Soreness and Recovery

Mar 23, 2023

Ever feel sore a day or two after working out?  Maybe even tweaky, especially in the morning?  

Yep, we have to plan for that now and then.  Especially if you are trying new things and pushing hard, your body is going to talk back.  We are stretching our limits, getting stronger.  Recovery is about listening to our body’s “back talk.” 

Before you get all worked up and indignant about feeling sore, remember if you simply sit around on the couch all day, you will feel sore too.  But that soreness isn’t doing you any favors! 

If you are so sore after a workout that it’s hard to get out of bed, or walk around, or the soreness is really getting in the way of your daily activities, that’s too much! 

That’s not “back talk”, that’s “yelling!”  You gotta take it easier!  

It’s likely, in these cases, that there is something to learn.  If your neck is really sore, for example, you are probably clenching your neck and shoulders during movements.  You will need to learn to relax them as your back muscles activate.  Not easy.  Ask how I know! 

You can get so good at listening to your body that you don’t feel sore very much.  Then again, when you try something new, you are likely to get a bit sore again.  It’s okay.  Recovery is the art of listening to, and getting to know, our body’s language, and what works well for us.

The concept at play here is finding the sweet spot of resistance adaptation*.  We want to give ourselves enough stimulation to grow and improve, but not overdo it.  Excess fatigue leads to the breakdown lane!  

Back in my massage days, after a vigorous session, I would give my client a bottle of water to drink on the spot.  I knew the massage had stirred up lactic acid and other irritants.  Got to flush ‘em out! 

A post workout stretching and easy cardio cooldown can help soothe your worked tissues.  Sometimes stimulated muscle fibers “glue together” in spasms which can feel very sore.  

Massaging these areas with a foam roller or myofasical release ball will help break up these adhesions and speed recovery.

I think of myofascial rolling like brushing tangled hair, and combing the burrs out.  Once the spasms are calmed down, then you will be able to stretch with greater pleasure.

“Myo” refers to muscle, and “fascia” is the tough membrane which surrounds the muscle. Rolling helps the tissues relax by stimulating blood flow and flushing out the tissues.

Once you get the hang of it, you will love it!


My favorite strategies to speed up recovery.  Let me know what works for you!

  • Drinking water

  • Eating colorful plant foods, and plant protein

  • Rest

  • Sleep

  • Walking outdoors and taking long, succulent deep breaths

  • Foam rolling spasming muscles and stubborn tweaks

  • Stretching

  • Hot Shower (with cold at end)

  • Arnica Cream on sore areas (anti-inflammatory miracle) especially nice when massaged in by a friend.

  • Essential oil blends massaged into sore tissues (enhance circulation and speed healing)

  • Hikes in Nature!

Bottom line, be kind to yourself, give yourself a big High Five for showing up, keep going, and don't give up!  Ever!  We got this!


*Resistance Adaptation. Called the SAID principle–Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands.  Our bodies will adapt to the specific types of demands we put on them.  This is how exercise makes us stronger!  Yeah!*