Author: Ridge Personal Trainer Stacy Peek
If you have started a new strength training routine, or even changed your current one -chances are you are experiencing muscle soreness and it can be a painful experience indeed. Most often, this happens upon waking in the morning. The pain can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. The technical term for this ultra-painful existence is DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
So what exactly causes this misery?
When you push yourself physically, fibers in the muscles tear. As a result, the body’s defense mechanism sends fluid into these areas – causing swelling. The inflammation and swelling triggers the pain, stiffness, and soreness you feel. So now that you know why you are walking like a rodeo cowboy, let’s talk about how to minimize the misery. Below are 8 easy ways to combat DOMS.
1) Nourish– Eat a whole food, mineral rich diet with plenty of veggies and whole grains. Vegetable juices and green chlorophyll-rich foods can relieve muscle inflammation and promote elimination of toxins from the body.
2) Medicate if you must– An anti-inflammatory medication will temporarily ease the pain.
3) Hydrate – Proper hydration before, during, and after exercise is vital. When you’re properly hydrated your body can begin immediate tissue repair. The more quickly your muscles repair, the shorter the duration of muscle soreness. This means you can train more often, which will mean faster results.
4) Snooze– Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night: During deeper stages of sleep your body produces human growth hormone, which results in tissue healing and repair. Skimping on sleep can be detrimental to recovery.
5) Ice and Heat– Icing is mostly for severe cases of DOMS. Icing your muscles will not necessarily aid in the healing process, but it will reduce swelling and pain. It’s a temporary relief from pain that can serve as a good alternative to taking anti-inflammatory drugs. Remember to ice after your workout, never before. Heating muscles before a workout will prep the muscles for movement. An adequate warm up is highly suggested at all times, especially when your muscles are super sore. Heating muscles before a workout gets circulation ramped up and blood flowing again. Failure to warm up properly can result in injury, especially to a muscle that is in recovery mode. 10-15 minutes on any type of cardio equipment should do the trick.
6) Stretch– Post workout stretching is essential to muscle repair. Regular static stretching post workout will increase blood flow and circulation. Be sure to hold each stretch for a minimum of 20-30 seconds for maximum benefit.
8) Massage– This will stimulate blood flow to the muscles and diminish swelling within the muscle. You can also utilize self massage or foam roll.
7) Supplementation– I swear by the benefits of glutamine and BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids).
Glutamine is the most abundant free amino acid in the body. Glutamine is produced in the muscles and is distributed by the blood to the organs that need it. Glutamine aids greatly in muscle repair and also boosts the immune system. During times of muscle stress an additional supplement of Glutamine is beneficial.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein. Therefore, taking them as a supplement can reduce protein and muscle breakdown during intense exercise. Try the combo and see for yourself, I find it cuts my soreness in half which means I can lift more often and produce faster results.