The German word ‘Muskelkater’ refers to the soreness you feel the day after an intense workout.
This unpleasant sensation most often occurs when you start a new workout routine, resume exercising after a prolonged break or simply push yourself too hard.
So many people may be feeling it if one of their new year’s resolutions was to work out, or try a new sport.
The first half of this compound noun, ‘Muskel’, translates as ‘muscle’, but the meaning of the second half is slightly less clear.
In German, ‘Kater’ can refer to two things: a male cat or a hangover.
Unsurprisingly, cats have nothing to do with stiff muscles. But whilst the word ‘hangover’ usually refers to the after-effects of alcohol, it is also a very fitting way to describe the feeling you get after one pushup too many.
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The origins of ‘Kater’ are thought to come from the Greek word katarrh (catarrh), which refers to the inflammation of mucus membranes, one of the typical symptoms of the common cold.
In colloquial language use, these symptoms soon became conflated with those of a hangover, and eventually with those of post-workout muscle fatigue.
This word is a reminder that exercise, much like alcohol, should be enjoyed in moderation.
Gestern bin ich ins Fitnessstudio gegangen und heute habe ich Muskelkater in meinen Armen.
Yesterday I went to the gym and today my arm muscles are really sore
Hast du Lust, mit mir joggen zu gehen?
Ne, ich habe gestern trainiert und jetzt habe ich einen schrecklichen Muskelkater.
Do you want to go jogging with me?
No, I did a workout yesterday and now I ache all over.