It’s the day after a brutal workout and it’s never been such a mission to get out of bed or even sit on the toilet?! Unfortunately, there comes a time in our fitness journey where we experience this type of dilemma. Muscle soreness can be a good thing because it can be an indication that you had an effective workout. However prolonged muscle soreness can have a negative impact on your overall progress if it carries over into your next workout. In this article, we will discuss different strategies to help prevent and speed-up muscle soreness.
What is Muscle Soreness and what causes it?
Muscle soreness is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). DOMS is caused by small myofibril tears that occur from resistance training or just an unfamiliar strenuous physical activity. DOMS starts to develop 24 – 72 hours after a new or strenuous workout. Any soreness lasting over 72 hours post workout is considered severe DOMS. Working out with severe DOMS causes muscle stiffness, decreases strength, and increases the risk of injury. Clearly severe DOMS can negatively affect your performance and disrupts the proper recovery process.
Here are eight scientifically proven tips to help you prevent severe muscle soreness and speed up muscle recovery so you can get stronger and build muscle at a much faster rate.
Don’t Forget your Omega-3 Fatty-Acids
Many of us are aware of the amazing health benefits Omega 3 fatty acids provide but did you also know that consuming Omega 3 fatty acids can also be an effective way to reduce muscle soreness. A recent study found that the participants that consumed Omega 3 supplementation experienced less muscle soreness than the group that didn’t. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation through the whole body so this outcome makes total sense.
To get the most benefits out of this try consuming 1-3g of a high-quality omega-3’s. Another way to get omega-3 fatty acids is by increasing your fatty fish intake like salmon.
Consume Enough Protein
Consuming an adequate amount of protein is essential if you want to build muscle and recover properly. Protein provides your muscles with the necessary building blocks of muscle to help them grow, get stronger and helps aid in muscle repair. So make sure to consume enough protein throughout the day to experience these benefits.
Here is my favorite and the protein powder I use on a daily basis:
Incorporate Foam Rolling
Recently foam rolling (Self-Myofascial Release) has increased in popularity due to its variety of benefits. Foam rolling is great for improving mobility, increasing blood flow, and reducing muscle soreness. Studies show that foam rolling is a great way to aid recovery.
To get the most benefits out of this perform a 10 min foam rolling session after your workout and stick to the muscle you worked out. If your time is limited no worries, you can also foam roll hours after your workout. While foam rolling try to focus on the very tight areas and keep constant tension on those muscles until you feel some relief. This will hurt but you want to make sure that you take your time on these areas and not go over them too quickly.
Active recovery — “cool down” is another great way to reduce muscle soreness. Active recovery helps increase the blood flow stimulation improving circulation which in turn helps reduce muscle pain.
Active recovery consists of low-intensity exercises involving the muscles worked. For example, if you trained legs you will benefit the most by cycling or using the Stairmaster. To get the most benefits out of this try performing active recovery immediately after your workout and within the days following your workout for about 10 mins after foam rolling.
Get Daily Quality Sleep
Don’t neglect sleep, getting an adequate amount of sleep is crucial and can be the most effective treatment when it comes to muscle recovery. In fact, this is the time the body produces the majority of its growth factors and hormones that help support muscle repair and recovery. So make sure you are getting enough shut-eye and sleep the recommended 7-8 hours per night.
If you are new to working out or are starting a new workout program its always a good idea to ease your way in. Muscle soreness can be inevitable when you are new but starting slowly can help you feel less achy. Do this by working at a lower intensity and using less weight than you normally would.
Muscle soreness can be a good indicator of an effective workout, sometimes. Any muscle soreness lasting longer than three days is considered severe DOMS which can have a negative effect. To help reduce or prevent severe muscle soreness make sure you take the adequate steps and incorporate them into your daily routine to get the most benefits out them.