Do Your Muscles Have a Fever?

A new year is always welcomed in with new goals and aspirations to make this year better than the last. One of the most common ways we embrace this new frontier is by establishing some physical goals for our personal health. This means either hitting a gym again for the first time, starting a new running program or perhaps some home exercise regiment to get you back into shape.

Regardless of your endeavor, it’s so important to be realistic in your expectations to achieve these new goals. Whether you are raising the bar on your current program or doing a single lunge or crunch for the first time since President Regan’s National Physical Fitness awards, you are likely to encounter some post workout soreness; a.k.a. delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. The simple fact is that there is no avoiding this reality, unless you of course abstain from working out.

It’s important to understand that when working out harder than you have in the past or just starting out, you will encounter some serious discomfort in those muscles that you just engaged. If this is the first time in a while, your discomfort may even resemble what you consider an injury.

The first thing to understand is that you won’t feel this directly after the workout. You won’t even feel too bad the day after your workout. However, 48 hours later, you will wonder what the heck you were thinking and what kind of damage you may have done. Not to worry, you are not injured, but rather consider the idea that your muscles are running a fever. Getting through the first 24-72 hours is a testament to your will. I would strongly encourage repeating the workout within 72 hours. This will have the most significant impact in the removal of your “muscle fever”.

Alas, you may think that as a massage business owner, I’m going to tell you that you should come in an see us so we can “flush out the toxins” in your body. Nope. I will not perpetuate one of the biggest myths in the massage world. As a colleague of mine writes in one of the most popular articles on the Internet about DOMS, “DOMS is indomitable”.

I encourage you to stick it out over the next 30 days and carefully work through the soreness that is inevitable. The number one reason why so may people stop working out is because they don’t work through this initial phase. If you are smart and slowly increase the demands you place upon your body, by February, you will be wondering why the heck you ever stopped working out in the past.

Are You Up for the DOMS Challenge?

I want to see you succeed in your wellness goals this year. If you are starting a new program for the first time in over a year, than you qualify.

I will give away five “recovery packs” to five recipients who participate in this challenge. Here is what you have to do.

1. Tell me what your fitness goal is for the first quarter of 2017 (i.e. I will run 2 miles under 24 minutes or I will do 30 push-ups in 1 minute, etc.). In other words be specific. Submit this to me by January 9, 2017.

Email me your fitness goal at: [email protected].

2. Create a daily log of your workout (at least 3X/week):

a. Determine your motivation. Write down the specific goal you are shooting for, who you are doing this for (you? A loved one? Etc.) This helps avoid the procrastination and excuse bus headed straight for you.
b. Describe the exercises, time of day and how you did. Keep in mind that doing 20 push-ups may be 20 more of anything you did yesterday; that’s progress.
c. Describe how you felt the morning after each workout. Feel free to complain and poke fun at yourself. It helps if we can laugh at ourselves.
d. After each workout, state something positive about yourself.
e. After each workout, state something you are grateful for.
(Trust the science on the last two)

Submit your data by emailing me again with your detailed results by February 11, 2017. I will give the top five participants a Boston Bodyworker recovery pack complete with Biofreeze, Prossage, Therapearl sports ice pack, a foam roller and a massage stick. The total value of this pack is $80, but rest assure, the pack will pale in comparison to how you feel about the achievement.

Good luck and Happy New Year!