Who remembers their first bootcamp class? More specifically, who remembers how they felt the day AFTER their first bootcamp class? I’m willing to bet that you were pretty sore. So for today’s article, I’m going to discuss what that muscle soreness is and how it relates to our fitness in general.
WHAT IS IT?
Muscle soreness is also referred to as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). It’s widely accepted that DOMS is micro-tears of the muscles caused by the stress of intense exercise. Essentially, we get DOMS when the demand of the exercise intensity exceeds our body’s threshold for it. DOMS can occur anywhere in the body and can start appearing anywhere after 12 hours of exercise and may last up to a week or longer.
Despite common belief, muscle soreness does notnecessarily mean your building muscles or getting better results. DOMS is simply a process of muscle repair, not muscle growth.
The most common reasons for severe DOMS are:
-Starting a brand new fitness routine or continuing after a long break
-Increasing your exercise intensity
-Lowering your caloric intake
Generally speaking, those who exercise consistently tend to have much milder bouts of DOMS than newbies. Some of the fittest people in the world can withstand very intense exercise without getting sore because the intensity of the exercise rarely exceeds their bodies threshold to cope with it.
So, DOMS are neither bad, nor good. Do not judge your workouts based on how sore you are the next day. Studies have thoroughly disproved the notion that soreness is a great indicator of your fitness routine.
CAN I EXERCISE THROUGH IT?
It is fine (and even advisable) to exercise through mild to moderate muscle soreness. However, if you have severe DOMS that make it difficult to move your joints, it’s probably best to rest. Perhaps, go for a walk to keep the joints lubricated. Taking aspirin will not speed up the recovery process at all.
HOW TO LIMIT DOMS?
If you exercise with intensity, you’ll probably continue to get DOMS from time to time. You should always be on a relentless pursuit to improve strength, and overall health. There are a few things you can do to limit the likelihood of experiencing severe DOMS:
-Eat most of your carbs before and after your workouts.
-Introduce mobility work after your workouts (not just stretching).
-Try to move around as much as possible after your workouts
Never shy away from a tough workout out of fear of experiencing muscle soreness. It happens to all of us, and it’s normal. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking that muscle soreness = results.