Muscle soreness aka Doms aka delayed onset muscle soreness, any and every one that has ever worked out in their lives has experienced this before. There’s definitely some confusion about muscle soreness because there are so many different opinions and experiences with this. Some people can’t walk straight for a week straight, some people have minor aches, some people think you should avoid working out with soreness and some people will tell you to push through it.
Let’s first establish what muscle soreness actually is. Muscle soreness is nothing more than your bodies response to adaptation of the training stimulus. It’s the new stimulus for the body that has this affect. Once your body has adjusted to the provided stimulus it will stop improving as fast and will stop giving you soreness as much. So, we should really be asking ourselves the question, is soreness really that bad? Because if we think about it, it shows that the new stimulus is working. Not saying that you have to work until your legs fall off but a little bit of soreness is a good thing in my opinion.
Even though muscle soreness is inevitable for most of us working out on a regular basis, we can definitely do our best to contain this as much as possible.
What to do about muscle soreness?
Keep your protein high
Protein is the nutrient that the body turns to for recovery. The amino acids that make up the protein build the muscles back up after tearing it down during the workout. Think about it this way, there’s a solid brick wall in front of you, out of nowhere someone takes a sledgehammer and swings it into the brick wall and cracks start to show. This is where protein comes in. Not only does protein fill up the cracks that appeared but it builds a new layer of bricks to strengthen the wall. In this scenario the wall represents our body and the sledgehammer represents the training stimulus. Protein makes sure that your muscles are able to get stronger for the next swing of the sledgehammer.
Less protein means that your muscles will take longer to recover.
Keep the blood flow going
Stimulating the blood flow is a great way to allow your body to recover from a training stimulus. By doing this you will make sure that your muscles fill up with a new doze of blood. We have to keep in mind that blood is the transporting vehicle for a lot of vital nutrients and oxygen. Obviously, being able to carry more nutrients and oxygen to the muscles is going to be beneficial to your recovery and soreness.
Think about going for a 30–60-minute walk, a zone 2 (low heart-rate) bike-ride, run, swim or row and yoga to get the job done.
Warm up properly
It might sound weird but managing your muscle soreness starts before the workout really kicks off. By warming up properly we make sure that the body is primed to receive the stimulus. You’re stimulating the blood flow, you’re loosening up the muscles, and you’re priming your CNS* and muscles to get to work.
By priming the body to get to work you’re allowing the body to get ready for what is ahead. You’re simply getting the muscles ready to get to work.
*CNS: Central Nerve System
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