After a good couple of weeks rest from usual training, it’s nice to get stuck in again. The post workout soreness is back with a vengeance. It’s a love hate relationship. Love it because it’s a sign of hard working muscles which have been put through their paces, satisfying in a way. Hate it because, well, it hurts!
Most of us have felt some kind of soreness the in the following days after either a tough workout, or a new physical activity. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the result of more stress and strain placed on muscle tissue than it’s used to. It tends to occur 24-48 hours after activity and can last for as long as 4-5 days! This is perfectly normal and is caused by tiny microscopic tears in the muscle fibres after they have been concentrically contracted (shortening the muscle) and more so, eccentrically contracted (lengthening the muscle). For example – during a bicep curl, more microscopic tears occur during the lowering phase of a curl than in the upward, squeezing phase.
To attain the ‘toned’ tight, firm body most fitness enthusiasts aspire to, breaking down muscle and building it back up again is the only way to achieve this…. and there is no single secret antidote to the inevitable DOMS. Rest, plenty of sleep (gold dust) and some active recovery, gentle exercise such as walking, and swimming will encourage healing, due to increased blood flow. Foam rolling may also help, contrast showers (hot and cold intermittently) may also help.
Most importantly food! Good clean food. Ensure there are enough nutrients freely available in the body to aid a speedy recovery. Tearing the muscle fibres down during the workout and then building them back up by filling in the “gaps” . This illustrates why correct nutrition is so important and goes hand in hand with any type of training. Can you drive a car when it had run out of fuel? No.
Carbohydrate for energy. Protein to re -build. Immediately following a work out is the most ideal time to start aiding recovery while the muscles are hungry for nutrients often referred to as the post workout window . Liquid nutrients are preferable at this time in the form of a fast digesting protein such as a hydrolyzed whey which has already been partially broken down with enzymes from a complete protein for faster digestion. With this, a fast digesting carbohydrate is required to replace glycogen stores which are the energy stores of the body.
Branch chain amino acids are essential for building muscle up. So a good BCAA supplement will help, along with L Glutamine to aid recovery.
Branch chain amino acids , essential as they can not be produced in the body:
Leucine – Helps to inhibit the breakdown of muscle protein as a result of high stress activity, also helps with energy metabolism.
Isoleucine – An antioxidant. Mopping up toxins released during exercise.
Valine – Helps maintain muscle strength during exercise and improves protein synthesis.
L Glutamine – Boosts immune function. Helps speed up wound healing process, cell volume and hydration.
Train, Eat, Rest and supplement wisely.