We’ve all been there…
The day after a brutal leg session…
Hobbling about like John Wayne, with sore, achy muscles! Any movement takes you twice as long, walking up stairs is a nightmare, even sitting down on a comfy sofa feels painful!
I’m talking about DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness which happens after working out.
Although at times, the painful aftermath of a good workout feels good – because you know you’ve hit the right muscle! It can also feel pretty uncomfortable and will ultimately affect performance until your body heals.
Ideally we want to try and mitigate the damage done so we can train hard again.
In this post I’m going to share with you The 8 Best Ways To Recover From Muscle Soreness…
#1 Foam Rolling
One of the best methods for reducing DOMS is to use a foam roller. By rolling over tight muscle tissue you will release tension and ease muscular discomfort. It’s like the equivalent of having a sports massage, but you do it yourself! Vibrating foam rolling may be even more effective for relieving muscle soreness
Solution: Spend time before and after your training session on the foam roller. Just 10-20 minutes will lead to a dramatic improvement to your recovery time.
#2 Magnesium Bath
I first used this strategy around 5 years ago, after my personal trainer recommended it. Whenever i’m sore (most weeks!) I will have a magnesium salt bath to help my muscles relax.
Solution: Place 2 cups of epsom/magnesium salts into a hot bath and let your body soak for 20 minutes. Try and do this within 1-2 hours of your workout to minimise muscle damage.
If your muscles are feeling sore, tight and tender then one thing you should consider doing is stretching them out. By doing this you can re-lengthen the muscle and ease some discomfort. Don’t push the stretches too much, be careful and slowly ease your way into more intense stretches.
Solution: Spend 10-30 minutes stretching out tight muscle groups. Hold each stretch for 60s and try to relax with your breathing. When you relax you are able to stretch further.
#4 Rest Day
Rest day? You cannot be serious! “A real athlete trains everyday!” – said no one ever! Don’t be afraid to take a day off the gym (even a couple of days if you are really sore!).
There are different intensities of DOMS, for example sometimes your muscles only ache slightly, but other times you literally cannot walk! When you are seriously sore there’s no point in training.
Solution: Take a chill pill, put your feet up and re-charge – let your body heal! Give yourself 24-48hrs off the gym. One of my favourite things to do on a rest day is relax on an outdoor hammock and read my book (I’m currently reading Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – would highly recomend it!).
Quite a few of my LEP clients have a sports massage every few weeks. This helps them to recover in between intense sessions, and ultimately boosts performance, leading to better results.
Booking in for a massage can help alleviate soreness and also help to realign your muscles so that they instantly feel fresher.
Solution: next time you have a big session planned, make-sure to pre-book in for a sports massage for either one or two days after.
#6 Flow Training
A good way to ease out of the pain is to go to the gym, but do a really low intensity workout. For example a light walk on the treadmill or casual cycle/row. Choose low impact activities that don’t place much stress on the body, but still burn calories, increase blood flow and most importantly get you moving.
Solution: next time you have a bad dose of DOMS either go for a light 30-60 minute walk, or head to the gym and do some light training (40-60% effort) on a cardio machine.
#7 Hydration & Food
Arguably the most important aspect to focus on! In order to recover you need to supply your body with adequate protein throughout the day, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. If you eat processed junk food you create inflammation in the body, joints swell, and aches and pains become more prominent.
Solution: Drink plenty of water (4-6 litres if possible!), combined with healthy food – plenty of lean meats/fish, and vegetables. As an extra recovery tool… I would also recommend taking a good multivitamin, and some anti inflammatory supplements like garlic and turmeric tablets.
This is the time of the day where your body heals the most. When you are free of thoughts and the daily stresses! A good nights sleep will help your mind, and muscles repair.
Solution: Turn off your phone, take a nice, relaxing magnesium bath for 20 minutes and then read a book in bed, before gradually drifting off to sleep. You could also use supplements like magnesium and melatonin to help you further – learn how to sleep better
Thanks for reading,