When you do a hard or vigorous workout, your body experiences microscopic tears of muscle fibers. This usually translates to feeling sore, which is also known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) which is a form of inflammation.
What Is Inflammation?
You might be wondering, "What's inflammation?"
Inflammation is when your body becomes swollen, puffy, and "hot." Sometimes it's also accompanied by pain. This is a response by your immune system to something that it's not familiar with, like extra stress, injury or toxicity.
Inflammation can be normal and part of the post-workout recovery process. The common practice for recovery is to take one rest day a week. But everyone is different and inflammation levels are unique to each individual. Some people will require more rest time than others. But not everyone is in tune enough with their body to realize this (speaking from experience here).
When the warning signs are ignored, and the body is not allowed to rebuild itself, the body will begin to deteriorate.
When I trained for endurance events, I was so disciplined and followed my training schedule religiously. There was not a workout I missed, no matter how rundown, sore or tired I felt. I thought that I couldn't afford to miss a workout because *gasp* I might "lose fitness."
In reality, this short-sighted and stubborn way of thinking just led to injury after injury.
When you don't allow enough time for your body to recover and rebuild the inflammation will expand and your body gradually goes a chronic state of inflammation.
Combined with a poor diet (the "I workout so I can eat anything I want" mentality), and other common problems athletes experience, like insomnia, inflammation will build and can result in loss of progress, efficiency and form which increases the risks of injury.
Hindsight is everything, and as I look back at my race history, I can now see the patterns of when I got injured. Back-to-back half-marathons just a week apart, running "just" a 5K or even 12K shortly after a marathon - it's no wonder that I was often injured.
So How Can You Manage Inflammation?
Common practices are taking ice baths after long and intense workouts, massages, steam rooms or saunas, etc. All wonderful activities that everyone should be treating themselves to!
But what about managing inflammation through food?
As immersed as I was in "clean eating" it never really occurred to me that I could optimize my workouts and recovery by eating anti-inflammatory foods to rebuild my body.
What Are Inflammatory Foods?
Common inflammatory foods are foods like soy, dairy, foods with gluten, corn, sugar, etc.
Instead of eating inflammatory foods, consider eating nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory foods that help your body thrive.
These are such foods like green leafy vegetables; i.e., spinach, kale, collard greens, antioxidants like blueberries and strawberries, and superfoods like chia seeds and flax seeds, and even spices, etc.
If you're regularly in the gym doing hard, intense workouts, or coming off of a training cycle of an endurance event, or gearing up to train for your next race, how are you are you managing the inflammation levels in your body? How are you repairing and rebuilding your digestive and immune systems?
These are the things I teach my clients about when they work with me.
Are you ready to get started?
Hi, I'm Naomi!
I help smart and savvy women who suffer from chronic stress, unexplained weight gain and burnout, breakthrough their healthy blind spots and relieve symptoms through natural healing with whole foods and by making lifestyle and environmental changes. Why feel tired when you can feel fired up and ready to go every single day?
I love running outdoors, connecting with like-minded people, and exploring the San Francisco Bay Area with my pup, Coco Pop.