results compared to when you started. That's why if you're hoping to set a new PR at the squat rack, you'd START with that rather than end with it in your workout.
So if we're in a sense getting "weaker" while training, when are we gaining strength?
What makes us stronger, is actually our recovery. The time we take to actually let our muscles rebuild and our body rest after we cause them that stress.
Now does that make sense?
Knowing that, you realize how important recovery is. It's not just important, it's crucial. It's why the world's most elite athletes have programmed rest days and active recovery days into their regular routine. They also have sleep trainers, because sleep is our most helpful way to recover(more on sleep next week!).
Let me walk you through muscle soreness, and there's a term I want to introduce to you to called DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness. DOMSis muscle pain or discomfort that's often felt 24-72 hours after intense exercise.
If you wake up and your legs are sore- that's okay! You're growing muscle. Soreness is okay. And if you can even grab that muscle and kind of move it a little and it feels good - that's usually the perfect amount of stimulus the day before. However, if you wake up and you touch your legs and they're sore to the touch, and you're having trouble walking down the stairs, I wouldn't recommend jumping into another full workout. At that point it becomes a very individual decision.
The two options would be to take a complete rest day, or to take an active recovery day. A rest day, meaning you're letting your body completely rest from any exercise (this is what I personally do each Sunday). An active recovery day is where you're still going to get in some light movement- for example, hopping on the treadmill or bike and doing a light 20-30 minute session. My other "rest day" I typically like taking is on Thursday after I've had three days in a row of workouts- and that's an active recovery day for me. I love taking my kiddos on a walk, or hopping on my bike, or getting a walk in on the treadmill. Active recovery days and rest days won't set you back. They will speed up your recovery.
I hope that answers some of the questions you may have. You are absolutely welcome to workout through soreness- but it's up to you to determine the level of soreness you're experiencing. And if you can't walk down the stairs, I'd recommend taking a complete rest day rather than working through it.
I personally love three days on (Monday, Tuesday,Wednesday), an active recovery day on Thursday, then 2 days on again with a complete rest day on Sunday. But it might be different for you and it takes a little experimentation on your end.
Good luck this week, mamas!