How can you reduce muscle pain after training? Fitness trainers explain what to do if you’re suffering from DOMS (aka soreness). 

Have you woken up feeling a little sore? Perhaps that’s too gentle a description for the day after gyms reopened for the third time, and many people have been hit with a serious case of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). 

It’s not surprising, especially if you have been doing bodyweight training during lockdown and jumped back into weighted workouts yesterday. Your body just needs time to adjust to training in a different way, so having achey or tight muscles after your first session back isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

However, there’s lots of conflicting advice out there about how you can prevent or help your muscles from this pain after you’ve gone hard in the weights section. Some of the advice is more useful than others, so we asked Strong Women trainers to explain how you can really help muscle recovery after training.

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How can you reduce muscle pain after training?

TESS GLYNN-JONES, PERSONAL TRAINER 

“The main thing is to recover well. Having carbs after you train is a really good way to do that. Having protein around your workouts will also help with recovery. I also always recommend moving as much as possible the following day, even just walking. That’s going to help your muscles, because you’re keeping your blood flowing to them. Another really good thing for recovery is taking magnesium before you go to bed or having an Epsom salt bath, which contains magnesium.”

ALICE MILLER, TRAINER AT STRONG WOMEN 

“Muscle pain is the result of pushing your muscles to a point where we create small micro-tears in the muscle. And it’s not as bad as it sounds, and there’s lots of ways to build out muscles back together. If you think about your muscle as Lego, when you train you pull the Lego apart, and when you eat you put it back together. 
“Magnesium’s an important mineral for the body, which is why people recommend Epsom salt baths, but there’s also magnesium sprays that you can get now. If we don’t have enough magnesium in our diet, your muscles can cramp quite a lot and you can go into spasms
“I also vote to keep moving. When people wake up and feel really sore, they understandably don’t want to go to the gym because their muscles are really tight. But sometimes it feels worse if you don’t do anything at all. I always jump on the rowing machine or a bike to loosen up my body and get those joints and muscles moving.”

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WHAT FOODS OR SUPPLEMENT SHOULD YOU EAT AFTER TRAINING TO REDUCE MUSCLE PAIN?

TESS GLYNN-JONES, TRAINER 

“Whey protein is really fast acting, which means it gets into your bloodstream really quickly so it’s going help the muscles to repair. Carbs are also important – glycogen is your energy source and carbs help replenish those glycogen stores, so you recover better.”

ALICE MILLER, TRAINER AT STRONG WOMEN 

“Our diet is something that we should look at; it’s a building block to put together. Leafy greens are good source of iron, and nuts and seeds, legumes are also important to include in your diet along side plant source of protein. Supplements, such as protein powder, can come in handy when trying to get nutrients in quickly too.”

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CAN FOAM ROLLING OR MASSAGE REDUCE MUSCLE PAIN?

ALICE MILLER, TRAINER AT STRONG WOMEN 

“It’s often overlooked but the foam roller is a really great way to relax tight muscles. You can do it at home, at any time of day. It works by increase blood flow to your muscles, which you need to help with your muscle recovery, and it helps to loosen any knots from training.”

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Images: Getty 

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