We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt it.
Some of us call it “Second Day Soreness”.
The experts among us? They call it “DOMS” (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), otherwise known as that hellish 24 – 72 hour period post-workout where our walk gradually begins to resemble that of the Tinman’s. Not cute.
While DOMS is usually a good thing (the sign of a serious workout!), it can feel like a setback when it comes to getting back in the gym!
So, to help us get back in the gym faster (that summer body isn’t going to sculpt itself), we called upon eight top trainers to share their go-to tricks for faster muscle recovery:
#1 Recovery Tip: MOVE MORE
Isobel Lee, Personal Trainer
My number one tip would be to move more! I know that when we’re feeing sore and beat up after a workout sometimes it’s easy to decide to take a rest day, but some light movement can actually be better for recovery than staying still.
This is because movement promotes blood flow, which in turn increases oxygen and nutrient supply to the muscles which are both necessary for proper recovery.
#1 Recovery Tip: ROSEHIP POWDER
Jessica Spendlove and Chloe McLeod, The Health And Performance Collective
Rosehips are a source of numerous vitamins and is also one of nature’s richest sources of Vitamin C. They’re also a powerhouse of antioxidants. Much of the anti-inflammatory action of rosehip is attributed to a key phytochemical known as GOPO.
Backed by over 30 scientific studies including nine double-controlled trials, Rose-Hip Vital powder with GOPO has been formulated specifically to contain this active ingredient.
It may support joint health, protect cartilage, reduce pain, stiffness and swelling often associated with mild arthritis. It also supports the immune system due to its rich nutritional content.
#1 Recovery Tip: MAGNESIUM
Kelii Grauer, Barre and Dance Instructor and the Founder of KBOD Fitness
Magnesium! I encourage all of my members to add magnesium to their post workout drink (hydration is everything)- magnesium is a critical supplement to help speed up recovery and reduce muscle soreness.
#1 Recovery Tip: YOGA
Ben Lucas, Founder of Flow Athletica
While yoga is not really my go-to workout, practising on a semi regular basis can help to improve your flexibility, mobility and recovery. Especially if you are letting a lot of weights or running long distances!
In fact, a study by the American Council on Exercise, found that regular practice of yoga (hatha specifically) significantly improved the subjects flexibility, muscular strength, endurance and balance. After eight weeks, the group improved their flexibility by 13 percent to 35 percent.
Because some of the styles of yoga involve holding poses for an extended period of time, building strength is embedded in the experience.
This makes it great for balance, flexibility, mobility and mental endurance all at once.
#1 Recovery Tip: CRYOTHERAPY
Shaun Button, Recovery Expert, Personal Trainer and Founder of Koa Recovery
Whole body cryotherapy was originally developed in the 70s by a rheumatologist to help manage pain associated with arthritis and reduce inflammation in the body.
There have been a number of studies which have shown how whole body cryotherapy reduces inflammation, increases joint range of motion and increases recovery time making the therapy popular with athletes
Whole body cryotherapy is also popular for the enhancement of performance.
Damien Cook, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Cristiano Ronaldo, James Magnussen and Mo Farah to improve their performance and optimise recovery.
Celebrities are also turning to cryotherapy to help recovery from their intense training programs including Demi Moore, Jessica Alba and Monika Radulovic.
#1 Recovery Tip: STRETCHING x 2
Tegan Haining, Celebrity Trainer and Author of the 7 Day Quickie
Stretching, or simply any kind of movement is important both immediately after your workout and when the DOMS sets in.
Many of my clients don’t want to move their body too much if they are sore from training.
However, I encourage them to move through the pain for 5-10 mins of light stretching, lunges, squats or upper body rotations to increase blood flow and circulation, helping the body recover and rebuild faster.
#1 Recovery Tip: REGULAR FOAM ROLLING
Lorna Jane Clarkson, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Lorna Jane
Mine would have to be regular stretching and foam rolling to maintain flexibility and prevent short, tight muscles.
I find that having a recovery session 1-2 times a week is great for my circulation and works to reduce any lactic acid build up.
I also find that a focus on hydration fixes any aches and pains and especially love combining a little magnesium powder with my H2O after workouts!
#1 Recovery Tip: AVOID ALCOHOL
Drew Harrisberg, Founder of Drew’s Daily Dose
My post-workout recovery tip isn’t something you should be doing, but rather something you should be avoiding… Alcohol!
Consuming alcohol has been shown to potentially mitigate the health benefits of exercise by disrupting recovery.
Alcohol can affect normal sleep cycles, in particular REM sleep. This is the sleep-stage where testosterone production reaches its highest levels.
As a result, this means less protein synthesis – a key physiological process for building new muscle.
Furthermore, alcohol can induce leaky gut or increased intestinal permeability. By doing so, you’re increasing the risk of nutrient malabsorption due to suboptimal gut health, ultimately doing no favours for your post-workout recovery.
It is also very dehydrating. Not only are you losing out on water, but you’re excreting other important minerals along with it.
Finally, alcohol can reduce protein synthesis by approx 40 percent. Protein synthesis is key for recovery and rebuilding of muscle tissue. We want to maximally trigger protein synthesis not inhibit it.
Main image: iStock