By PW Nutritionist Steph Evans
Whether you lift weights in the gym, or workout from home, we can all be prone to muscle soreness post workout. Ever heard of the term DOMs?! I’m sure most of you who are into weight lifting are all too familiar with them. They ache, right?! Well, in this article we give you some advice on how you can help reduce muscle fatigue and soreness post workout, and why so-called DOMs shouldn’t necessarily be an indication of a good workout!
DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
DOMS can occur at any point in your fitness journey, whether you are new to weight lifting, have changed up the intensity or duration of your workouts, or even simply, if you have not warmed your muscles up enough prior to your workout. They usually begin between one to two days post workout and feel like a different kind of muscle soreness than the pain you feel during your sessions. Symptoms include swelling, stiffness, muscle fatigue and short-term loss of strength which is due to tiny tears in your muscles from intense exercise. This damage then results in an inflammatory response to give symptoms. There is often a misbelief that DOMs are a sign of a good workout – but honestly they aren’t always a good thing, and definitely shouldn’t be the marker of your fitness goals!
How to prevent muscle fatigue?
There are a few things you can be mindful to incorporate into your daily lifestyle in order to try and reduce muscle soreness and DOMs before they occur.
BCAAs won’t cure your DOMs but they can help reduce the muscle pain you experience. This is because the branched chain amino acids contained in these supplements are essential for muscle repair (and growth), helping to reduce soreness. Taking a good quality BCAA supplement pre-workout is the best bet to get the most from your workout without the consequences. Our iBCAAs come in a powder form which you can mix with water and take 20-30 minutes prior to your workout or in a capsule form for ease - BCAA capsules. Not only will you benefit from the BCAAs themselves, but hydration is also essential to remove toxins from the body and boost your oxygen supply to the muscle.
If you are looking to increase muscle definition, then a good pairing with our BCAAs is the Toner capsules. Not only do they contain creatine to increase physical performance, but they also contain the Vitamin B complex contributing to a reduction in overall tiredness and fatigue.
- Eat the right foods
Fuelling your body correctly post workout is essential to provide your muscles the nutrients and protein they need to boost recovery! It is important to get a mix of good quality carbs and foods rich in antioxidants alongside your post workout shake to help with the recovery process and reduce inflammation. Try our post-workout blueberry recovery shake which consists of all you need to refuel yourself after a hard session at the gym:
- Whey protein; muscle repair and growth, consumed post workout will help repair muscle fibres broken down during exercise to reduce recovery time
- Creatine: increases oxygen supply to the muscles to assist in recovery, alongside increasing strength during your workouts
- Oats: to replenish glycogen stores post-workout, to ensure you have enough energy to assist your body in recovery
- Berries: high in antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory properties to reduce soreness as well as additional micronutrients beneficial to your overall health!
- Warm up and Cool Down
Stretching both before and after your workouts is important to keep your muscles supple and to reduce risks of injury! Before your workout you should always incorporate a few mobility stretches such as body weight lunges, over arm reaches and “cat cows” to wake up your muscles before jumping into your strength based exercises. Not only will this allow you to enter your workout on top form – it can reduce the sensation of muscle fatigue early into your weight lifting! However, what most of us forget is that your cool down is just as important as your warmup. Some of the best ways to reduce muscle soreness and DOMs after your workout is with foam rolling. Just five minutes a day is all you need to start reaping the benefits!
How do I treat muscle soreness?
If you are already suffering with DOMs there are still steps you can take to reduce your recovery period! Now, you may be tempted to rest and avoid training the affected muscle groups, but this isn’t the best option! Yes, rest may be needed for a day or two if you are suffering badly, however usually avoiding any movement can delay your recovery period! Instead, try to keep moving; even if it’s just a light walk or a yoga session, to help ease the stiffness in your muscles. If your DOMs are really severe, taking over the counter anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) and using ice or heat patches immediately after your workout can both help ease the muscle soreness you may experience from an intense workout.
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