By Gretel Lee

You’re pumped up, glowing, feeling on top of the world after an awesome Barre class.

Then comes the stairs. As you gingerly walk down, you start feeling the #Barreburn. The ache begins, and continues for days.

Muscle ache, also termed as Delayed Muscle Onset Soreness (DMOS), occurs 1-3 days after working out. It is the result of lactic acid build up in the body, a byproduct when muscles burn energy for fuel.

The good news is that experiencing #Barreburn is part of the muscle re-building process – a positive sign that the body is building an increased tolerance for your next workout. This means that you should ache less, and for shorter periods of time as your body gets used to your workout routine.

Here’s our list of tips to help you recover from #Barreburn.

1. Eat!

Foodies, rejoice! Rewarding yourself with a hearty, post-workout meal is necessary to replenish the fuel you’ve burnt. With an endless choice of good food, the question is what, and how much to eat.

Consume protein and good carbs in the ratio 1:2. Since proteins are the building blocks of muscles, refuelling your body’s lost protein supplies aids in the muscle repair process. Additionally, carbs are burnt during metabolism and are needed to restore blood sugar to pre-workout levels.

As proteins and carbs work together in the muscle repair process, depriving the body of either one impedes the body’s recovery.

Good sources of protein include lean meat, fish, leafy greens, greek yoghurt, beans, nuts, soy, quinoa and chickpeas. Opt for carbs such as whole grains, oats and sweet potatoes to shower your body with some post-workout TLC.


2. Hydrate

Research shows that inadequate hydration leads to increased muscle ache, fatigue and cramps. As water also carries a supply of nutrients and electrolytes to the muscles and organs, inadequate hydration deprives the body of much needed nourishment after a workout.

What you drink before working out counts as much as hydrating during, and after. Pre-workout hydration assists the heart in pumping a supply of oxygen and blood around the body during exercise.

Find good ol’ sky juice boring? Help yourself to those coconut water shots, on the house!


3. Myofascial Release

Fascia is a sheath of connective tissue that surrounds and protects your muscles. Soft and pliable in a relaxed state, it assists muscles in maintaining flexibility and an optimal range of motion. Muscle contractions during exercise, however, cause knots in the fascia. This results in muscle soreness, poor posture and decreased flexibility.

Myofascial Release is hands-on therapy that involves applying slow, deep and sustained pressure to the connective tissue to relief muscle soreness. It targets the deep tissues that are not accessible during normal stretching. Using a foam roller is an effective, inexpensive way of self-Myofascial Release. Note that the pressure experienced during foam rolling can range from gentle to deep, but should never be beyond one’s threshold of tolerance.

Some common ways to foam roll are illustrated below:

Fascia release for the I.T. Band

Fascia release for the Quad

Fascia release for the Glute

Fascia release for the Calf


 4. Epsom Salt Bath

If you have access to a bathtub, an Epsom Salt bath is an inexpensive and effective way to relief tired muscles.The mineral, Magnesium, is found in Epsom Salt, and helps relax muscles by flushing out lactic acid built up in the body during exercise.

Epsom Salt is readily available at your local pharmacy. Simply dissolve the salt in a standard size bathtub filled with warm water, following the quantity recommended on the package. For an added pampering sesh, add in a few drops of essential oil to the bath. We love Eucalyptus to invigorate the senses, or Lavender to relax.

No bathtub? Soaking your feet in an Epsom Salt bath can bring relief to tired legs.


5. Rest

Working out breaks down muscle tissue, while it is the recovery period that gives the body a chance for repair. In short, recovery is an essential element in optimising your workout, so give your body the downtime it needs by spacing your classes out. Alternatively, throw in a less demanding Stretch or Fundamentals class in between a Signature or HIIT class, to allow the body to recover. Overworking the body puts it in a state of mental and physical stress, inhibiting it from working efficiently and recovering well after.

Listening to your body is key. If you’re booked in for a class and not feeling 100%, take modifications and go easy on yourself. If your idea of downtime leaves you craving for an endorphin high, throw in some light, low impact exercise for a period of active rest.

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