The first time you try anything, doesn’t matter if you run, do Crossfit, bike, or engage in any form of sports or martial arts, do you find yourself waking up the next day, unable to move, every muscle aching and sore? That every time you finish a new routine or sweat through a new set of exercises, you end up getting out of bed the next morning, your normally spry, lively and agile  self out of sight?

Here are 5 top things you need to know about muscle soreness to help you cope and deal with it better:

It’s gradual and shouldn’t last beyond 3 days.

 DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness often appears 6 to 8 hours after the activity and lasts for at least 24 to 72 hours. It doesn’t happen while you’re doing the activity. So your muscle soreness should basically go away after three days. If you get into the same activity and find yourself still unable to do it, it could mean you overdid it. Try taking it easy for the next few days until you get your old nimbleness back.

It’s good.

Say you train your body for long-distance running. The pain and soreness happens as your muscles try to adjust and perform according to the demands of the exercise. In this way, introducing a small dose of muscle trauma often encourages muscle growth. So the next time your muscles feel achy, know that it’s your body’s way of getting stronger. You could also try going for a massage to get your muscles unknotted. It’ll help you feel better in no time. 

It’s not an injury.

When you pull a muscle or fracture a knee, you’ll know it as soon as it happens. There’s no gradual post-exercise time frame for it. Plus, the sort of acute, debilitating pain that usually comes with an injury is far from the achy discomfort associated with muscle soreness. So make sure you don’t confuse one with the other.     

It’ll feel less sore the longer you go.

That’s often true. The longer you train your body, the better your muscle memory gets. And that allows you to endure longer, harder sets of exercises. However, your genes are still a factor in your strength, endurance and fitness. So if your body is genetically highly responsive to pain or soreness, you could experience DOMS worse than those with low sensitivity to pain and soreness, even when you’re both doing the same exercise. Don’t blindly push yourself through the pain, thinking you need to reach the same level of performance others do. That sport or activity could be the wrong fit for your body build or genes. Find out if those play a factor before you end up doing more harm than good with the wrong exercise.

It should be evenly distributed.

If you’re feeling sore all over, that’s actually better than feeling sore in just your knees or elbows. If the soreness is concentrated in one area, it could mean you’re doing the exercise all wrong, putting undue stress on your joins or muscles. One way to fix this is to make sure your form is correct when you do the exercise.

Keep these 5 things in mind whenever you find yourself dealing with muscle soreness. And the minute you feel something’s off, don’t take unnecessary chances with your health. Have yourself immediately checked out by a doctor.

A woman walks down a crowded street, on her way to what promises to be a very important meeting. She’s not late, but she’s cutting it very close. She silently rehearses her presentation as she weaves in and out of throngs of leisurely walkers and window shoppers. Some are offended as she bounces off them, while others notice her suit, her shoes, and her urgency. She is a woman that has an important place to be at an important time. As people move out of her way, she catches a hat in a store window from the corner of her eye. She stops. For a brief moment, she forgets her presentation.

She thinks, “I have to have that hat. It might be gone when I come back. I should go in and buy it right now.” Remembering the important meeting, she snaps herself out of the thought and presses on to her appointment.

She arrives with time to spare. She stands on the stage. From the podium, she looks into a sea of serious, hard faces. She begins her well-rehearsed presentation and is moving through it seamlessly, until a thought, like a small tickle in her throat, pops into her head: I must have that hat. She quickly dismisses the thought, but again and again it returns, growing to the point that the thought has become too powerful to dismiss. She hurries through the presentation, not caring about the outcome. The serious, hard faces have not been moved. They’ve gleaned her indifference.

She finishes and exchanges pleasantries, knowing that she won’t get the business but will get the hat.

Only weeks later, she sits on the couch watching television, while the hat sits somewhere on the floor of her closet in a pile of unused handbags, tagged blouses and twice-worn shoes. She says to herself, “I have to stop doing this. This is costing me way too much.”

Her determination and newfound discipline are steely…until the next morning. She gets off the subway, turns the corner and sees a mannequin wearing a very beautiful, and very expensive, coat. Without thinking, she stops and buys the coat. The price is high, but nothing compared to the cost.

This is exactly what we do with food. We have to have what we want when we want it, and too much is never enough. We promise ourselves after every binge or extra piece of cake that this is the last time. Something has to change. We look to advertised diets and fad exercise regimens for a quick salvation in the exact same way we look to food for quick relief from temptation. Sure, we receive short-term pleasure, but we receive it at the cost of long-term pain…and that pain will only get worse. It’s not just the guilt we feel, or the literal heavy feeling we get when we look in the mirror; it’s the promise of a life of misery.

At Live in Fitness, we have a different promise, and yes, it is going to cost you. Coming to our fitness retreat on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina isn’t inexpensive, but what you get in return is priceless. When Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous,” he nailed it. To feel good, to feel hope, to feel healthy and happy has no price, and once you have that life, there isn’t a dollar figure high enough to return it for the old one.

Our promise is simple but not unconditional. If you make the financial, time, and effort commitment to come to us, we will give you that healthy, happy life. We don’t make this promise to take your money. If we did that, we wouldn’t have been in business for almost 20 years. We make this promise confidently, knowing that we have changed thousands of lives for the better and for the long-term.

How do we do this? We learned a long time ago that learning to live a healthy lifestyle entails much more than changing what, and the way, you eat; first you have to change the behaviors and the reasons. These behaviors and reasons are different for everyone. Of course there are similarities, but one solution does not work for a variety of problems. We will get to the core of why you have failed in your fitness and weight-loss attempts in the past and overcome those. Similarly, we will discover the strong elements of your personality (and there are many) that will enable you to succeed this time.

This is just the starting point. We also monitor your current state of fitness and create a nutrition and fitness program tailored specifically to you…mind and body. And when you leave, what you paid for won’t be sitting on the floor of your closet, or worse, around your waist. You will have it for a lifetime, because we will be there to support you long after you leave. It won’t be as easy as buying a hat or a piece of cake, but it will be worth it.

Please come visit us and remove the weight. It’s time to get rid of the pounds, as well as that heavy, nagging feeling that it will never get better. You can’t afford to wait. The cost is way too high.

Beautiful woman enjoying life at the beach. Summer vacation concept

It’s two o’clock in the morning. You stare into the bottom of an ice cream bucket, or an empty pizza box, and think, “This is ridiculous. I have to stop”? You settle in front of the TV, full of food and remorse, and turn on the TV only to find some ripped guy and a supermodel extolling the thinning powers of their new machine. You think, “Ah, that’s it. I’m going to buy this and my life will change.”

Days later, it shows up. Your conviction to change has waned a bit, but you just spent good money on a promise that you desperately want to believe. You take it out of the box and use it for a couple days…maybe a couple of weeks, and you start to feel a little healthier, a little stronger, and maybe even a little thinner. Then for a reason (or maybe reasons) you probably don’t even know, you order a large pizza with everything on it and eat the whole thing. Your new machine gets thrown in the garage to collect dust with the other machines and fad diet books. The only thing that has changed is that you have wasted money and feel more certain than ever that you can’t change…that this is just who you are.

You’re right on one count⎯that is just who you are…right now. You’re a person who wants to be healthy and happy but can’t seem to get there. But you’re wrong about your ability to change. At our Live in Fitness retreat on Hilton Head Island, we insist that you change. That’s why we won’t let you be who you are. Of course we want you to keep the deep-down ingrained positive traits, but we insist on removing the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that have kept you from being thin, healthy, and truly happy. Yes, this is another promise, but it’s not empty, and not one you can throw in the garage.

How can we promise this change?

For starters, because we’ve changed the lives of people that believed deep down that they could never be thin, healthy and happy. And we did this by discovering why they failed in the past and changing the way they behaved and thought. Of course fitness and nutrition are integral elements of our program. What and how much you put in your body is important, as is making exercise part of your lifestyle. But if the mind doesn’t change, the body won’t…at least not for very long. Exercise and nutrition are just the icing⎯thoughts and behaviors are the cake.

When Eric Viskovicz, Founder and President of Live in Fitness started his journey to help people change their lives, it was primarily about fitness. Granted, this helped people for the short term, but soon after they left the gym or the beach, the self-destructive thoughts and behaviors reemerged, and they ended up back where they started.

Years ago, while training clients at his fitness retreat, Eric started observing how people responded to weight loss and fitness regimens, and after a while he realized that, by categorizing them into seven different personality profiles, he could more positively affect them and drastically increase the likelihood of their long-term success. These profiles are: Perfectionist, All-or-Nothing, Victim, Searcher, Void, Caretaker, and Athlete.

Perfectionists are responsible, high achievers who may fail over the long term because they can never reach their unrealistic goals. All-Or-Nothings are fun, creative people who are all-in, until they burn out and move onto the next activity or challenge. Like these two, Victims, Searchers, Voids, Caretakers, and Athletes all have positive traits that are countered by inherent flaws. None is worse than the other, and they are not labels that we put on our clients. They merely allow our behaviorists and coaches to maximize strengths and eliminate weaknesses.

As you look at the different personality profiles, you’re probably thinking, “Oh man, I fit into more than one of those for sure.” That’s neither a bad thing, nor is it abnormal. We are all complex people with very individual strengths, weaknesses, problems and needs. That’s exactly why we place so much importance on the behavioral aspect of our program. It enables us to address each client’s needs and goals on a very person-specific level. It’s the reason we’ve been around for twenty years…because we’re not a cookie-cutter weight loss getaway that promises everyone individual success and then delivers a very non-individual program. It’s the main reason that our clients succeed for the long-term. They leave here, not just thinner, happier, and healthier, but they also have the tools to stay that way.

You will have these tools, too, and they will allow you to not be the person you were when you got here. The way you look will change. The way you feel will certainly change. But the most important change you will make is the way you behave. A positive voice will replace the negative one that tells you that you can’t, or that you’re not good enough. You will be able to visualize your goals and make them come to fruition. You will be able to eat pizza, ice cream, or whatever you want responsibly, without devouring everything in front of you. You can be yourself, only now you can be your best self.