“Muscle soreness is the new hangover.” -GYMAHOLIC
Sore from a tough workout? Did you overdo it or are you just getting back into working out? Lets chat about what muscle soreness really is and how to naturally manage it at home.
Despite the popular myth, the soreness you feel after working out is not from lactic acid build up. If it was lactic acid build up the soreness you feel after completing your last rep would not go away. The soreness you feel the morning after a tough workout is called DOMS or delayed-onset muscle soreness.
What is DOMS?
When you experience delayed-onset muscle soreness, you are experiencing some degree of muscle injury and a period of muscle rebuild. This myofibril tears triggers an inflammatory response and intramuscular shifts in fluid and electrolytes.
This soreness is typically felt 24-72 hours after strenuous exercise and there are actually biomarkers in blood that can measure DOMS such as creatine kinase and lactic dehydrogenase.
How can you naturally manage DOMS?
1. Start moving
Although you are stiff and sore, one of the best things you can do is move. That does not mean jump back into strenuous exercise; it can be going for a light walk.
Your muscles are tight and stretching will make DOMS hurt more, but its good for you! Sign up for a gentle yoga class or do yoga at home with apps/websites such as doyogawithme or yogaglo
Since there is an intramuscular fluid and electrolyte shift with DOMS, staying hydrated with water and electrolytes is crucial. My favorite electrolyte supplement is called Ultima Replenisher. I personally don’t like stevia so I dilute it in a huge bottle of water (of course stainless steel or glass).
4. Take an Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt is rich in magnesium which helps relax your muscles and speed up recovery. This is my favorite epsom salt and it has activated charcoal and lavender in it. Soak for 20-30 minutes for best results!
Branched Chain Amino Acids: amino acids are building blocks for protein and play a vital role in rebuilding muscles. Here are two different clean(er) BCAA supplement: Truth and Garden of Life Sports Protein.
Magnesium: I know I am a broken record, but this is a crucial mineral for muscle recovery. I like magnesium glycinate because it is well absorbed and gentle on your digestive tract (less chance of diarrhea)
L-carnitine: this is an important amino acid that has been shown to decrease muscle soreness at doses of 2,000 mg per day. L-carnitine helps fuel the mitochondria, which is the powerhouse in our cells.
6. Use the GRID post workout
Using the GRID or other foam rollers post workout help with myofascial release. The purpose of foam rolling is to get contracted muscles to relax and improve blood flow and nutrients to the muscle group.
So is muscle soreness good?
Yes to a degree. You can’t build more muscle (hypertrophy) without injuring the muscle first. Muscle soreness is typically dull, achy and stiff; if you are experiencing sharp pain that requires further evaluation. Also if you are extremely sore after 48 hours, chances are you may have over done it. Remember the saying “no pain, no gain” is not always correct. You should enjoy physical activity and challenge yourself as able. Above all, always work at your own pace!