“Morning chick, whats your best way to avoid really bad DOMS? Have I just got to grin and bear it for a while? Getting back into training and this week I can hardly move all week. Should I go back to protein shake after a work out?”
I got that message off my mate Claire this morning and thought it was pretty timely.
See she’s all the way over in the UK so doesn’t get to experience my “in person” knowledge bombs too often.
Which sucks for her, but is good for you – because now you’re going to get the benefit of the answer too.
“DOMS” is delayed onset muscle soreness.
It’s that pain you feel 24-72 hours after a workout.
Typically it peaks around the 48 hour PWO (post workout) mark and is a result of micro trauma to your muscles, and the accumulation of waste products as a result of exercise.
It happens under a few conditions, and I’m gonna share some ways to avoid / lessen the effects.
Before I go on, I should note that DOMS is a normal part of the training process. Being sore is a sign you’ve pushed your body to a new place.
BUT being sore is NOT a good indicator of progress.
Any dickhead can make someone sore, you just gotta do 1,000 reps of an exercise. Pain’s not something you should seek out.
What you ARE looking for is progress.
More density in your workouts.
Muscle going up.
Fat going down.
Once that’s happening – DOMS is irrelevant. If it happens, great. If you avoid it – even better.
It. Is. Not. Necessary.
So, with that outta the way, let’s talk about 3 tips for avoiding DOMS.
1) Get at least 8 hours of sleep after training
You should be sleeping at least 8 hours a night even if you’re not actively trying to avoid DOMS. So this isn’t news.
BUT most people don’t do it. So it’s worth mentioning.
As a general rule, try to sleep when it’s dark, and be awake when it’s bright. Sleep is a beautiful regenerative process where your body’s peak hormone production occurs. That allows it to restore, rebuild and adapt while your brain freshens and you have funky dreams.
Here’s some guidelines on how to get better sleep;
– Avoid electronic devices (phone / laptop / iPad / TV / bright lights) in the 60 minute period before bed
– 45 minutes before bed, pop back some ZMA
– 30 minutes before bed, get into bed and read some fiction
If you don’t sleep, cortisol levels skyrocket. Insulin resistance increases. And testosterone and growth hormone levels plummet. That is EVERYTHING you don’t want.
Developing and sticking to a bed time routine is one of the most powerful things you can do when it comes to gaining muscle and losing fat.
2) Have a recovery shake no more than 30 minutes post workout
This links in nicely with point 1. DOMS is really just a sign of excess exertion, or under recovery. “Recovery” is a two stage process – as mentioned already, sleep is where most of the rebuilding / anabolic adaptations occur. Without that, you’re going to struggle.
What’s more, if you’re missing the building blocks of recovery during that period – you’re truly screwed. Think about it this way – if a ton of builders show up to a construction site (sleep) but there’s no building materials – nothing’s getting done.
So, how much should you be taking in? Most people will do decently off a guideline amount of 25g protein and 50g carbs immediately post workout.
That can be a recovery shake, protein + glucose, or anything you want once it’s liquid and fits into that range. Hell, chocolate milk has been show in studies to be a pretty option against most commercial protein drinks for the purpose of recovery.
…on those 2 points, here’s a challenge.
Do the exact opposite and see what happens.
Start a new training cycle, hit it hard, then don’t eat anything and only sleep for 4 hours that night. You will be absolutely CRAPPLED. And you’ll probably never do it again.
3) Don’t do unnecessary shit
“Unnecessary shit” are things you do that don’y really add anything to your training, other than giving you lots of pain the next day.
So for “normal” folks that’s things like drop sets, forced reps, slow burn negatives, super high reps and endless sets.
Sure, they’re good to throw in every now and again, and for more advanced guys they’re totally necessary. But you should be basing your program around progressive periodisation, getting stronger each workout and not trying to leave the gym absolutely wrote off.
I won’t say you should leave the gym feeling “amazing”, but you should probably leave feeling satisfied you worked hard and aren’t about to puke up a kidney (tho every now and again that may happen)
But hey, here’s the thing – if you just started a new training cycle, have returned to training recently, or are pushing right to the limit, you’re pretty fucked regardless of whether you follow those 3 steps or not.
You’re almost guaranteed to have DOMS for the first week or two.
So you may as well follow those 3 simple steps and do as much as you can to minimize it’s effects right?
PS – we still have 2 spots left for the dudes Alpha Blueprint 6pm Monday/Wednesday/Thursday pre-xmas transformation starting next week, so if you want it, you better holla by applying here now