After working out it's totally normal for your muscles to ache as you experience DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness). Although it's painful, it's actually something many of us love - because it proves that our bodies are changing and improving - and that all of the hard work is paying off! If your muscles are aching so much that you really need some relief, don't reach for the painkillers - try these tips: 1. Use a foam roller [caption id="attachment_52294" align="alignnone" width="424"] Image credit: http://www.mytreadmilltrainer.com/blog/476/workout-recovery-strategies-ice-baths-foam-rollers-and-stretching/[/caption] Foam rollers don't look like much, but never underestimate the power of those little rolls of joy! You apply pressure using the foam roller to the affected area and it actually assists the recovery of your muscles! It's deep tissue massage, so be prepared for it to be uncomfortable to begin with - the pain will subside as the pressure is applied though as it will relax your tightened muscles. 2. Massage the area [caption id="attachment_52296" align="alignnone" width="300"] Image credit: http://pacificcollegeblog.com/post/23614423063/diy-self-massage-to-accompany-your-workout[/caption] If your pain is in an area you can reach, and you don't have access to a foam roller, try massaging the muscle to soothe the pain and relieve the tension. Alternatively, book an appointment for a sports massage - it's a great way to relax and get professional treatment to soothe your aches and pains. 3. Have a warm bath [caption id="attachment_52297" align="alignnone" width="658"] Image credit: http://www.purplecrying.info/sub-pages/protecting/tips-to-deal-with-frustration-and-anger.php[/caption] Taking a bath is perfect for not only soothing your muscles, but also for winding down and having some 'me time'. Add some Epsom salts to get even more benefits from the bath - then lay back and relax. 4. Eat plenty of protein [caption id="attachment_52298" align="alignnone" width="496"] Image credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10676877/High-protein-diet-as-bad-for-health-as-smoking.html[/caption] This isn't going to instantly stop the pain, but protein is essential for muscle repair, so, although it might not feel like it's doing anything right now, it will help to rebuild the torn muscles. Eating plenty of protein in your regular diet will help your body to repair your muscles after future workouts 5. Stretch out [caption id="attachment_52304" align="alignnone" width="600"] Image credit: http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/to-static-stretch-or-not-to-static-stretch-that-is-the-question[/caption] If you're experiencing pain and discomfort then stretching the muscle will really help. Admittedly it hurts, but it's worth it because you will feel an instant relief and loosening of the muscle tension. Do this repeatedly throughout the day, and you'll notice a little more flexibility in the muscles each time. If you're regularly experiencing severe muscle pain after working out then you might not be warming up and stretching down correctly. Always make time to warm up before your workout so that your body is prepared for what you are about to put it through - and, although it might not be high on your priority list after exercising, always stretch down afterwards. This will prevent any serious damage to your muscles.