DOMS is totally normal
Having DOMS is a positive sign – it is an indication that you trained effectively by making a muscle repair itself into a stronger state than it was in before you trained.
5 tips for beating Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
1. Stay hydrated
One easy way to keep your hydration levels up is to keep a water bottle with you while training, and after every set completed or every five minutes of cardio that you complete, such as on a treadmill, take a sip of water.
You also want to be sure to replace the amount of fluid lost during your workout once you have finished training. Try drinking fresh coconut water or an electrolyte drink following your workout to ward off dehydration that can make your muscle stiffness worse. Also try to avoid beverages high in sugar, salt and caffeine, which can increase dehydration
2. Get a Massage
3. Increase Circulation
One way to boost your circulation is through warmth. Try taking a warm (not hot as this can have the opposite effect!) bath, and for extra pain relief, add to it 200 to 400 grams of Epsom salts. The magnesium in the solution can be absorbed through the skin, helping reduce soreness and improve muscle function.
Another circulation-improving trick is to try using form-fitting compression clothing, which can push blood through the veins, slowing fatigue and reducing swelling.
If you find it difficult to reach the state of deep sleep required for a good recovery, then try practicing deep and slow breathing, and also turn off any electronics an hour before going to bed. Taking an salt bath as described above can also help to bring on a state of deep, high quality sleep.
Sleep is a truly regenerative process where your body is able to restore, rebuild and adapt. Developing a good sleep routine won’t only help with DOMS but will also help in gaining muscle and losing fat long term.
5. Active Recovery
Light exercise that can help to stretch the sore muscles can also provide some pain relief by keeping your muscles moving. Even going for a walk, or taking the stairs instead of the lift, will help.
Active recovery can be painful to start, but after a few minutes, when the blood gets flowing and the muscles get warmed up, it will usually start to feel better. Slow, gentle stretching of the area will also relieve that tight feeling and help to reduce the pain.
One way to avoid DOMS from happening is having a cool down phase after each workout. Finish your training sessions with a 10-minute light cardio session, and then do some dynamic stretching like lunges, squats, or arm circles.
At the end of the day, DOMS is a positive reaction and is an alert from the body to ease off the hard training until you feel comfortable again. Ignoring that message from your body can cause more harm than good. Regularly over-training yourself eventually leads to diminishing returns, plateau, and injury – so be sure to listen to your body and what it’s communicating to you in clear, easy-to-understand ways.
The ultimate goal of any training program is to find the optimal balance between work and recovery. So while you stay focussed and motivated on your fitness goals, make sure you keep your training safe and allow time to fully recover to really ensure you have the progress you desire by the end of the year.