Understanding Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

DOMS Have you ever adopted a new workout regimen, then ended up kicking your ass so hard that you became discouraged from the pain you experienced after your workouts? If so, you were probably taken by surprise when delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) set in. What often occurs is that people adopting new exercise regimens may become quickly discouraged, usually because they don’t understand why they are so sore, and will back off from exercising without ever getting a chance to maintain consistency. However, DOMS may be a beneficial signal that your workouts are challenging enough to make a difference.

DOMS typically develops between 24 to 72 hours after physical activity, and is considered a relatively normal and common result of activity that challenges muscle tissue. One popular but flawed theory is that the microscopic tears which occur in the muscle fibers after exercise, coupled with the release of lactic acid and protons, are responsible for the muscle soreness which characterizes DOMS. Mizumura and Taguchi determined in an important study that neurotrophic factors are produced by muscle fibers and satellite cells, and are critical for the development of DOMS symptoms. They also determined that damage to muscle fibers was not a necessary component of DOMS, further suggesting that a neurological cascade is what results in the post-exercise soreness.

For the most part, the aches and pains which characterize DOMS are assumed to be a sign that your muscles are adapting to the activity which caused them to develop in the first place. Rather than shying away from physical activity in the long term, the general recommendation is to take it easy for a few days, while still exercising, until the pain subsides. However, those of us who are gym rats and fitness freaks will tend to adopt the “Suck it up, buttercup!” mentality, powering through workouts as best we can while our bodies scream out in general agony.

So what can you do if you have DOMS and you want to lessen the severity and duration of the soreness? The truth is, not much. However, here are some suggestions which you might want to try. Keep in mind that none of these suggestions is proven to ameliorate DOMS, but none will worsen the symptoms either.

• consumption of plenty of water both during and after exercise
• consumption of a protein-rich meal after exercise
• glutamine
• cherry juice
• vitamin D supplementation
• compression garments
• Epsom salts
• application of heat

One thing to bear in mind is that if you are consistently working out at the same intensity, your muscles will become familiar with that intensity, essentially adapting to it. This phenomenon is called the repeated bout effect (RBE), and basically means that you will most likely notice a drop-off in DOMS episodes. If you suddenly increase the intensity or duration of your workouts, the chance of developing DOMS will return.

Obviously if you believe you have a specific injury, and not DOMS, then get it evaluated and rest up.

Mizumura K, Taguchi T. Delayed onset muscle soreness: Involvement of neurotrophic factors. J Physiol Sci. 2016 Jan;66(1):43-52.

Royal Sport Ltd. Charge Review

Charge Strawberry Kiwi

I am a big believer in supplementation with branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) and silk amino acids (SAA) and have tried many brands out there. I can honestly say that I notice a pronounced difference in my post-workout recovery periods when I use Royal Sport Ltd. Charge BCAA-SAA Blend. Charge delivers 5 grams of SAA’s and 4 grams BCAA’s per scoop, and dissolves beautifully in water. Ever since I began using Charge as my BCAA-SAA, I have noticed a dramatic decrease in the amount of delayed onset muscle soreness from my workouts, especially when I engage in extremely intense leg days or delt days (I’m trying to build up my shoulders). I used to wince when walking downstairs the day after pounding legs, but these days, I don’t get that breathtaking soreness. It almost messes with me because I almost welcome that feeling of wobbly, wrecked legs!

What about the flavors? I absolutely love the Raspberry Lemonade and Fruit Punch flavors and could drink them all day without being overpowered by sweetness. I guess I am a bit of an oddball because I don’t want overly sweet flavors, especially when I am consuming something throughout the day. The Raspberry Lemonade flavor has a good balance of raspberry and lemon flavors and is really refreshing when put on ice. I also really like the Strawberry Kiwi flavor but sometimes find that this flavor gets a bit too sweet when I drink it throughout the day, so I just add more water to dilute it a bit and it’s fine. Though I like the Blood Orange flavor, it isn’t my favorite, but that’s just personal preference. I tend to get very tired of orange flavored products very quickly. Case in point: in a rare moment of soda consumption, I chose Orange Fanta Zero, and after about three sips, I was tired of the orange flavor. If you love orange flavor, then you would probably love the Blood Orange, but it’s just okay for me.

Overall, Royal Sport Charge is a superior product with great flavors!

You can find Royal Sport Ltd. products at GNC stores and through GNC.com: