Sore Today – Strong Tomorrow
Ouch and Agony. It’s not fair, yesterday you crushed your WFFA Metafit HIIT session, but today you can't walk, let alone squat. It's that bad that your struggling with simple house hold chores, like putting on your shoes.
You`ve been there before, and you`ll go there again at some point in your `get fit lifestyle`. Don't worry, your body will get back to normal, and it won't take too long. It simply sounds like you've just got a wicked case of the dreaded DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
But what exactly does DOMS mean? And will that insane ache ever go away? All your questions are answered right here…
What is DOMS?
Delayed onset muscle soreness, artfully shorten to DOMS, is an ache, inflexibility and pain that you feel in your worked muscles between 24 and 48 hours after doing high-intensity physical exercise that your body isn't accustomed to. Be encouraged though, even pro-athletes suffer from DOMS when not conditioned to a particular movement.
Why do we get DOMS?
It is most unjust that more pain is our reward for putting ourselves through an uncompromising workout. The facts are that DOMS can be a sign that you did something right or new during yesterday's session, you nailed it girl.
Although the experts can’t exactly agree, and the jury is still out on Why DOMS; Here’s the WFFA latest scoop, hot off the press - you're creating micro-tears in your muscles, so that they recover stronger and firmer, the pain and discomfort you're experiencing shows your fitness is progressing, your unique WFFA journey is being travelled.
Can DOMS be avoided?
Im sorry girls, my answer isn’t `don’t train`.
Although not the latest in trendy up-to-the-minute fitness garb, but some informed gurus recommend knee-high compression socks. You may not feel that sexy wearing them, but you may not feel that sore either – you decide what matters most to you. Apparently, it's best to wear compression socks as soon as you finish exercise and keep them on for 24 hours. Not sexy, not fashionable, but functional.
Eat healthy, nutritional foods – all with key nutrients to help you bounce back, lots of muscle-boosting protein and iron, plenty of vitamin E from spinach and sweet potato, plus an energising dose of vitamin C from your red peppers. Drink lots of water while exercising.
To minimise development of DOMS the following suggestions need to be followed:
Take it slow and gradually build up the amount of exercise you do in your program – remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. Be aware of the amount of eccentric exercise you are including in your workouts, this literally means the lowering phase of the exercise.
What about the dreaded day after the day after; I call it the `what have I done to myself day?
Put quite simply the awful DOMS classically rears its ugly head within 24 hours of your exercise session, then spikes roughly 48 hours later. You’re not dying and you haven’t injured yourself, least I think you may not have if it’s an all-over the muscle and an even feeling across both sides of your body.
We once thought it was a lactic acid build up – i.e. a byproduct of muscle use... We now know DOMS involves a temporary inflammation around your overworked muscles, which is the reason for the soreness. To heal the soreness the body rushes blood cells to the tender muscles, helping you deal that stiff `Im dying` feeling to get worse before it gets better. Know this, after 48 hours, you're definitely on the road to recovery.
What's the best treatment for DOMS?
Some say, nothing helps other say…a cup of Epsom salts in a warm bath.
Epsom salts are rich in magnesium, a magic mineral that helps widen your blood vessels to boost your recovery, and soak soreness from your muscles. You can also buy special magnesium salts, but they're three times the price for basically the same thing. Search for Epsom salts in your pharmacy, next to the indigestion remedies.
Or, if you're feeling seriously brave (that's code for “desperate"), sit in a cold bath for as long as you can grit your teeth. Many professional athletes swear by ice baths because the cold helps combat the muscular micro-tears from intense exercise.
Try this definitive yet hellish solution: Contrast water therapy – alternate a hot bath with an ice-cold shower. Keep swapping between the two for 20 minutes.
Foam rolling can appease sore knots and release tight trigger points in your muscle fibres, do the action deliberately and gently. Breathing deeply as you roll will make the treatment more effective.
If your desperate, try non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
Can I work out with DOMS?
Again `Im sorry`, but yes you can` `yes you sure you can`.
In fact, doing gentle low-impact cardio exercise is the best active recovery along with light stretching.
But save your next dynamic Metafit HIIT workout or weights workout for when your body feels back to normal – your muscles need a little rest before you launch back into a new world record.
First and foremost, you shouldn’t go hard again the next day or even the day after. Mostly because you probably physically can’t— some exercise can help to get the blood pumping to the affected muscles, just go easy; walk or do lighter weights with fewer reps and sets. A light WFFA boot camp is also an option, but again, don't do it aggressively. It can take a week to fully recover, and that might be how long your body needs before you hit it hard again.
What is the final DOMS Diagnosis?
The good news is that most cases of DOMS gradually subside and have no lasting effects. Most cases of DOMS will resolve within one to three days.
However, if the following applies to you then it is best to seek the advice of your physiotherapist.
the pain is still present and not resolving more than 48 hours post exercise.
the pain came on during the exercise (not the day after) and was more sudden in onset.
the pain is located in and around the joints and not just limited to muscles.
there is swelling and discomfort in and around the joints.
If the pain’s not getting better and has lasted a week or more, or if it’s localized to one area or side of your body and your workout was symmetrical (as in, you used your left and right side muscles equally), the pain you’re feeling could be a sign of injury.
In some unusual cases, the damage is so profound that it distresses your body into a condition called rhabdomyolysis, in which the body’s muscles break down to such an extent that their cells flood in the bloodstream and can lead to kidney failure.
Most of the time this isn’t the case, but a little knowledge will keep you safe.
Train hard, look after yourself and be safe – got to love being part of something special – thank you to all of you lovely WFFA women you are a delight.