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Let's Talk about DOMS

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

Delayed onset muscle soreness is the probably the only downside when it comes to being active. We all experience it in varying degrees, however it has been accepted in the fitness community of a natural phenomenon with working out.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is muscle fatigue that happens 1 to 2 (usually 2) days after a work out. It should not last longer than 5 days and usually peaks around the 24-72 hour mark. DOMS is not necessarily a sign that you have had a good work out yet many in the community crave that particular soreness. For me; I do gauge the intensity of the workout based on the soreness I feel in my muscles a few days later. When the work out is too intense and I hate moving, I know I need to pull back next time. If I am a little sore I am fine. Mostly, I look for something in the middle where when I am tight when I sit still and after a little movement my body awakens and feels better.

What is not DOMS:

Sharp muscle pains or spasms

Numbness in a limb

Burning sensations

Pain that is not occurring within the chain of muscles you were working

Pain that occurs during inactivity

Pain that feels like it is focus on any particular organ

Reduced range of motion

A pain that would manifest a fever or other cold or flu like symptoms

Isolated joint pain

If any of these symptoms are encountered contact a medical professional.

What tells you it is DOMS:

Feeling bruised to the touch in the area or muscle chain that was worked

Tightness or stiffness of muscles during the 24-72 hour window

Soreness when taking body through regular range of motion

DOMS usually dissipates within the first 5-10 minutes of a work out with a proper warm-up

Treating DOMS:

The great thing is that DOMS should not prevent you from working out. Often this is the reason for split training, or a training different muscle groups on different days. While the lactic acid build up causes the stiffness in the muscles a little movement helps to break up that build up and move it out of the body.

Make sure adequate rest between workouts is a priority. Sleeping is incredibly important for muscle development because most of the repair and rebuilding happens in that delicious slow-wave/deep sleep. That particular portion only accounts for 10-20% of your sleep cycle, so it is imperative to sleep for at least 6-8 hours to get that deep sleep.

Drinking water is another way to help with the lactic acid build up. The more we drink water, the more we have the opportunity to rid waste from the body through our sweat, urine, and feces. Sounds gross but water helps in cellular repair, oxygenating the body and removing waste. So drink up.

Movement in particular cardio has been found to be beneficial in relieving the symptoms of DOMS as well as breaking up the lactic acid. Because cardio-respiratory training uses a different energy system called oxidative process and not fermentation process which produces lactic acid, there is little risk in getting in a light jog or run, using a bicycle, stationary bicycle, or elliptical. In fact, within the first 5-10 minutes you may feel as if there was never muscle soreness. However, DOMS may return at a lesser intensity after your workout, which is fine. Stretching, which is your first defense against DOMS should be done after every workout and sporadically throughout the day anyway, yet a nice hot yoga class will have your muscles feeling brand spanking new.

Some say that nutrition can help. It is in my opinion that your diet should be balanced and always giving you adequate essential nutrients : Carbs, Fats, Proteins, Vitamins, Minerals, and water. However, if there is routine that one enjoys that puts them in a mindset of healing, go with that. Otherwise some anti-inflammatory foods can be helpful.

My favorite care for DOMS is a bubble bath. Nothing like a long soak to help release tension. Just be careful getting into the tub after leg day ha ha.

Here is my bath recipe:

Water that is warm, go on the cooler side because hot water can always be added.

1/4 oz Dr. Teal's Lavender Relax bubble bath

2 cups Epson salt (my vote is for lavender as well) placed 5 minutes before getting into the tub

3-4 drops of Tea Tree essential oil

3-6 drops of Lavender essential oil

7 candles

1 glass of white wine

1 liter of ice cold water (colder if you can)

Enjoy your work outs and care for that body, honey!

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