Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (AKA ‘DOMS’) is a common result of going to the gym, and it’s especially noticeable after doing resistance training. Whilst it’s a good sign you’ve worked hard, it can be a frustrating thing to deal with after your session when all you want to do is get back to training. However, there are some things you can do, including eating certain foods, foam rolling and stretching, to help reduce muscle soreness.
Snack on yoghurt and berries
Berries are packed with vitamin C as well as polyphenols, both of which are believed to work as powerful antioxidants (link to article on berries). Antioxidants remove harmful free radicals, which is important for reducing muscular and cellular damage, especially after exercise that involves heavy exertion. Top some plain Greek yoghurt with a handful of mixed berries for a post-workout snack that’ll help muscles recover.
Top your porridge with nuts and seeds
Selenium is another important antioxidant, yet it’s often overlooked and, as a result, many of us could be missing out on its DOMS-busting properties. However, brazil nuts are a great source; a small handful is enough to reach our recommended daily intake. Nuts and seeds have the added benefit of being high in protein; an absolute essential for the growth and repair of muscles. Moreover, some (walnuts and chia and flaxseeds) are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties Reap the nutritional benefits of nuts and seeds by sprinkling them on your morning porridge.
Foam roll and stretch after sessions
Foam rolling and stretching (link to my new article on stretches) increase blood flow to the muscles to relieve stiffness, lengthen muscles, and improve flexibility. Yes; it may feel uncomfortable, but foam rolling is our favourite after a workout to help recovery and ease soreness. When using the foam roller, hold pressure on any sensitive areas for at least 20-30 seconds, or until you feel the tension lessen and the muscle start to relax.
DOMS is caused by a combination of inflammation and micro tears in muscle, as well as lactic acid build-up. However, nuts and seeds, and berries are great supermarket buys that can help reduce these effects and get you ready to smash your next workout. Include at least one of these food items in your post-workout meal. Pair this with adequate stretching and a side of foam-rolling after your sessions and you will recover much better.