We’ve all experienced post-workout pain. It doesn’t matter what your level of athleticism is – you could be a seasoned athlete in a professional sport or it could be your first workout.
Either way, if you’ve ever felt it, you know exactly what I’m talking about: it’s the pain you feel the next morning when you go to put on your clothes and you feel like you have invisible elastic bands pulling you backwards. And how about the pain that makes you regret the sitting down or standing up process EVERY DARN TIME?
That’s called DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and it’s our bodies’ response to a change in our level of activity. Any time you start a new exercise routine, change your program or increase in intensity, you will be met with some DOMS in the days to follow.
Ouch…what is happening to my body?!
The delay can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, and typically lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 days. That means that the whole process of recovery takes about a week, give or take a couple of days, and depending on your level of fitness plus intensity of the workout.
DOMS pain can range from mild to severe, with the most severe pain lasting up to 24 hours.
Now, this pain can be an indication of physical improvement, but it could also be a bad thing, so pay attention to what your body is telling you.
This onset of workout-related pain can be very daunting for people who are new to physical fitness and exercise.
However, it’s important to understand that this pain does not last long, is normal, and is a physical sign that you are getting stronger and more flexible.
If the pain is still noticeably sharp/dull and lasts longer than 5 days, you may have actually injured yourself and will need to act on injury management for the affected area immediately. This means seeing a physician and having it looked at properly – do NOT go to WebMD to try to diagnose yourself.
It’s also important to note that if you experience any pain during your workout – like the acute pain from injuries like muscle sprain or strain – you should immediately stop the workout and work to repair the injured area.
Athletes and experienced fitness enthusiasts that are affected by DOMS tend to recover quicker than someone who just started an exercise routine.
At the end of the day, DOMS is a type of muscle conditioning which means that as time goes on and your fitness level increases, your experience sucks less and less. You will tear fewer muscle fibers, recover faster and your overall pain response will diminish…until you feel like switching it up again.
Getting back to normal
I’d like to share some quick notes on recovery since I’m talking a lot about pain and being in pain for extended periods of time.
I’ve personally used this recovery “stack” for the last 7 months, and it has helped me tremendously – I recently started a new workout program that has beaten my @$$, and this stack has been my saving grace.
When our bodies endure extreme over-activity and begin to experience symptoms of fatigue, that is a direct result of our adrenal glands being hyperactive. To help reduce levels of cortisol and inflammation, the following supplements can be of assistance (when taken daily for a minimum of 2 weeks).
Glucosamine – Helps treat osteoarthritis through the reduction of inflammation, joint swelling and bone/muscle stiffness.
Coenzyme Q10 – Our bodies produce it naturally, however our natural production begins to diminish as we get older. It also aids the in preventing heart disease, helps reduce inflammation, improves memory and cognitive performance.
Green capsules – Find the capsules with Spirulina, Chlorella and Cruciferous sources. These pills are very high in micro-nutrients and antioxidants. They help deliver oxygen to the bloodstream and help provide an overall good feeling.
MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) – Reduces inflammation, joint pain and arthritic symptoms. Improves overall immunity, recovery rate and skin health
Turmeric – acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant to help reduce oxidative stress and improve recovery time.
If you’ve been feeling rough after your workouts and want some expert help in making sure your form is good and you’re working efficiently towards your goals, feel free to click here and book your FREE CONSULTATION & ASSESSMENT.
Wes Van Hart is a personal trainer, nutritionist (and far more), located in Toronto. Wes is an advocate for constantly improving both physical and mental health, and as such, he is dedicated to advancing his knowledge base, certifications and ability to help his clients, no matter how that looks.
Wes was the very first FitIn affiliate, and is a regular contributor to the FitIn blog.