Following a hard workout, we all love/hate the feeling of soreness in our muscles. It reminds us of a workout well done, but it can also hinder our productivity the following day and even stop you from going full-blast during your next routine. If you’re feeling sore, here are five ways to fight it off.

#1 Stretch it out:
Stretching both before and after your workout should be considered an absolute necessity. Failing to do so can cost you more than muscle pain, it can actually cause an injury that could put you on the bench for weeks as you painfully recover. No matter how crunched you are for time, never underestimate the importance of a warm-up and cool-down.

#2 Get your protein:
Failing to fuel your muscles with the proteins they need to recover will surely leave you feeling tight and sore. You should look carefully at your diet and ensure you are getting enough calories and protein to fuel your workout routine. If you have changed your exercise routine but not your diet, it may be time to rethink things. Also look into pre or post-workout supplements to help you stay on the move.

#3 Take a break:
If you are working out daily, you need to give yourself a break. A rest day is an essential part of any athlete’s routine because they know the value of being able to relax and recharge. That doesn’t mean a day where you cheat on your diet or sit around watching TV. A “rest day” is a day of peaceful, light-intensity exercise and stretching that promotes recovery and healing for your hard-working muscles.

#4 Slow down:
Progressing too fast is a major factor in muscle soreness. If you have recently taken up or increased your exercise, it may be time to slow down and give your body a chance to catch up. It’s great that you’re motivated, but if that motivation turns into injury, you’ll be sorely disappointed and face a major set back. Give your body time to adjust and know that strength will come in time.

#5 Examine your routine:
If your routine has you working out the same muscles over and over again, or if you participate in activities that use the same muscles over and over again (like running or tennis), you may be suffering from or on the verge of an overuse injury. Try cross-fit or mixing up your routine to work out other muscle groups, too.