Exercise will make your muscles grow over time, but in the short term it actually damages them. They need time to heal and grow stronger before you can repeat a workout. The condition in which muscles become sore after working out is called delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). While there may be no way to prevent DOMS entirely, you can lessen the effects and recover faster through a variety of methods, enabling you to return to the gym in less time.
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Warm up before exercise. A study in the "Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research" found that a warm-up routine lessened the severity of muscle soreness following a workout.
Drink a recovery shake right after your workout. The shake should contain protein powder and simple carbohydrates. Your muscles are most receptive to nutrient uptake immediately after working out.
Consume plenty of protein throughout the day. Protein is the building block for muscle. A lack of protein will result in prolonged muscle soreness.
Sleep for at least 8 hours. Your body produces anabolic hormones while you sleep that speed the recovery of your muscles. Fitness writer Dr. David Ryan claims that missing sleep is worse than skipping a workout when it comes to building muscle.
Take rest days between workouts. Aim for 1 rest day per workout day. Your muscles cannot heal if you work out every day, and muscles grow when resting.