Updated: Nov 16, 2020
We all know the feeling, you wake up the following day from a great workout and... ouch!! your body has decided to get the right hump and decide to make your life a complete misery for the next couple of days struggling to move, unable to complete life's daily tasks without the need to wince. This feeling is completely normal and is nothing to worry about but what is this pain? why do we get it? and how can I make it stop?
What is DOMS?
Delayed onset muscle soreness, otherwise known as DOMS, is a stiffness and pain that you feel mainly between 24-48 hours that can sometimes last up to 72 hours depending on the severity of your DOMS.
Why do I have DOMS?
DOMS affects the body after performing a high-intensity workout that your body isn't accustomed too, this is the reason why you experience DOMS a lot more during the early days of your training programme - stick through the plan, your body will get accustom to your training with DOMS becoming less common as your become stronger and fitter.
Why do we get DOMS?
While the exact mechanisms are not well understood, DOMS appear to be a product of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue elements that sensitise nociceptors and thereby heighten the sensations of pain; as a summary DOMS appear to occur due to connective tissue micro trauma - while most exercises can induce some DOMS, exercise with a greater emphasis on the eccentric phase (the lengthening/stretching phase) plays the most significant role to DOMS.
What's the best treatment for DOMS?
It's not all bad, there are treatments you can do to help ease the stiffness and get yourself back to normal in no time - here is my top recommendations;
Epsom Salts - Pour a cup of Epsom salts into a warm bath, Epsom salts are high in magnesium sulphates, this has a variety of benefits including reducing stress, relieving pain and cramps, help muscle and nerve functionality and more.
Cold Bath - Not one for the faint-hearted, soon as your a past the initial shock, a cold bath can help combat muscular micro-tears.
Supplements - Here are my 3 recommended supplements to help speed up your recovery of DOMS and what they are good for; BCAA'S - One of the most common intra and post workout recovery supplements right now are Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's). The BCAA's consist of: L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Valine. These are three of the amino acids that are found in normal protein structures, however in this form they are considered to be unbound.This increases the rate of absorption of amino acids, and allows the amino acids to be shuttled into the blood plasma. By taking the BCAA's in particular, muscle catabolism (the breakdown of muscle) can be prevented quickly, especially for usage in high-volume cardio work. Whey Protein - Protein is important for what should be obvious reasons. Without getting into the science, protein should be consumed in amounts relative to your body weight. Aim for 0.1 - 3 grams of protein in the form of Whey Protein and attempt to drink it ASAP following your training session, if not during your training session. Creatine - Creatine is the superstar of inter-set recovery. Creatine does two main things for performance athletes: it super-hydrates muscle cells, and it boost the production of ATP (which drives performance). To summarise it, to say that if you aren't supplementing with at least 3 grams of creatine monohydrate a day, you are missing out on the most proven, the most inexpensive, and the most beneficial increaser of performance we currently know of.
Exercise - I know this may sound like a crazy one, but having a light workout can help reduce the effects of DOMS. If you have had a big lower body session for example, look at getting those legs moving the following day with some cardio work, stepper and light bodyweight exercises such as squats and lunges increasing your range of movement throughout the session.
Stretching - Mobility and static stretching can help reduce the effects of DOMS, please note, if you are looking to do static stretches that you should complete a light workout routine prior to ensure you reduce your risk of injury. The best way to look at your muscles are like elastic bands, the warmer the elastic band (muscle), the further you can pull without causing the band to snap, this can be seen with a muscle being able to increase the range of movement and reducing the risk of injury such as a pulled muscle once warmed up and blood flow increased.
Massage - Before committing to a regular masseuse, try working with a foam roller to start with to help ease out any soreness you will be having, look to work lightly with the roller. Soft tissue massage can also help reduce the DOMS although this could end up being a costly option.
Aqua-therapy - Similar to a bath, going swimming is a great way to reduce the effect of DOMS, becoming weight-less in the water allows you to improve your movement and increase your blood flow to help shift the lactic acid sitting on the muscle.
Can I workout with DOMS?
Yes of course, as mentioned above, it can either be a light session or swimming to help ease the soreness or you can have a split training programme; if you have had a lower body session the day before and have DOMS, you could have an upper body to help rest the lower body - this will also allow you to have an intense workout but using a new muscle group.
I've had a session and not had DOMS?
No problem, not all sessions will lead to you to having DOMS the following day, As your body becomes accustom to your training you will have little DOMS effect or non at all, this certainly doesn't mean you haven't trained hard enough, your training is designed on structured programme, this means as you are working towards the end of your programme your body will start becoming accustom to the programme.
DOMS meal replacement recipe...
Wheat Berry Salad with Corn, Tomatoes & Salmon
Despite the name, wheat berries aren’t fruit. They’re wheat seeds, and they retain a lot of the plant’s nutritional benefits because they are completely unprocessed. In this summery salad, wheat berries contribute 9 grams of protein per serving, yet only a gram and a half of fat.
Additionally, they pack a lot of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins. This salad will be delicious on its own, but it’s even better tasting with greater nutrition if you have leftover salmon to add to the bowl.
1 lb. (about 2 cups) dried wheat berries
1 tsp. cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup champagne vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
1 lb. ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
3 ears fresh corn (or 2 cups corn kernels)
1/2 cup fresh basil (or cilantro), roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups spinach
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
4 cooked salmon fillets (about 4 oz. each)
Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)
Protein: 35 grams
Carbs: 73 grams
Fat: 22 grams
Put quinoa in pot large enough to accommodate an additional 5 cups of water.
Add cumin and large pinch salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until wheat berries are al dente but not too hard; I like them with the slightest bit of tender under a considerable chew.
While the wheat berries are cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Add oil, shallots and garlic to pan, and saute until just golden. Deglaze with vinegar and set aside.
Put all other ingredients in a bowl, and salt and pepper liberally.
If there is any water left in the pan, strain off water and add warm wheat berries to bowl of ingredients. Add lemon zest and juice and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
If desired, top with grilled salmon, sausages, tofu or feta.
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