DOMS Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness Open Sky Fitness Podcast Rob Dionne Devon Dionne

DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – Ep. 127

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Healing from DOMS: Road to a Healthy Recovery

There are a lot of different theories and beliefs around what causes our muscles to become sore and what helps or doesn’t help the pain go away.

Muscle recovery and soreness has been a topic in the OSF Facebook group. On this week’s episode of Open Sky Fitness, Rob and Devon explain what Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) actually is, what might be the cause of it, and how to help your muscles recover.

Healthy Snacks: Dark Chocolate

Not only has DOMS been a topic of conversation on the OSF Facebook group, but healthy snacks have been a hot topic as well. One of the best healthy snacks you can eat is dark chocolate. Yes, you read that right. Dark chocolate has amazing benefits for our bodies.

Tune in as Rob and Devon share what ingredients to look for in a dark chocolate, what ingredients to avoid, and how dark chocolate can boost your overall health.


Why Dark Chocolate?

Dark chocolate is a really great source of micro nutrients, vitamins, and minerals such as:

  • Iron (good for those who are anemic)
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Fiber
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Selenium

It also bioflavonoides which help protect you against the sun.


Best Dark Chocolate Ingredients

When looking for a great, healthy dark chocolate, the ingredients should include:

  • 85% and above amounts of cacao whether it’s a butter, liquor, mask, or pastel
  • Natural vanilla extract
  • Low amounts of sugar
  • Coconut butter or cream (sometimes included to make it creamier)

Avoid any dark chocolate products that include:

  • High fructose corn syrup (common in popular brands like Ghirardelli)
  • Artificial flavorings
  • Vanillin (the artificial version of vanilla extract)
  • TBQ preservative
  • Partially hydrogenated oils (aka trans fats)
  • Soy lexatin (common in chocolate and it’s a thick gummy part from soy to keep the chocolate together)
    • If the dark chocolate includes this ingredient, make sure it says non-GMO


How much dark chocolate can you eat?

Just have a square or two squares with something else like fruit (blueberries and cranberries) or yogurt or nuts for a delicious snack.

There is caffeine in chocolate so try to avoid it at night.

If you eat dark chocolate with blueberries, the chemicals in the chocolate can actually help increase the fruit’s antioxidant level by a large amount.


What is DOMS?

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS is the feeling of intense soreness that you feel within 24-48 hours of working out. It peaks during the first two days and can last for about 4-5 days afterwards as the pain slowly decreases. It usually occurs after you lift heavy weights or have completed an eccentric exercise.


What Causes DOMS?


“Muscle tears are necessary to build stronger muscles, but the pain that goes with it in the training process is a trauma that your body is not used it and it has to adapt.” – Rob Dionne


There are many theories behind what cause DOMS, but scientists do not have an exact answer for us. In fact, no one truly knows what causes DOMS or how to speed up the healing process.

One common belief is that DOMS happens because of a build up of lactic acid in the muscle after a workout. The lactic acid blocks circulation and creates soreness. However, what most likely causes DOMS is probably the tears in the micro muscle fibers that have to be repaired.

Muscle soreness really isn’t a bad thing. In fact, the muscle tears  that cause us to be sore are necessary to build stronger muscles. If our muscles are not broken down from a workout, then the repair process cannot happen to build our muscles.

Common causes of DOMS includes:

  • Lifting weights
  • Jogging
  • Plyometrics or jump training
  • Eccentric exercises
  • Physical stress
  • Metabolic stress
  • Other forms of stress on the body

What Can Make DOMS Worse?

The following can make DOMS worse and difficult for your body to heal:

  • Dehydration
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Mental stress
  • Emotional stress
  • Poor nutrition
  • Caffeine

It’s very common for people to have a Vitamin D deficiency. If you believe you may have this, you can take a supplement.

Poor nutrition and caffeine is linked to sleep deprivation. If you drink a lot of coffee or other caffeinated beverages throughout the day, you probably won’t be able to sleep and therefore your body will not be able to recover.


The Differences Between Eccentric, Concentric, and Isometric Exercises

Eccentric exercises focus on lengthening the muscle in a controlled motion. As you lower the weight down from a bicep curl, you lengthen your muscle. A strong lowering motion can easily be too hard on the body. This action can over stress your muscle to the point that it can potentially tear it and cause DOMS.

Concentric exercises focus on pulling and shortening the muscle. One example is a bicep curl. With each bicep curl, you are putting stress on the muscle by pulling it up and shortening it.

Isometric exercises are caused by holding a position for a couple of seconds. Isometric exercises include doing a plank exercise or freezing your position during a bicep curl to keep a muscle active.


Side Effects of DOMS

Side effects of DOMS includes:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Soreness
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Strength loss
  • Inflammation
  • Weakness
  • Nausea


Recovering from DOMS


“Having DOMS is like having a cold. You can’t get rid of it; you just have to let it run its course. The only thing you can do is to take care of yourself during the process and make sure you’re not over doing anything to prolong the recovery stage.” – Rob Dionne


How long do you need to recover? It’s really up to your body. If you bench press 100 lbs and go back to the gym 2 days later and you can only bench press 85, then you didn’t give your body enough time to recover.

You should give your body enough time to recover so that the next time you’re still able to bench press 100 lbs or a bit more.


Preventing DOMS

To best thing that you can do to heal DOMS is to simply prevent it from happening in the first place.

To prevent DOMS, you can do two things:

1) Ease into a workout program.

2) Warm up with specific movements.

Easing into a workout program

Take your time easing into your workout program. It may take weeks or months for you to finally get to a point where you’re comfortable with pushing your body with a cardio or weight lifting workout.

Even if it’s just beeen a couple of weeks or months since you’ve been to the gym, take your time to ease yourself rather than going at it full force. A lot of former athletes make the mistake of thinking that they can take a break from training and continue right where the left off before.

You’ll still feel sore after an easy workout, but no to the point that the pain is unbearable for 4-5 days like with DOMS.

Warm up with specific movements

Some studies have shown that by taking the time to warm up specific muscle groups before your workout can help prevent some of the pain caused by DOMS. When you warm up, you create an elasticity in the motions.

Before you get into your full workout, do a jog and do a couple of sets of super light weights (squats, bench press).

Tumeric has also been shown to help with DOMS by adding it to your beverages or including it in recipes. It’s been said that the body can better absorb it if pepper is mixed in.

What About Stretching and Massages?

Stretching is essentially doing the same thing as a massage. It can help with temporary relief and has a beneficial impact overall for your body, but it will not impact your DOMS.

When you have muscle tears, tendinitis, or inflammation, stretching is not really the best thing and it can create more pain. Instead, a trigger point release is better by massaging the muscle and pining the muscle and moving it through a range of motion and releasing the pressure. Release the tension by lengthening the muscle and help improve your range of motion.

Sometimes recovery just takes time and you have to be patient. DOMS is just your body adapting to your muscles recovering and growing. 


Temporary Relief from DOMS

There is no exact cure for DOMS, but there are several steps you can take to help give your body temporary relief from the pain.

Besides massages and stretching, Ibuprofen, other NSAIDs, and icing can help take the pain away for a moment, but they cannot heal the body. In fact, ibuprofen and icing make the situation worse by stopping the healing process that happens when inflammation is trying to help heal and rebuild muscle tissue.

Epsom salt baths, compression garments, and water will not help cure DOMS either.

Compression garments will actually block the flow of circulation in your muscles and don’t have an impact on DOMS.

Water is very important to help you stay well hydrated, but will not have an affect on DOMS either.

The best thing to do is try to prevent DOMS from even happening in the first place. 

What if the Muscle Pain Lasts for Weeks?

If your DOMS lasts for weeks, then you may have torn a muscle or have another sickness in the body such as a Vitamin D deficiency.

If you’ve torn a muscle, it may take much longer for your body to recover. It’s common to have a Vitamin D deficiency and it’s recommended to take a year round Vitamin D supplement.

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What You’ll Hear on This Episode

00:00 Open Sky Fitness Introduction

1:15  Opening comments with Rob and Devon

2:40  Healthy snacks: What to look for and what to stay away from with dark chocolate

16:10  DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

18:00  Side effects of DOMS

21:50  What causes DOMS?

24:00  Actual causes of DOMS

32:00  What doesn’t help DOMS- NSAIDS, icing, and water and more

46:15  What makes DOMS worse?

51:30  What can you do to help prevent DOMS?

58:00  Closing comments with Rob and Devon

1:03:55  Open Sky Fitness Closing


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Thanks for listening/reading Episode 127-  DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness? We hope you have gained more knowledge on how to be a healthier you!

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