Recover Faster from Your Workouts in 3 Easy Steps
Have a hard time recovering from exercise? Are your muscles sore for days after finishing your workout? In this case, give your diet a makeover! Certain foods can speed up recovery and boost your gains. Supplements may help too. Caffeine, BCAAs, l-glutamine, and other compounds support muscle repair and ease pain.
First, let's see what causes muscle soreness and how to plan your recovery strategy:
DOMS vs. Acute Muscle Soreness
Sometimes, muscle soreness occurs immediately after exercise and goes away within a day or two. Other times, it occurs 24-72 hours later, causing severe pain and limited mobility. In this case, we're talking about delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS.
For instance when you're training legs, you may feel great right after exercise. Two days later, you can barely get out of the bed. Everything hurts and your muscles feel sore. The pain is dull and aching, affecting your range of motion. It can take up to one week to go away.
From elite athletes to casual gym goers, everyone can experience DOMS. This condition is triggered by eccentric exercise, which causes tears in the muscle fibers. It's a form of muscle damage. Sometimes, the pain is so severe that it's mistaken for an injury or strain.
Any activity that puts stress on the muscles may lead to DOMS. This problem is more common among those who lift heavy weights, run long distances, or push themselves toohard in the gym.
A high number of reps, for instance, will cause more muscle damage than a low number of reps. That's why you should gradually increase workout duration and intensity.
Acute muscle soreness, on the other hand, is less painful and debilitating. Most times, it goes away with a massage or aspirin.
DOMS is what you should worry about. Besides soreness, it may cause swelling, inflammation, decreased strength, and joint stiffness. Even though it's not a serious problem, it can affect your workouts and general well-being.
Beware that dehydration, poor sleep, and bad eating can worsen DOMS. Thus, it's essential to drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet. Your body needs quality fuel to recover from training. Proper rest is important too. Skimping on sleep will affect muscle growth and repair.
Here are some foolproof ways to recover faster from muscle soreness and get back to your workouts:
If you're struggling with DOMS, add glutamine to your diet. This amino acid relieves muscle soreness and accelerates recovery. It also boosts immune function, brain power, and digestive health.
Research shows that glutamine promotes muscle growth and prevents catabolism. This makes it particularly beneficial for athletes. It's also prescribed to IBS suffers as it helps balance mucus production and supports digestion.
Athletes take BCAAs for a reason. Also known as branched chain amino acids, these compounds aid in muscle growth and repair. When used regularly, they improve lipid metabolism, reduce muscle soreness, and ward off fatigue.
Most bodybuilders use these supplements while cutting in order to prevent muscle loss. The three BCAAs - leucine, isoleucine, and valine - enhance athletic performance and increase overall strength. Moreover, they trigger protein synthesis, preventing your body from breaking down muscle protein.
Try Foam Rolling
Have you ever used a foam roller? This simple device can take your pain away and relieve soreness. Foam rolling, also known as myofascial release, is a form of self-massage. When used right, it eases muscle tension, improves circulation, and boosts your range of motion.
Evidence also shows that foam rolling lowers cortisol levels, which helps reduce physical stress. In the long run, it decreases your risk of injury and increases joint flexibility.
These are just a few of the many ways to ease muscle soreness. Depending on how severe the pain is, you can also try massage, physical therapy, or cryotherapy.
- Acute muscle soreness occurs immediately after exercise. Delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS causes pain and swelling 24 to 72 hours post workout.
- DOMS is caused by microtrauma to the muscle fibers. Its symptoms go away within a week or so.
- A balanced diet and proper supplementation can accelerate recovery. L-glutamine, caffeine, BCAAs, foam rolling, and massage support muscle repair.