Although DOMS or ‘Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness’ hinders our walking abilities, prevents us girls to tie our hair up in a high bun, and really makes us think twice parking in a disabled parking space, it is often overlooked by us all when it comes down to the management of it. I mean, there’s so much focus and preparation going into ‘pre-workout’ supplementation and our nutrition, that we don’t really pay any attention to our poor muscles that actually pulled you through that ‘AP Monday Madness’ Rev-Session. Some of us may even be aching three days’ after’s and therefore putting us off doing another session due to the soreness of our muscles. So why am I writing about this? Well, along with the general discomfort, it can negatively impact our next workout increasing the risks of injury, and even limiting our progression and ability to train harder more often to therefore obtain better results. So, let’s change this. What do we, Revolution Fitness Academy, recommend to do to reduce DOMS?
Number 1. Cool Down.
There’s a reason why each Rev.Coach ends the session 5-7 minutes before the finish time. I know it’s the last thing you want to do after working hard for 30-40 minutes and all you want to do is go home to eat and rest, however cooling down and stretching helps remove the by-products that accumulate within the body while training, this includes that dreaded Lactic Acid. Although completely normal, Lactate production causes fatigue and gives us that burning feeling when we’re exercising or lifting weights making it important to remove these by-products from the blood as quickly as possible after a workout to prevent muscle.
Number 2. Foam Roll!
Ahhh .. That enjoyable pain of a foam roller. The best thing about these bad-boys is that you can do it at the gym or at home. Regular foam rolling has shown to correct muscular imbalances, alleviate muscle soreness, relieve joint stress, and even improve our range of motion. So how does it actually prevent us aching? Well, when we exercise and muscles become ‘overused’ as it were, “knots” or “trigger” points develop within our muscle fibre’s, decreasing the elasticity of the soft tissue around our muscles. By foam rolling, it increases the blood flow to the muscle which can help break up these twinges and feelings of tightness to feel relief in a shortened muscle.
Number 3. Contrast Water Therapy.
Now this is a long shot, and may not work for everyone but this DOM reduction technique is MUCH easier if you have two baths! If not, flicking from a warm to cold shower is equally effective. Alternating between warm and cold water may reduce muscle soreness by increasing blood flow and alternating the outer vasoconstriction and dilation of our muscles. The constant shifts within tissue temperature may also reduce muscle spasms, inflammation and even improve range of motion. Try to immerse in cold water (8°-15°C) for one minute, and then in warm water (35.5°-45°C) for one to three minutes, repeating three to five times and see how you get on. If it works for you then ‘Horrrahh!” if not, well, at least you tried it.
Number 4. My Favourite … Sleep More!
A good night’s sleep is the answer to everything! Not only is sleep vital for our cognitive function and our overall health, but it is also essential to optimise muscle recovery, hormone production and performance. We like to think that sleep is basically the reset button for our body as it moves into recovery mode, repairing damaged cells and to prepare us for the next day.
If we’re deprived of sleep, we’re not only harming our cognitive and immune function but also our hormonal function. Sleep alters our Cortisol levels, which is often viewed as a catabolic hormone that can impact our muscle soreness recovery, reduce performance, energy and causes chronic fatigue and constant DOMS. In order to keep our cortisol to a minimum, we definitely recommend at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. In addition to Cortisol, sleep also affects our Testosterone and Growth hormone but in a good way, and help our cells repair and allowing them re-grow stronger!
Number 5. Nutrition.
In order for our body to transform and rebuild into what we desire, we need to fuel it. Now, by this I don’t mean stuff your face with anything after a hard workout, as that would just undo what you’ve endured. However, if we replenish with fresh, earth-grown whole foods our body will thrive off them and allow us to reach an optimum level of health. Want to know what you should eat? Visit our ‘Members Lounge’ on our website at www.rev-fitness.co.uk.