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Survival tips for sore muscles?

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I'm completely new here (*waves*) and also completely new to Cross Fit. I literally started two days ago with a 90 min foundation class session in my local gym. There were 6 of us in the group and the other 5...well, let's just say they didn't exactly need the foundation class. One of the guys looked like he could tear down walls with his bare hands. Talk about SLIGHLTY intimidating!

The coach was amazing, explained everything really well, adjusted the workout to my - not very high - skill and fitness level and the group turned out to be quite nice, too, though. I really pushed myself that night and despite finishing way after everyone else, I did finish all the reps. So yeah, quite happy about that and also looking forward to going back tonight. Only problem is: apart from my toes and my teeth EVERYTHING in my body hurts like I haven't experienced before. I didn't injure myself or anything but I'm profoundly out of shape and the sore muscles are making me worried I won't be able to work out tonight.

Any survival tips on working out despite feeling like your thighs are on fire? Just go and take it slow? Power through? Any folk remedies or magic spells to make the pain go away without doing serious damage? Help!

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Hello Anouk! Welcome to the Rebellion. Let me start by pointing out that "scaling is not a crime" meaning it's not a bad thing to scale a workout to your level. Doesn't make you any less of an athlete compared to others because, well, you're not comparing yourself to them. It's all about where you're at and what presents a challenge for you so you can grow. People have different lifestyles, backgrounds, willpower reserves, commitments and so forth, so as long as you do whatever it is that pushes you to improve, you're fine. I'm just putting that out because I think it is extremely important to get the right mindset in from the get go so you don't feel disappointed down the road.


Now, as far as the DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) goes, first of all it is a natural reaction of the body and a sign of a workout that hit the mark. In time you will come to embrace it, almost like an achievement. I don't know your background, but those first workouts after a long period of inactivity always hurt and it's even worse when those first workouts are Crossfit WODs, so don't panic just yet. Your body will adapt, muscles will get more flexible and recovery will speed up between workouts. My advice would be to warm up well and carefully before and stretch well after a workout. This should help your muscles adapt, prevent damage and respond to working out while still being a bit sore. As for the days between workouts, I'm afraid you'll have to tough that one out. I've noticed that increasing my protein intake when suffering from DOMS does tend to ease the pain, but that might just be a placebo effect.


There are legends too about things like foam rolling, lacrosse balls and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machinery that might be of help. While they've been of some assistance to my, I am anything but an expert on those so I won't elaborate.

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Hi Anouk!


I'm starting back with CF after taking 8+ months off (for no good reason... just making life harder for myself...) and just got to the point where I'm able to walk comfortably the day after a WOD. DOMS are my nemesis. I'll second what DarkRaider said - time, make sure you're getting protein, and on top of that maybe add a little pinch of salt (and maybe some lemon juice) to you water in the morning. For that matter, make sure you're drinking a lot of water and replenishing electrolytes! 


Muscles adapt faster than tendons, so make sure that you're taking it very slow when it comes to things like gymnastic movements (this goes for everything from push-ups to muscle ups!). Like DR said, scaling is key. I like rolling after a WOD and taking a long time to warm up beforehand. Often, if you're sore, actually using those muscle groups and pumping them will make the cruddy feeling clear away more quickly. That means if you're sore from squats, do some air squats and mobilize in that position! You can also look up MWOD on YouTube for some great mobility/recovery tutorials. 

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Good job getting back in the game! :) I went back last night despite considering taking the next exit and driving straight back home several times on the way there. It was good fun and my muscles didn't bother me anymore after we got a decent warm-up. :)

Thanks for the foam roller idea, I tried that.  We'll see what tomorrow has in store regarding DOMS.^^

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