DOMS makes more people cry than The Notebook. I’ll give you 15 different ways to make getting off the toilet after leg day just a little easier.
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I love leg day. It’s a strong point for me, it boosts testosterone and growth hormone and I feel like a monster after. So much so, that I made an entire workout program for doing legs everyday and did it for 130+ days.
But, a day later, my ass feels like I dropped the soap in prison and they were not kind to it. Not to mention there have been several occasions where I almost fell down a flight of stairs from my legs giving out after an epic leg day.
And I’m sure you’ve experienced it at least once whether you lifted weights, went skiing, or played basketball for the first time in years. The next day you wake up and your body feels like you aged 40 years. The mere thought of moving hurts. That pain you feel is DOMS or Delayed On-set Muscle Soreness for those scientific types.
I’ll break this to you now, you can’t stop DOMS from happening. It’s like sex with Kobe Bryant (Too soon? or too old?) No matter what the guy from GNC will tell you, there is no product currently on earth that will stop DOMS from kicking your ass. Believe me, if there were, that person would be Scrooge McDuck rich.
WHAT IS DOMS?
DOMS is caused by microtrauma in the muscle and connective tissue (tendons, ligaments) which in-turn cause an inflammatory response. It’s on the same mechanism at work when you sprain your ankle or pull a muscle. That’s when the pain sets in and that’s when you hate life.
DOMS is not a build up of lactic acid. There is no evidence to prove this, it was a best guess of some Bro and another Bro said “Dude that’s genius. Check out my sweet Zubaz.”
BUT DOMS IS A SIGN OF A GOOD WORKOUT RIGHT?
If this question were a relationship status, it would get “It’s complicated”. DOMS is a sign that you added stress to your body in a way that it’s not used to, but it shouldn’t be the measuring stick to determine a good workout.
Confusing I know.
Let’s take a step back for a second, and point out the 3 key points that contribute to muscle hypertrophy (muscles getting bigger):
- Mechanical Tension (Fancy way of saying tension put on muscles)
- Metabolic Stress (the biology behind “the pump”)
- Muscle Damage
Guess which category DOMS falls into?
Hypertrophy can happen with Door #1 and 2 but most people try to pummel their muscles into submission then crawl their way out of the gym like some badge of honor. Yes, I’m guilty of it too so you’re in good company.
But this is a bad practice. Unless you have a gym addiction, the next day or two you want nothing to do with moving, let alone work out again. So you have loss of motivation, and if you are just starting off, that is a bad thing to have.
Next, your strength that you so desperately want to gain, is reduced considerably because the muscles need to repair.
Loss of motivation and loss of strength are not good tricks to use when trying to look better naked.
WHY DO MY LEGS FEEL LIKE DEATH?
DOMS is emphasized on the eccentric or lowering portion of the movement. Typically, when you do leg exercises, the weight is greater than other exercises and you tend to go slower on the lowering portion then you would for say a barbell curl. Be honest, you lower the weight fast on a barbell curl. I’ve seen you.
The eccentric portion puts the most stress on the muscle. So combine slower eccentric portions + heavy weights + repetitions = muscle damage = DOMS bitches!
THIS IS DEPRESSING, IS THERE ANY GOOD NEWS?
There is. The more you lift or do the activity the less DOMS you’ll feel. So move your ass.
OK, I WORKED OUT AND NOW I’M SORE AF – WHAT CAN I DO TO EASE THIS HELL?
Like I said before, there is no preventing DOMS or stopping it quickly, the best we can do is manage it and go slowly down the stairs.
So here is a list of 15 things that I’ve used and are proven to ease your suffering Sally:
- Water: Hydration is the best thing for your body. A hydrated body is an optimized body. Take your weight, divide it in half and that’s at least how many ounces of water should be drinking a day.
- Rub It Out: No I’m not talking about masturbation – pervert. Seriously you might be a sex criminal. I’m talking about massages. More specifically, a sports massage. And no shady places that will give you a happy ending, if you’re in prison, you won’t be able to read my stuff anymore and I can’t have that.
- Cold or heat: For some people ice works better by numbing the area to prevent further damage. Others like heat which increases the blood flow and in turn nutrients to the area to heal faster. 20 minutes on then off every hour for a few hours.
- Staying active: I know this is the last thing you want to do but it helps. If its your legs that hurt, go for a walk or stand while working. Like adding heat, it increases the blood flow to the area better than sitting or laying down.
- Sleep: You recover when you sleep. This is when growth hormone does it’s handy work. 6-8 hours a night.
- Foam Roller: Too cheap for a massage or get creeped out by people touching you? Then let the foam roller be your friend. Roll over the area even if it hurts, you need to increase blood flow and break up scar tissue.
- BCAAs: Branched Chain amino acids increase protein synthesis. Protein synthesis will help rebuild the muscle so you’ll look like Arnold in no time. Take a scoop in between meals and before bed. 1-2 times a day with a proper diet will do wonders.
- Eat: Extra protein. If you’re extra sore up your protein a little to make sure you have an ample supply at all times in your body so it can do it’s dirty work and get you back to normal. At least 0.7g – 1g per pound of body weight.
Now let’s get into the weird stuff where you say really? That works?
- Ginger: No, you are cannibalizing redheads. Ginger has been shown to reduce muscle pain by 24%. It’s not crazy, but it’s better than being in pain. Raw or cooked doesn’t matter.
- Curcumin: Ever see turmeric and it’s bright orange color? Curcumin does that. Curcumin has been shown to relive pain and reduce inflammation. Sprinkle some turmeric on various dishes throughout the day.
- Omega-3 fats: Omega 3’s is an anti-inflammatory and help with the old ticker. Fish oil my friends, invest in some.
- Sulfur/MSM: MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is good for joint health, improving metabolism and reducing inflammation.
- Astaxanthin: This nutrient helps with your recovery time. It’s in salmon and shellfish. Salmon also contains omega-3’s. Hmmm, sound like someone should eat some salmon and stop crying about your sore legs.
- Cherries: Cherries are a proven anti-inflammatory. If cherries are out of season go for tart cherry juice.
- Arnica: It works for marathon runners so it’ll probably work for you.
F-THAT NOISE, I’LL JUST TAKE IBUPROFEN AND BE DONE WITH IT.
Ibuprofen will help with some of the soreness but there a whole host of downside that I don’t want you to mess with.
For instance, chronic use of ibuprofen does a number on your stomach lining especially taken on an empty stomach, it also wreaks havoc on kidney and liver function.
By far the worse thing of all, it is suggested that it may take away from your gainz by reducing protein synthesis and we can’t have that noise.
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