15 Day Challenge

Sore Muscles? Make them Feel Better Now!

Whatever your choice of fitness activity may be, I’m sure you’ve experienced your fair share of some pretty sore muscles and fatigue!

Being sore may seem like a bad thing, but it can actually be a good indicator that  you worked super hard and are helping breakdown your muscles to build them back leaner!

(P.S. you don’t ALWAYS have to feel sore though!) But if you’re feeling sore for days on end, it can actually get in the way of you building some toned, lean muscles.

It can make it so much easier to skip the gym for the day, or days. It can make it so you don’t push yourself as hard during your next training session. You see where I’m going with this? Basically, soreness can be a major roadblock in your training if you let it.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do right now to help battle sore muscles and fatigue, and stay on track to hit your goals!

But first, let’s talk about what causes sore muscles.

What Causes Muscle Soreness?

A woman loading up a barbell with plates

You’re probably pretty familiar with that sore feeling that comes a day or two after a tough workout. Sometimes it’s barely noticeable, but other times it can be a pretty painful experience.

This prolonged soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and it’s caused by tiny micro-tears in your muscle tissue. That may sound traumatic, but don’t worry, it’s not!

When you workout, microscopic tears occur in your muscle fibers. With rest and proper nutrition, the muscle tissue you broke down during your workout grows back a little bit stronger than it was before.

This is the process by which our muscles grow stronger and more solid, and it’s 100% normal to feel sore after you work out.

While it’s important to give your muscles adequate time to recover, being sore shouldn’t necessarily keep you from working out.

Is it Okay to Workout When I’m Sore?

The simple answer to this question is yes.

When you workout, there’s a good chance that you will be sore afterward. This is particularly true when you’re just starting out.

Whether you’re just beginning to exercise for the first time, trying out a brand new workout program, or increasing the intensity beyond what you’re accustomed to, chances are you’ll be pretty sore for the first few days (maybe even a little longer).

In most cases, it’s perfectly alright to workout even while you’re sore. In fact, working out might help reduce your soreness!

As you continue along your fitness journey, your body will become more accustomed to regular exercise and you’ll find that you’re less sore after each workout.

There may be rare cases where it’s not okay to push through the pain though, and you should become familiar with recognizing the difference between good pain and bad pain.

Good Pain vs. Bad Pain

Okay, so not everyone describes muscle soreness as that “hurts so good” kind of pain. But many people do consider DOMS to be a sign that their workout was effective. That’s why sore muscles are  referred to as good pain.

Although you may not agree that the pain of muscle soreness is a good feeling, it’s not a sign of injury and shouldn’t be reason for alarm. This is “good” pain.

But that’s not to say that ALL pain should be ignored and brushed aside.

If you experience pain isolated in your joints (knees, hips, ankles, etc) that grows particularly strong when you move, this is “bad” pain. It could be a sign of injury, especially if it’s sudden or sharp, or if it’s associated with a particular motion.

The pain of an injury probably won’t go away as you stretch and warm-up, or as you continue to exercise day after day. If you experience pain that feels different than normal soreness and it doesn’t go away, you may want to visit a professional just in case.

Recovering Sore Muscles

Okay, so now that you know what causes sore muscles, let’s dive into how to prevent and treat your muscle soreness!

Stretch and Warm-Up

Coach Kristi

It is SO important before any workout to warm-up properly to alleviate any potential soreness that may occur from working cold, tight muscles. So be sure to add in even just a quick 5 minute cardio warm-up and stretching session to get your body ready to work hard.

Afterward, recovery is key to help you avoid injuries and will also help expel some of the lactic acid building in your muscles, which can contribute to soreness.

Try rolling out your muscles on a foam roller or lacrosse ball, stretch more, and even take an ice bath or a hot bath with some Epsom salts!


After a long week of training and working hard, it is essential that you take a rest day. In my 15-day challenge eBook, Ready, Set, Run! , I recommend taking a rest day once a week on Sundays.

Your muscles are torn and fatigued, and they need time to heal. Skipping rest days may not seem like that big of a deal, but in reality, it could set back all the hard work you’ve put in.

Rest days are just as important as the workouts themselves! This is when you give your muscles extra time to recover.

There are two different types of resting days that you can choose between on your designated day of the week: optimal recovery days and active recovery days.

Optimal Recovery Days

Optimal recovery days are literally rest days; meaning you do not do anything strenuous if it can be helped. On these days you should relax! Enjoy sleeping in, lounge and read a good book. Maybe even some Netflix and sneak in a nap!

Your body needs to recover and become stronger. These days may feel lazy or unimportant to you; but the rest is key when it comes to your fitness goals! So, seriously, take a day and rest those sore muscles!

Active Recovery Days

Active recovery means you are still getting out and being active, but you are not doing something as strenuous as you did the day before.

For example, instead of doing a strenuous 8 mile trail run, instead do a light run through your neighborhood to get the blood pumping.

Or, you could do some low-impact exercise like cycling, yoga, and swimming. The possibilities are endless, so get creative and get outside if you can!

Stay Hydrated

woman drinking water

It is so vital to stay hydrated during any strenuous activity, especially to help avoid sore muscles and fatigue!

According to Sara Edwards, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, “Hydration is important before and throughout your workout to prevent cramping and decrease inflammation (and muscle soreness) after exercise.”

So the bottom line is to keep drinking plenty of water!

How Much Water Should I Drink?

It is commonly recommended that everyone should drink an ounce of water per pound they weight, per day. Or more generally, about eight 8oz glasses of water per day.

This may seem easy to do, but if you’re not actively counting how much you drink, you more than likely won’t be drinking enough!

You can get a water bottle, like this one, that helps you keep track throughout the day. Or even keep track on your phone in a note. It’s worth it to stay hydrated!

So try your best to avoid drinking sodas or energy drinks that are filled with sodium and sugars that will end up dehydrating you! I know.. they are delicious and tempting but you have to resist them as best as you can!

Use BCAAs 

BCAA stands for branched-chain amino acid, and while this name may sound super scientific, they pack some BIG benefits when it comes to your training. And it’s not as complicated as it seems!

Basically, these important acids (which are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine) help give your body the fuel it needs when it’s running low on its’ own energy source, glycogen.

BCAAs also help support protein synthesis (the process of helping them within your muscles, and help cut own your post-workout recovery time.

Fighting Fatigue

Coach Kristi Resting After Run to Keep Mental Game Strong

Feeling tired is the silent but deadly roadblock to your workouts and your goals. It’s tough to get motivated if you literally don’t have the energy to even put on your running shoes and hit the pavement!

Trust me, I’m the first one to understand how tough it is to feel fatigued. But the good news is BCAAs can help with that!

These important amino acids, particularly isoleucine and valine, help to supply your muscles with glycogen to keep them energized, and also are broken down within the muscles themselves to be used as energy.

Building Lean Muscles

Whether you’ve got an intense lifting day, or you’re planning on running 5 miles, your muscles tear as they are being worked.

Your body does not produce these essential amino acids that assist in repairing and strengthening your muscles after they’ve been worked hard and torn. That’s why you need to add them in through your diet or with a dietary supplement.

It is key to add in BCAAs when your goal is to build leaner, stronger muscles, because they help your body recover quicker, and help support lean muscle growth when combined with exercise!

Increased Endurance

BCAAs can help give you that extra edge you may need to get a more intense run or workout in.

It’s not good to just ‘run on fumes’, so supplementing in those essential amino acids is key to helping you push your efforts to the max.

As explained by the wonderful fitness model Karina, “Some studies show BCAAs as being effective in increasing aerobic muscular endurance. This means it improves your overall raw strength in activities where you’re using the same muscle groups repeatedly, like running, cycling, weight lifting, etc.”

So, why not add them, am I right? They will energize you, support your aerobic muscular endurance, and help you push your workout to the limits!

Unfortunately, as I said, these amino acids are not made in your body, so they need to be supplemented through your diet by eating things like red meat, lentils, beans, eggs, and milk.

But what if there was a way to get an optimal amount of BCAAs with only 10 calories or less, PLUS additional ingredients to help keep you firing on all cylinders? Well, here’s my BIG secret and game changer:  IdealLean BCAAs!

Here are a few reasons why you are going to LOVE IdealLean BCAAs:

  • They’re made with the perfect BCAA ratio to support maximum recovery and endurance
  • Each serving contains a unique fat-loss blend to help you stay lean
  • IdealFit included Coconut powder as well, to help keep you hydrated
  • It’s available in some super delicious flavors like Iced Mocha, and Strawberry Kiwi

IdealLean BCAAs are the perfect way to supplement these essential amino acids, which help build strong and lean muscles and aid in quicker recovery.

When it comes to staying hydrated, focusing on proper recovery, and hitting your fitness goals; look no further than supplementing IdealLean BCAAs into your training!

Running Down Sore Muscles and Fatigue with BCAAs

When it comes to running, working out, and training; the thing that can hurt us the most (literally) is sore muscles!

You can stretch, stay hydrated, and make sure you take the time to rest when needed, so you can help your tired muscles recover and grow stronger.

However, one of the best things you can do is supplement BCAAs into your training, to support quicker muscle recovery, combat soreness, and supply your body with the amino acids it needs.

For more information about IdealLean BCAAs click here!

Kristi Monks

Kristi Monks

Triathlon & Running Coach

Kristi Monks is a USAT Certified Triathlon Coach and RCAA Certified Running Coach. She has competed in several marathons and triathlons, including the 2015 Kona Ironman and the Boston Marathon.

Check out our current special offers on protein, pre-workout, bcaas and more! Shop Now