Three Helpful Tips When Recovering From An Injury

Many of us have already been there, with respect to an injury. If not, the odds are you will probably be there at some point; recovering from an injury. It comes with the territory of working out.

The National Health Statistics Reports reported 8.6 million sports injuries, a rate of 34.1 per 1,000 individuals. A second report by the National Safety Council Injury Facts noted 44.5 million injuries in the United States. This past year, the number for exercise-related injuries alone were approximately 500,000; while biking and basketball reported more than 400,000 injuries apiece.

The odds are pretty high that you’ll probably have to deal with an exercise or sports-related injury at some point during your lifetime. The best exercise advice, post injury, is to “just do it” building-up slowly with your exercise duration and intensity. If you’re thinking about taking an exercise class or participating in small group training, beware of the tendency to push a little harder and go beyond your normal limits when working out with others. Avoid the urge to “show off” due to the group dynamic and instead work within your own abilities.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind whenever you get laid up and are dealing with an injury.

The Psychological Toll May Be Greater Than Initially Realize

If an injury progresses from short-term to a chronic issue, you may be effected psychologically more than you realize. You may even experience a bout of mild depression because you are no longer able to reap the “feel good” benefits of daily exercise like you did prior to injury. This could eventually take its toll on your mind, body and spirit. If this is the case, you may want to talk to someone with a medical background. Other possible suggestions that may help are yoga or daily meditation. Remember, “we become what we think about.” Injuries also have the potential to increase stress levels (like cortisol) in our body and the options mentioned here, may be just what the doctor ordered during the recovery process.

Reduced Physical Activity Means Nutritional Modification

This is a must do. When recovering from an injury, your daily activity level decreases. You will no longer expend the same amount of calories as you did previously and consequently, need to eat less. Be cognizant of the fact that if you continue to consume the amount of calories you were eating pre-injury, you most likely will experience an increase in body weight. Talk about another added stress! You are no longer creating a negative deficit or maintaining a “balance” regarding calories in versus calories out. As an example, your number of steps may decrease from an active 10-12,000 steps a day to a sedentary 3,500 steps following a foot injury. If caloric intake is not monitored – you guessed it – an increase in body weight will occur.

Again, this comes down to the type of injury and if you’re totally sedentary or able to do some type of activity. An idea may be to keep a food journal for a few days to look at what you’re consuming. Also, try using an app in order to offer better insight into your nutritional intake. I typically recommended using MyFitnessPal app. This is a very helpful app that offers insightful metrics in respect to what your eating. It also has a great barcode scanner that can take pictures of food or drink products. Finally, it is equipped with a chart showing macro and micronutrient breakdown of meals and snacks. Personally, I like it because it makes life much easier when it comes to monitoring both overall calories and daily sugar consumption.

Find an Alternative Form of Exercise When Recovering From An Injury

The location of your injury will ultimately dictate what you can and cannot do. A foot injury, for example, may allow you to get back into biking or to do some pool therapy.

You can also check out an ElliptiGO SUB (stand-up bike), a cool, fun to use, product that I highly recommend. One of the great things about the SUB is it burns 33 percent more calories than a traditional bike and will avoid any low-back or neck pain typically found using a traditional bike. How about doing more SUB and SUP if you’re able during the recovery process? Two great full-body workouts that burn maximal calories in minimal time without loading the body like other activities.

There are a multitude of factors that can lead to an injury. When you’re recovering from an injury, think about the root cause of your injury and become more mindful of the exercise equipment you’re using. Take a look at what you’re wearing when you workout, for example, are the bottom of your sneakers worn away? Maybe you have logged 500-600 miles in them already? This will change the way you strike the ground not to mention your gait.

In addition, think about being more preventative by adding “pre-hab” exercises to your workout. Always make time to warm-up your body prior to any type of exercise. Finally, adding more restorative work like massage and mobility while paying more attention to post-recovery diet, may also help your cause. Keep your body injury free by becoming strong with Jefit.

Stay Strong With The Jefit App

Join the more than nine million members who’ve had great success using the Jefit app. The award-winning app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Stay strong with Jefit.

A Foam Roller is an Affordable & Versatile Product

There are literally hundreds of fitness products you can choose to use. There is one product, however, that won’t break the bank, reduces stiffness, and can be used either at home or in the gym. The product is a foam roller. Not only is it affordable, it’s extremely versatile in the right hands. The foam roller gained popularity back in the 1980’s thanks to a physical therapist who brought it into the mainstream from the world of clinical rehabilitation.

Why use a foam roller? Because it can be used to prepare the body for exercise, it’s a great recovery aid, effective as a massage tool, improves mobility, and keeps connective tissue, like fascia, healthy.

Use a Foam Roller as Part of Your Dynamic Warm-up

Before your next strength workout try incorporating a few dynamic warm-up movements. Then use a foam roller for 5-10 minutes, to “roll-out” some tight areas, and see how you feel afterwards. More importantly, notice the difference in the way you feel during your workout. We have a tendency to sit for prolonged periods of time throughout the day. As a result, muscles and connective tissue become tight and restricted. Overtime, this negatively affects your posture, the way you move, and how you perform in workouts! Regular bouts of foam rolling can help offset these issues and more.

Incorporate a Foam Roller into Your Recovery Process

Another benefit of using a foam roller is it has the potential to help the body recover faster from a workout. Foam rolling can decrease the “perception of pain” that the body may be experiencing from overtraining. It targets the myofascial network in the body, helping to reduce trigger points and release restrictive connective tissue and muscle.

The body has a tendency to experience delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) from an intense workout. A 2015 study in the Journal of Athletic Training suggested that foam rolling after intense exercise is a great way to reduce soreness and help with recovery. The study looked at college-aged males and showed those who foam rolled post exercise, were able to perform better at 24, 48 and 72 hours after exercise that induces soreness. And a comprehensive review published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy reported foam rolling promotes short-term increases in range of motion.

Finally, a meta-analysis, published in the Frontiers in Physiology (2019) showed foam rolling had a positive effect on performance and recovery. This particular review of 21 research studies and 451 subjects, also showed better results were exhibited during a warm-up phase rather than as a recovery component of an exercise session.

Foam rolling is not the be-all-end-all when it comes to fitness products but you can definitely benefit from regular use, before and/or after a workout. Give it a try and experience the benefits yourself.

Use the Award-Winning Jefit App

Jefit was recently named one of the best fitness apps by eftm.com and PC Magazine for 2021. Jefit is a workout app for gym and home. It helps you plan and stick to your workouts on a regular basis. While there are already over 3800 complete training routines available, it also comes with a customizable gym workout planner. This way you can personalize your own regime that works with your specific fitness goals. Stay strong!

References

Pearcey, G.E.P., Bradbury-Squires, D.J., Kawamoto, J.E., Drinkwater, E.J., Behm, D.G. & Button, D.C. (2015). Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. Journal of Athletic Training, 50(1): 5-13.

Cheatham, S.W., Kolber, M.J., Cain, M., & Lee M. (2015). The effects of self‐myofascial release using a foam roll or roller massager on joint range of motion, muscle recovery, and performance: a systematic review. Int J Sports Phys Ther., 10(6): 827–838.

Wiewelhove, T., et al. (2019). A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Foam Rolling on Performance and Recovery. Front. in Physiol. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.00376



Quality Sleep is Important But Never More Than Now

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“Sleep is the best meditation.” 

~ Dalai Lama

When you end up not getting quality sleep during the night, you typically feel “off” throughout the next day. Not only can your mood and energy level be low, your workout usually suffers too. This seems to happen when you’re clocking less than 6 hours of sleep a night on a consistent basis. In addition to that, you may also notice, you crave unhealthy foods following a sub-optimal amount of sleep the previous night.

Quality of Sleep

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What’s the Definition of Good, Quality Sleep

Sleep quality, as opposed to sleep quantity, refers to how well you sleep. It also includes falling asleep within 30-minutes or less, and sleeping through the night without having the need to get up. The one final piece you could add to the mix is when you’re awaken, for whatever reason, you’re able to fall back to sleep within 20-minutes.

The most valuable assets you have are your mind and body and they require a certain amount of sleep each night to function optimally. With that said, more than 60 percent of the population does not sleep well throughout the night. Research shows people getting less than six hours of sleep have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who sleep more than six hours. This is important because inflammation is linked to diabetes, stroke, heart disease, arthritis, and premature aging. This data was published in the Centers for Disease and Control and Morbidity and Mortality Report.

The Association Between Quality Sleep and Exercise

You work hard in the gym and try to eat healthy to give yourself the best chance for success. The last thing you want to do is ruin those odds by getting minimal sleep. Research from University of Chicago and University of Wisconsin show people who slept more carried less body fat. Subjects who monitored caloric intake and averaged 5.5 hours of sleep, had more body fat compared to subjects consistently getting 8.5 hours of sleep.

Finally, the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study looked at more than 1,000 subjects regarding their sleep patterns. They found those who slept less than 8 hours a night had an increase in BMI proportional to decreased sleep.

National Sleep Foundation’s recommends 7-9 hours of uninterrupted, quality sleep for adults (ages 18-64). For older adults (age 65+), they suggest 7-8 hours of sleep a night. These recommendations were updated in 2015 and published in Sleep Health: The Official Journal of the National Sleep Foundation.

Final Thought on Sleep

One final comment on the importance of sleep that’s explained nicely in the book, Biological Rhythms and Exercise. “Weight-training exercises may be unaffected by partial sleep loss early on in a training session, but the performance suffers due to lack of drive and concentration as the (exercise) session continues.”

We are currently living in unprecedented times during this past year, and stress has affected us in some way or another. Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to how we’re living our life. Use both regular exercise and aim for quality sleep each night to help reduce the amount of stress in your life. Stay strong with Jefit app.

Innovative Exercise & Recovery Products That Will Elevate Your Workout

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How has your overall health been these past six months? Have you had trouble keeping up with your exercise & recovery during this stressful period? We’re now in month seven of this dreaded disease that’s still hovering over us. Hopefully, a cure is on the distant horizon. Many of us, however, are more anxious than ever before. The constant anxiety is beginning to wreak havoc on our mind, body and spirit. Personally, I can’t tell you how much I look forward to starting my day off with a long walk, run or hike. I still do my strength workouts in the evening but it’s the morning exercise ritual that has been truly life-saving these last 180 plus days! Yes, its been that long!

Winter is coming though. I’m already thinking about how I can replicate my outdoor excursions indoors when the weather is not cooperating. I’m fortunate to have a nice set-up in my “garage gym” but I’m in the market for a new cardio toy. In addition, I’m always on the lookout for a game changing recovery product to use on my aging body.

Here are some of the exercise & recovery products that I’ve used recently along with a few others that I’ve been looking at.

Exercise & Recovery Tool: Hyperice Products

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The company offers recovery and movement tools and has hit the big time recently partnering with the NBA. Their vibration massage gun is basically a better, quieter, less costly version of similar products on the market. The Hypervolt gun comes with five easy to snap on heads designed to get deep into connective tissue and muscle. Use this or any of their other recovery products and you’ll end up feeling like a new version of yourself. The product is ideal for a recovery day or for pre or post workout use. It even comes with an app to educate you on the benefits of proper recovery and vibration technology, it also helps track your overall use.

Exercise Product: ElliptiGO SUB

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We have a tendency to sit more than we should throughout the day. We have read the reports that too much sitting is slowly killing us. The average American spends about 6½ hours a day sitting, an increase of about an hour a day since 2007. Anyway, we know we need to stand up and move more throughout the day, right? The issue is the gym requires us to sit on the majority of the equipment. This can feel counter productive at times. Enter the SUB, the stand up bike.

The West coast company, ElliptiGO, was started ten years ago to help us solve this problem. They have several different product lines including their well received SUB. The bike has no seat and you feel like you’re on an Elliptical machine. The big difference is you’re outside and not stuck in the gym. Using this product will help you burn 33 percent more calories than a traditional bike. The product can be a great tool for both exercise & recovery. The design is amazing and say good-bye to neck and back pain typically associated with long a bike ride. I can attest to that. Individuals who have trouble getting on and off a bike now have no issues that would impede them from riding. The ability to exercise standing up, while outdoors, with no pounding on the joints is priceless!

Exercise Product: Concept 2 SkiErg

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The Concept 2 SkiErg with PM5 is one of the top-rated ski machines available. Concept 2 is known for their well-built rowing machines typically found in gyms and CrossFit boxes. It may not engage the lower extremity like outdoor skiing but it still offers a great full body workout. It ‘s a fantastic upright workout that incorporates the whole body not to mention its high caloric expenditure as a by-product. The legs get targeted via a squat at end of each stroke but it’s done from a stationary position. The product, in the right hands, can also be used both as an exercise & recovery tool. A great workout is expending 100 calories for time.

New Exercise Product: CLIMBR

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This is a new product that launched recently from Colorado-based Climbr. The traditional versa climber on the market is a functional cardio product. The training concept has gained some traction over the past decade especially in various boutique fitness studios. The Climbr is basically a versa climber on steroids with a beautiful design equipped with the latest in technology. Again, it’s a great workout because the body is upright and mimics contralateral movement found in activities like climbing. When you utilize a lot of big muscles in any type of movement or activity it’s usually better.

Next time you’re at the gym try to choose equipment that requires you, when possible, to stand not sit. When you’re in the market for home exercise equipment, try doing the same. At either location, take advantage of the Jefit app to design, log and track your strength and cardio workouts. Don’t forget the value of both exercise & recovery. Stay Strong!

How to Return Safely to the Gym Following Time Off

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Just about everyone has felt like their life has been turned upside down over the last six months resulting from the pandemic. Moreover, everyone is now looking for ways to get back to their regular routine and that includes exercise. We all want to get back at it and we want to return safely to the gym. If there was ever a time to reap the psychological and physiological benefits of aerobic exercise and strength training it would be now!

This article will address how to return safely to the gym from an exercise standpoint rather than from a gym safety pandemic point of view.

How Quickly Does the Body Begin Detraining?

The body begins to lose cardio and strength gains made at the gym in as little as 2-3 weeks. The good news, though, is any gains lost due to time off can be redeveloped quickly. As long as you’ve been healthy. You can typically maintain strength levels for 3-4 week after a hiatus. Where you really begin to see the effects of missing workouts though is with the loss of muscle mass. This can occur in as fast as 3 weeks. The key is to always listen to your body before/during/after workouts. If you need to back off on the weight or mileage during a workout because you don’t feel 100 percent, then do so. If you experience any stiffness, tightness or pain, that’s your bodies way of telling you to back off and watch out.

Gradually Increase Workout Volume

When starting out or coming back from a hiatus, strive for 20-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise according to the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines. On the strength side, aim for 1-2 sets of an exercise using 12-15 repetitions with moderate resistance. As time moves forward, slowly decrease the amount of repetitions while increasing the amount of resistance and the number of sets. Increase the amount of resistance each week by about 10 percent for lower body and 5 percent for upper body exercises once you’re able to reach 12 repetitions. Begin with bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges and split squats before moving to machines or free weights. In both instances, 3 days a week is plenty, eventually progressing that to 4-5 days if and when needed.

Pay Special Attention to Recovery

On the off days you’re not strength training focus more on stretching and mobility. In addition, spend time on your foam roller to release any tight muscles and connective tissue. Also try using a recovery product like Hyperice to help in that area. In fact, think about adding a few days of either yoga, stretching or a mobility class to your weekly routine. If you like to run, closely monitor your weekly mileage building it back up slowly.

Document Your Workouts

A valuable tool is documenting how your time is spent in the gym or at home during each workout session. Monitoring training volume (sets x reps. x load) on a daily and weekly basis will help prevent overtraining and you’ll get better gains. Research has shown that you’re 2-3 times more likely to stick to a new habit when a plan is in place and a record is kept. To help you plan, log and track your strength training workouts, download the award-winning Jefit app. One of the great training tools featured on the Jefit app is the ability to record 1-RM for each exercise. In fact, if you come back after time off, choose a lighter percentage of your 1-RM initially before building back up slowly. This will help keep overtraining type injuries at bay. Stay Strong!

Three Requirements for Muscle Growth

There are three key requirements for muscle growth to occur. To ensure muscle growth you need an appropriate training stimulus, proper diet with adequate protein and of course plenty of recovery. A fourth factor, not discussed here, is the important role that genetics play. We all know people who train hard, eat well and get plenty of sleep. They typically get stronger but don’t really pack on lean muscle. There are many variables that can effect (1) how much and (2) how quickly your body adds lean muscle. This ultimately depends on age, gender, genetic and hormonal factors. There is a saying out there when talking about the part genetics play: “If you want an Olympic athlete then you need Olympic parents.”

Appropriate Training Stimulus for Muscle Growth?

How do you stimulate muscle growth? When a persons muscles are challenged they adapt and change over time. Changes are dependent on the type of activity and muscle fiber types used, the load exerted on the muscle, and the velocity and duration of the contraction. (Marieb, 2004) The point is to push through all the hard workouts, because muscular growth or hypertrophy can only be accomplished through these adaptations and changes. “It takes about 16 workouts to have a noticeable ‘superficial’ effect. There is simply no other recipe to do this in a healthy, orderly, and long-lasting manner.” Try using the Jefit, a workout planner & tracker app to record all your workouts.

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Is the Current RDA for Protein Enough?

This is a tough area for a lot of people. Their eating habits are just not where they need to be. In addition to eating well-balanced, highly nutritious meals, protein intake needs to be sufficient. If not, muscle growth to say the least, will be difficult if not impossible. The scientific research has shown different results over the years in terms of protein needs.

The question we should ask ourselves is – do we follow the suggested RDA of 0.8 grams/kg/day for protein intake or is it more in line with 1-2 gram/kg/day? The answer may depend partly on the volume of daily exercise you’re doing, if you’re a strength or an endurance athlete, and your age.

Adequate Nutritional Intake (Especially Protein)

A classic study was done in 1988 at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. I was actually one of the test subjects in that study and also later worked there. The team headed by Meredith and colleagues, looked at the protein needs of 12 subjects. Six were young (26.8 +/- 1.2 yr) and six were middle-aged (52.0 +/- 1.9 yr) endurance-trained men. All subjects consumed either 0.6, 0.9, or 1.2 grams/kg/day of high-quality protein over three separate 10-day periods. They did this while maintaining their training and a constant body weight. The results of the study estimated that protein requirement was 0.94 +/- 0.05 grams/kg/day for the 12 men. The data from the study showed endurance exercise was associated with a specific dietary protein requirement. These needs were actually greater than the current Recommended Dietary Allowance of 0.8 g/kg/day.

Since then, there have been several studies on individuals who engaged in regular aerobic exercise. The exercise, more vigorous in nature, demonstrated a higher protein need more in line with 1.1 to 1.4 grams/kg/day. This by the way is about 38%-75% above the current RDA range. There is good evidence that the current recommended protein intake may actually limit muscle growth. This was seen in a study published in the Journal Applied Physiology. Some researcher’s report an optimal intake more in line with a protein range of 1.5 to 1.8 grams/kg/day which is 88% to 125% above the suggested RDA. The best way to make this happen is by ingesting 25-30 grams/protein with each meal and of course supplement with a post recovery protein drink.

Optimal Recovery (Sleep)

You can have the two other two boxes checked but if sleep is not happening, muscle growth will not occur. As a persons training intensity increases, more recovery and sleep is needed. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), we need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Are you getting that? When this happens on a regular basis for you, you can check that third box. Here are their guidelines for recommended amounts of sleep by the NSF.

  • School age children (6-13 yrs. old): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours
  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category) 

Key Take Aways

Increasing strength and building muscle can seem like a full-time job at times. You will need all the help you can get to make this happen, especially on both fronts. By checking all three boxes (training/nutrition/sleep), your odds of finally adding lean muscle will improve greatly. Be Well and Stay Strong!

4 Key Recovery Tips for Different Workouts

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Despite what sport or workout you do, recovery is crucial. Without taking the time to rest and recover, you risk overtraining and making yourself more prone to injury. You’ll also feel not as great as if you’ve had the proper rest that you need. So how do you recover and do recovery times and methods differ for each workout? Find out here.

Recovery times and methods for different exercises

How to recover from cardio

Hydration is key. You sweat a lot from moderate to intense cardio so make sure that you replace lost fluid. If you weren’t drinking water throughout your workout either, drink even more.

If you’ve only done moderate level cardio, then It’s best to stay away from sports drinks that are marketed towards athletes. These drinks contain high levels of sugar that aren’t needed for moderate workouts.

You can drink these sports drinks and other liquids with electrolytes after longer cardio sessions.

How to recover from HIIT

HIIT, or High Intense Interval Training, consists of short bursts of extreme exercise followed by rest break. This definitely gets your heart ramping up a lot quicker than LISS or moderate exercise. You’ll also be burning calories after your workout thanks to a process called post-exercise oxygen consumption. EPOC refers to the amount of oxygen it takes to restore your body to its normal state. HIIT boosts this process.

As well as drinking fluids and making sure that you’re hydrated, make sure you eat a meal rich in carbs and protein (3:1 ratio is ideal). This way, you are feeding your body the fuel it needs by letting your muscles grow and restore glycogen stores.

HIIT is very taxing on the body so it is best to give yourself one full day in between to recover. Doing it every day or even multiple times a day can really increase your risk of overtraining. Do yourself a favor, and take a break.

How to recover from running

After a run, you would have sweat quite a bit. So, surprise, surprise, you will need to restore your fluids. Water and/or electrolytes is your number one priority. Believe it or not, chocolate milk is one of the best post-running drink/snack that you can have. It embodies the 3:1 carb to protein ratio that you need, and of course, it’s delicious.

Have a well-balanced snack or meal as well.

Just remember to incorporate rest days into your schedule. Running puts a lot of stress and pressure on your joints, so it’s crucial to give them a break. At least one rest day a week is ideal, and maybe even two.

If you find it difficult to take a break, it doesn’t mean that you have to be sedentary the entire day. Go for a walk, or do some low-impact activities. Swimming is a great one because it takes the stress off your joints, while still allowing you to get some exercise in.

How to recover from strength training

As strength training focuses primarily on the muscles, you’ll need to make sure that you consume protein and a good amount of carbs after a workout. You would have depleted your muscle stores so it’s important to refuel. This will aid in recovery as well as promoting muscle growth.

You’ll also need to ensure that you drink water and have a good, filling meal. Stick to the 3:1 carbohydrate/protein ratio to maximize recovery.

The recovery times and rest days in between strength training greatly depends on your workout schedule. If you split your days between muscle groups, such as back, shoulders, legs, etc, then you can get away with training 5-6 days with one rest day in the week.

If you train the same muscle group in a row, give yourself at least a days rest in between to recover.

Just listen to your body

While the general rule of thumb is to give the same muscle group a rest day, minimum, in between workouts. Otherwise, you risk overtraining. And at the end of the day, just listen to your body. If you’re feeling the effects of training that transcends beyond normal DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), then take a break. You won’t ruin your progress by taking a couple of days off, in fact, you’ll probably help it.

Make sure that you always warm up before your workout and stretch afterwards. It’ll facilitate the muscle recovery process and help to speed it up. It might be a good idea to foam roll as well. This will lessen the recovery times for each activtity.

Workout with Jefit

Track your training, record your progress, and customize your workout plan with Jefit. Jefit is a workout log app that provides you with all the tools you need to hit your fitness goals. We even have a members-only Facebook group where you can connect with like-minded people and share fitness and nutrition tips and advice.