Starting a new workout routine can be great, unless your arms are so sore you can’t wash your hair the next day. No one should have to walk around with dirty hair or have to sit out the Wave at sporting events, so how do the experts prevent it?

1. Hydrate with coconut water.
Ever wonder why your muscles cramp? One common cause is actually dehydration, not exhaustion. To combat this, you need to begin drinking fluids long before you start your workout, and keep sipping on it throughout. Hydration is the key before, during and after a workout.

If you’re hydrating with water, why not try upping the ante: The new thing now is coconut water, which helps you hydrate even more by replacing the electrolytes that you lose when you sweat.

2. Eat a banana before you leave the house.
Never exercise on an empty stomach. A banana an hour prior to any vigorous workout is absolutely going to help prevent muscle cramping. The potassium will get distributed into the bloodstream right away, and it’s one of the best sources of nutrition in terms of limiting the lactic acid that makes your muscles ache.

3. Stretch during your workout. Who knew?

Stretching while you sweat is crucial. You see people stretching before their workout and after, but stretching throughout the workout is even more important. When you’re working your muscles and you’re pumping fresh oxygenated blood into them, stretching will decrease the lactic acid buildup.

While you’re working out, try some static stretching: Hold the stretch, not your breath for 10 – 30 seconds. This will increase your range of motion and your tendons, ligaments and muscles will become more elastic because they heat up.

4. Use a foam roller.
Foam rollers are often used by physiotherapists to relieve knots in muscles and soft tissue. It’s much like a deep tissue massage you can do yourself, as you roll it across your hamstrings, quads and calves. You can lie on the foam roller on your back and give your upper back a good stretch. It is great a multipurpose tool, and you can purchase them from your physiotherapist.

5. Rub and soak.
Once your muscles get sore (you’ll actually feel worse on day two after your workout, once the lactic acid sets in), try a topical anti inflammatory like P3 cream. It is very soothing, and can give you some needed temporary relief
Soaking in Epsom salts:
If you’re hurting from head to toe, put this in a nice, hot bath and soak for as long as you can.

6. Know when to say when.

Above all, they say, know your limits and when to push past them. Everyone has a different pain threshold, and it’s important to know yours.