Oh god, why do I ache so much, am I broken?!
So its the day after your workout, everything seems fine till you get out of bed… then it hits you!
So what on earth has happened? Am I damaged? Will I ever feel normal again? Any why can’t I walk down the stairs normally?!
All very valid questions, and I can promise you that each and every one of us has asked the same things.
Rest assured this is normal, its a process known as DOMS, or Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness, and is generally considered to be an indicator of a job well done, you ‘beasted’ your workout.
DOMS tend to kick in from as soon as six to eight hours post-exercise, and peaks around the 48-hour mark, though there is much individual variation of this timeline. And while lower body soreness tends to be more inhibiting and memorable, it is most definately not just limited to the legs. DOMS can occur anywhere in the body that has recently been exposed to unfamiliar or intense physical activity.
So what is it and why does it happen? Essentially, when we work out we create microscopic tears in our muscle fibres. This doesn’t hurt right away, but somewhere between 12 -48 hours later the repair process is what causes the aches. So how comes this isn’t a bad thing, it sounds dreadful!? Well its actually this repair process that helps our body to get stronger and to perform better. But its also this repair process that means we should not work the same muscle group within the repair period, hence why those in the know train different muscle groups each day; leg day, upper body, abs. Check out this awesome video below for a more detailed explanation, and learn to love DOMS.
While you cant stop DOMs from happening, you can help ease the symptoms by drinking plenty of water, grabbing a nice warm bath after a workout and eating balanced meals that supply your body with everything it needs to repair and rebuild.