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Aching After a Workout? Here's How to Help Your Muscles Recover!

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Aching After a Workout? Here's How to Help Your Muscles Recover!

You may not have heard of it, but you’ve almost certainly experienced it. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS for short -  is that feeling of soreness and tightness in the muscles that begins that day after exercise and hangs around for a few days.

Essentially, it’s a good sign, it means that the muscles have been given a good workout. When we train our muscles, tiny tears begin to form, and it’s these tears that cause the pain of aching, tired muscles. The body then works to repair this damage and in doing solayers more lean fibres in the muscles, leading to stronger, bigger muscles and an overall increase in lean muscle mass. Which when combined with the fat burning effects of exercise, is the ultimate goal!

But DOMS is a very real thing and can be hard to work through, delaying the next exercise session. So how do we make sure we minimise muscle soreness and aid our tired muscles on their way to recovery? Stretching, making considered nutrition decisions and taking certain supplements can help. Here’s how.

Stretching it out 

Training causes the muscles, particularly in our limbs and abs, to contract and become tight, leading to stiffness and aches. So, by making the time to add stretching exercises into your routine will help to elongate your muscles again, soothing them back to how they should be. Yoga is great for stretching out the whole body and our yoga programme is designed to suit all levels from beginner to advanced. Aim for two or three sessions a week for the maximum benefit.

Getting the protein balance right

When our muscles begin to repair themselves, they use protein to do so, or more specifically, the building blocks of protein, called amino acids. Protein rich foods are made up of different combinations of amino acids so it’s a good idea to eat a wide range of protein rich foods.

It’s important to make sure you eat a good balance of protein throughout the day. Good protein rich foods include lean chicken, fish, eggs and low-fat dairy products such as cottage cheese. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, or you’re looking to cut down on animal products, it’s still entirely possible to get enough protein. Chickpeas (including hummus), peas, all kinds of beans (including baked beans), lentils, nuts, seeds and soya products such as tofu are all great plant-based sources of protein. 

Our Spinach and Feta Frittata and Quinoa, Cashew and Radicchio Salad are both great, family friendly, protein packed meals.

Relax in the bath

You may have heard this one before, but Epsom salts are a great way to help deal with the dreaded DOMS. Run yourself a warm bath and add a cup of Epsom salts to the water.

When dissolved in water, the Epson salt will break down in to magnesium sulphate. Magnesium works wonders! Helping to promote blood flow, reduce inflammation and reduce muscle soreness.

Supplementing things

Taking a daily supplement isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re going to take one, make it turmeric. Turmeric is a spice used in Indian and Asian cooking and contains an active substance called curcumin that is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. This helps to reduce the levels of inflammation that can build up in the body (particularly so after exercise) and cause the recovery process to slow down.

Of course, you can supplement your turmeric supplements too, by eating lots of healthy, low fat curries such as this Spiced Chickpea Rice and Cashew dish. Enjoy!

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