Sore muscles are a pain. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is that sneaky after-effect of muscle soreness, pain, and stiffness that peaks 24-72 hours post-workout; it’s a necessary side effect of the repair process from exercise. The precise cause by which DOMS works is unknown; however, what we do know is that sore muscles take time to heal. Unless you have a load of free time on your hands, knowing what your options are can help keep you in the game.
Pomegranate: In a recent study, the authors reported that participants who consumed pomegranate extract for a period of nine days experienced greater recovery of strength 48 and 72 hours after exercise compared to placebo. A simple example of an eccentric exercise, imagine a bicep curl in which you maintain active muscle tension in lowering the dumbbell down from the lift. Pomegranate also contains powerful antioxidants that can help control cell-damaging free radicals. Seems like a win/win here.
Compression Clothing: In a small study of 17 women performing plyometric (think jumping exercises) drop jumps, authors reported that eight women wearing full leg compression stockings for 12 hours immediately following exercise experienced reduced muscle soreness over those not wearing compression clothing. CrossFit athletes model compression clothing like a boss and it’s not just for show.
Tart Cherry Juice: Going for a long run? 54 distance runners were asked to run about 26.3 km over a 24 hour period of time. The authors of this study reported that the 28 runners that ingested 355mL (this is about the size of a small 12oz bottle of water) of tart cherry juice twice a day for 7 days prior to the event and on race day experienced less pain post race than those who did not. Cheers to cherry juice!
Ginger: A small study of 74 individuals consumed 2 grams of ginger (raw and heat treated) for 11 consecutive days. Their task was to perform 18 eccentric elbow flexions to induce pain and inflammation (think of my first example of lowering a dumbbell with tension in the bicep). The result? Authors reported that daily supplementation with ginger (both raw and heated) reduced muscle pain caused by the exercise.
Protein: Although this study was extremely small, it’s still worthy of mention; 15 male strength/power athletes were divided into a supplement or placebo group. These guys did squats, dead lifts, barbell lunges among other things. They ingested 42g of protein pre and post-exercise. The authors reported that the consumption of the protein supplement before and after resistance training significantly improved exercise recovery 24 and 48 hours after exercise.
BCAAs (branch chain amino acids): Another very small study here; 12 young, health, untrained female participants performed 7 sets of 20 squats/set with 3 minute intervals between sets. DOMS peaked on days 2 and 3. Here’s the kicker; the authors reported that the level of soreness for the women who consumed BCAAs before the squat exercise experienced significantly less soreness than the ladies who didn’t consume it.
Fuel Muscles During Recovery
Regular exercise increases our nutritional needs for these nutrients and sometimes it is difficult to meet these elevated needs with food alone as part of a strenuous exercise regimen. Taking nutritional supplements can help safeguard one’s diet with key nutrients important for exercise performance and overall health. Plus, your muscles need key nutrients to recover from training that causes your muscles to become sore. The following products give you the fuel your muscles need to power through the recovery period and stay at the top of your game:
The GNC Difference
AMP Recovery Protein XR: Is a clinically researched formulation that provides 25g of fast and slow release proteins plus 7g of leucine. It is 142% faster absorption of BCAA for muscle fuel and contains an amino acceleration system.*^
Lean Shake 25: Delivers 25g of high quality protein as a scientifically formulated meal replacement to support lean muscle tone and a healthy metabolism.
Rapid Drive BCAA 5000: These BCAAs have been micronized from large molecules into smaller particles that are easier to absorb and deliver fast fuel for powerful performance.
How often do sore muscles keep you from hitting the gym?