Pain or pleasure? It’s kind of how you frame it.
I’ve been working out pretty consistently for almost a decade but lately, I’ve been experiencing something I haven’t in a long while. A feeling I’ve realized I’ve been missing… sort of… delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS.
That feeling where just walking feels like a stretch and the foam roller feels like a titanium pipe. If you’ve experienced it you know exactly what I’m talking about. And you also know why I only “sort of” miss the feeling. Truth is, now that I’m experiencing it again it’s like a drug that I can’t get enough of… I crave that sense of improvement, knowing physically that I’m putting in work that will lead to a stronger body.
DOMS is achieved after the muscle tissue is stressed beyond what it is normally accustomed. This can be reached a few ways, (1) increasing the number of reps with a weight you’re used to or (2) racking on a couple extra plates and pushing that sumo back squat to a new personal record or (3) hitting the muscle from a different angles. To build muscle, all you need to do is create micro tears in the fibers and have them repair and rebuild a little bit larger due to the scar tissue that binds them together.
The idea is for your body to become accustomed to the new level of stress so the next time you perform the movement it becomes a little easier. I’m not gonna lie, it’s kind of an rough feeling, but if you’re serious about changing the way your clothes fit, sometimes it’s a necessary one.
While there is no magic pill to rid this feeling (and I wouldn’t even want to) foam rolling, stretching or going for a short walk before or after a workout (or literally whenever) can help relieve this feeling. The more you move the better it gets… feels counter-intuitive when it happens but from my few years in the biz, it’s real.
I wrote an article a few months ago about sleep. As far as muscle recovery goes, when you’re zonked out is when a majority of it happens so shoot for 7-8 hours/night.
Branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) have been proven to decrease muscle soreness AS WELL AS maintain and build muscle fibers. Found highly in whey, soy, beef, chicken, fish and eggs it can also be found in chickpeas, beans, lentils, brown rice and cashews BCAA’s are important for protein synthesis and helps with muscle building.
So if you’re sore, like really really can’t sit on the toilet sore (especially if you’re new to this), don’t be surprised if you get to experience this first-hand. Enjoy it, embrace it and seek out the next one. I promise you’ll get a little closer to the changes you’re looking for every time it happens.
If you want to read a little more on this here’s a pretty thorough article from bodybuilding.com