Let’s have a little chat about being sore. If we’re being technical here, specifically I’m talking about delayed onset muscle soreness. In other words, the pain and/or tightness you feel in your muscles anywhere from 24-48 hours after completing a workout.
We’ve all been there. For my fellow squash players, it’s that agonizing, infamous “squash butt” that makes even the most ordinary tasks (ie. sitting on the toilet) excruciatingly painful.
(Sorry, I just had to post that picture. Please don’t judge me for my tween-level humour)
For all those runners out there, if you pushed harder or longer than usual, you could be feeling discomfort in your abs, calves, quads or hamstrings. (That makes running sounds really appealing, eh?). And of course, let’s not leave out our beloved upper body. Maybe you haven’t done any sort of arm exercises in a while, or perhaps you just got worked and pushed outside of your comfort zone.
In any case, this painful feeling means that your muscles have suffered from micro-tears. But no fear, this is a good thing! Provided you allow your muscles to rest adequately, they will repair themselves and become stronger for next time.
For this reason, I now find muscle soreness satisfying and rewarding. If I’m feeling fit, it’s body’s way of telling me “good job, you worked harder than usual!“, or if I’m getting back into training, “okay, you’ve got some work to do“. In any case, I’ve definitely experienced my fair share of muscle soreness, so much so that I have ranked them in order from most to least satisfying. (Yes, along with what I want to make for breakfast the next morning, this is what I think about when I can’t sleep at night 😉 )
Muscle Soreness Satisfaction Ranking
1. Abs. Hands down, no questions asked, end of story- you get the picture. Come on, I know it’s not just me that gets excited that my hidden 6-pack must be in there somewhere!
2. Quads. I find soreness in the quads tolerable, because I’ve learned that if I warm up enough, most of the initial pain will subside.
3. Hamstrings. Same goes for hamstrings as the quads in terms of the “warm up” principle. However, since my hamstrings don’t get worked as much as my quads (hamstrings don’t get worked as much in squash as they do in running-heavy sports), they’re not as used to soreness, so this is a bit of a shock to my system.
4. Gluteus Maximus (aka my butt). When my butt gets sore, it means that I haven’t been playing as much or enough squash, and that I need to ramp it up. This is annoying because it makes lunging on the court significantly harder, and my form crumbles a bit. Furthermore, what I said earlier about ordinary movements becoming almost insurmountable tasks is no joke. When my butt hurts, any form of sitting or climbing makes me feel like I’m hobbling around like Mad-eye Moody from Harry Potter.
5. Arms (triceps, biceps, shoulders). If my arms are sore, I automatically become convinced that I can’t do any sort of arm exercise until all pain subsides. I am naturally a “noodle-arms” person (in high school I couldn’t flex my biceps- true story), and somewhat recently developed shoulder muscles, thanks to my swimming, hence why arm soreness seems to debilitate me.
6. Back. If my back is sore, it’s usually because I did a lot of ghosting on court (squash movement without the ball- soooo much fun), and used poor form. Instead of lunging to get low, when tired and under pressure I will sometimes compensate by bending over at the waist, and therefore putting pressure on my back. Now when my back is sore, even if it’s because of a legit back-specific exercise, it reminds me of poor squash form, which doesn’t make me feel too good about myself.
Finally, last but not least: Calves. I don’t actually know where to rank calves, because I have a love-hate relationship with them. They often get quite sore and tight from running, which reassures me that they are getting stronger. However, at the same time this causes me to suffer from calf cramps during the middle of the night, especially if I haven’t stretched or hydrated enough.
Well there you have it. Everything you ever needed or wanted to know about how Nicole feels about muscle soreness. The next post on this topic will most likely cover how to prevent or help muscle soreness, which, to be honest, will be a little more useful (but maybe not as entertaining) as this one.
If you made it to the end of that, well done! And to finish off here’s a couple pictures of my lunch from today.
In addition to a Wawa French Vanilla flavoured coffee, I continued the sweet trend with some vanilla protein pudding.
I combined a cup of plain 2% Greek yogurt with a scoop of Vega vanilla protein powder, a few shakes of cinnamon, and thinned it out with coconut milk. I then added a scoop of peanut butter on top, because I really don’t get enough of that in my diet 😉
A little while later I was ready for round two, so I made myself an omelette (1 egg + egg whites) with fresh basil and a little pesto. I combined my eggs with some smoked salmon and mozzarella cheese.