The human body is built and rebuilt everyday from and by proteins.
Protein plays an important role in any fat loss program. To lose weight you must restrict the number of calories you consume. However, when you cut down on what you eat, the body starts using muscle protein as energy – so it’s important to get enough protein from your diet to cover these losses. Among other important functions, protein is essential for
stimulating cell growth and helping to repair body tissue. Foods rich in protein help the body build lean muscle and can be converted into glucose for energy. Because this method of
energy is more time consuming for the body, the body burns more calories digesting proteins, and does not convert as readily to stored fat. (As with food rich in carbohydrates and
fats) This is one reason why high protein, low carbohydrate diets are popular for those attempting to lose weight and build muscle. And protein does a better job of filling you up and keeping you full longer than carbohydrates or fats.
Any type of exercise or physical training increases the body’s need for additional protein which is why athletes and those with very active lifestyles generally consume a higher daily intake of protein. Since protein is the building blocks for new muscle tissue, it is a staple for anybody (or any body builder) wanting to pack on a little (or a lot) of mass. Training alone will not make the body grow. And a lack of quality protein will result in a loss of muscle tissue and tone, as well as reduction in the function of your immune system, a slower recovery rate, and a lack of energy. If you fail to get enough protein on a daily basis, you’ll quickly lose strength and slow down your metabolic rate. The body will also breakdown
muscle and conserve protein for basic, life sustaining needs and may not perform other duties such as healing and immune function if protein intake is not sufficient.
Proteins are found in all varieties of foods; however, some forms of protein are more healthful and beneficial than others. Choose foods that are complete proteins and do not contain high saturated fats or sugars. Fish and poultry are excellent choices of high protein foods, as are foods in the legume family including: beans and lentils. Eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt (and other dairy); as well as various nuts and seeds are also protein rich choices. Red meats contain a great deal of protein, but take care to choose lean cuts of meat, avoiding the extra fat.
A Whey protein shake makes for excellent snack or a meal replacement for those trying to lose weight. Most protein powders mix easily with milk, water or juice and will quickly add 25 or more grams of protein a day. And shakes are easy to make and very portable, making it simple to get your protein on the go. Here is a “recipe” that combines 3 of my all time favorite flavors: Chocolate, Coffee, and Coconut!
Coco- Mocha Protein Shake
1 scoop chocolate whey protein
1 tsp instant coffee granules
~8 oz of coconut water (or unsweetened coconut milk)
ice (3-4 cubes)
Blend all ingredients for 1-2 minutes in a personal blender : AWESOME!!
Working out with weights will not cause joint pain.
Improper technique, insufficient rest, or poor nutrition might be contributing to your grief.
Joint pain is one of the most common problems among strength athletes. It’s something younger lifters rarely think about when lifting and too many seasoned lifters wish they had when they are forced to stop lifting due to years of stress on joints. Joints require mobility, stability, and motor control. Proper weight training has been found to improve joint health, return functionality and decrease pain. Regular exercise of the joints replenishes joint lubricants and builds cartilage. Stronger muscles from weightlifting exercises offer more support to the joints.
Joint pain can be a slow progression over a long period of time. Repeated injuries can lead to chronic joint pain. If you are experiencing pain from your weight lifting routine, you are probably doing something wrong. Chances are one or more of these factors can be attributed for your pain:
- ü Insufficient warm-up prior to lifting.
- ü Over training. They train too long and/or too often
- ü Using overly heavy weights/low reps more often than they should
- ü Insufficient rest/recovery time to allow joints, tendons, muscles to recuperate from intense work.
- ü Poor form and less than perfect technique during heavy lifts
- ü Inadequate vitamins and nutrients.
- ü All of the Above.
So let’s say that you are not guilty of the above 7 mistakes but still experience joint pain. It could be bursitis, tendinitis, arthritis or the like causing aching joints.
ARTHRITIS: Osteoarthritis, by far the most common to bodybuilders and athletes is caused by wear and tera on the joints. It is characterized by a deterioration of the cartilage at the ends of the bones. The once smooth cartilage becomes rough and causes more and more friction and pain.
BURSITIS: Joints contain small fluid filled sacks called bursae. The bursae assist in muscle and joint movement by cushioning the joints/bones against friction. Inflammation from various causes (See above 7 mistakes!) results in a chronic pain called bursitis.
TENDINITIS: Tendonitis occurs when tendons around a joint become severely inflamed from overuse, micro-injury, etc. It is probably the most common cause of pain to bodybuilders and other athletes and also the easiest to treat. But if left untreated, as when people just try to “work through the pain”, it can lead to much more serious problems.
Many medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or treatments like cortical steroidal injections, address only symptoms and not the cause of the problem. In fact, research has shown just the opposite; by merely masking symptoms, they may do more harm than good in the long run .
And the ever popular “stay off of it “ advice just does not fly with highly active people. The good news is that natural compounds and other dietary supplements may be helpful in supporting joints before, during and after lifting sessions. If you are a lifter, joints require optimal nutrition to help you perform and recover.
Supplements to Consider:
GELATIN: A growing number of studies now show that just 10 rams of hydrolyzed gelatin a day is effective in greatly reducing pain, improving mobility and overall bone/cartilage health. Knox (the Jello people) have a product out called NutraJoint. It contains hydrolyze gelatin, calcium and vitamin C.
- Diets rich in Vitamin C, D, and Calcium are important for optimizing joint health.
FLAX OIL: (Omega 3 Fats.) One of flax oils many, many benefits are those to improve overall joint health. Flax oil is high in essential Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, from fish, flax, etc., have been shown in scientific/medical literature to reduce chronic inflammation of any kind. The recommended dose is 1-3 tablespoons/day. Boost your intake with fatty fish (tuna,salmon,etc. ) walnuts, and flax. If you can’t get it through food, supplement with 1-3 g of EPA/DHA per day from fish oil.
WATER: Drink more water. Water helps to lubricate the joints. Aim for ½ – 1 oz per pound of body weight per day. Or at least aim to drink 5-6 20 oz bottles of water per day.
FIBER: Focus on high fiber foods, and whole grains with at least 3g of fiber per serving. Fiber controls blood glucose and therefore helps to control inflammation.
GLUCOSAMINE/CHONDROITIN SULFATE: Researchers have found both effective for promoting joint health . Found in the body naturally, glucosamine is a form of amino sugar believed to play a role in cartilage formation and repair. Chondroitin sulfate, on the other hand, is a large protein molecule or proteoglycan that gives cartilage elasticity. Numerous studies have shown that regular use of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate offers pain relief similar to that offered by anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, but minus the gastrointestinal upset that may accompany long-term use of these medications. A daily dose of 1,200 mg has been shown to reduce joint pain.
It is never too early to take good care of your joints so that you are able to work out longer and more importantly remain pain free. Always begin your workout with range-of-motion exercises or an aerobic warm-up . Lift with perfect form. Ice your joints following exercise to reduce pain and swelling.
Joint pain should not go untreated. Don’t try to self diagnose. Be sure to get an opinion from a trusted sports doctor first to determine exactly what your problem is.
Active Rest: Because you just can’t train ALL out, ALL the time.
Resting is an essential element of training… as long as it is active.
Active rest is light exercise performed on non-training days at an easy pace with little stress. The low-intensity assists blood circulation which in turns removes lactic acid, reduces blood lactate and speeds muscle recovery for your next high-intensity session. Active rest is NOT the assigned times in between sets of exercises during strength-training and it is NOT the recovery during interval training during a cardio session.
In the recent past, athletes were encouraged to rest completely after a competition or on a day off. But newer research shows that engaging in low-intensity exercise during “rest” is better for maintaining fitness levels. Low-intensity exercise flushes out lactic acid and delivers healing oxygen to the muscles. Active rest activities are easy recreational movements… so keep intensity at levels lower than regular training.
The guideline for this is to exercise at 65% of your maximum heart rate. To determine that, calculate 220 minus your
age, then times that number by .65. Otherwise, increase your breathing and heart rate to slightly above normal level. Be mindful to work hard enough so your body can exercise effectively, but not hard enough that you produce more lactic acid. Getting your blood pumping will help flush away waste products like lactic acid that can build up in muscles post exercise. You won’t be blinded by sweat, but you’ll get a good glow on.
Examples of active rest activities for strength athletes would be yoga, hiking, biking or walking. If you are an avid spinner, you may try a round of tennis. Swimming, gardening, or tossing a Frisbee with the dog; you get the picture. Leave the stopwatch and heavy weights for training days. Workouts should be at least 20 minutes in duration.
If you don’t actively rest, you risk burn out: a condition when stressors become too great in relation to your body’s ability to adapt. As a result, your training can be derailed for weeks or months to regain energy due to over-training. That’s why variation within your training week is important. The light days make the heavy days possible. They should enhance your more intense workouts and they should be equally enjoyable. If done right, scheduled active rest days will prevent over-training, injuries and mental fatigue.
Don’t confuse a day of ACTIVE REST with DOING NOTHING or having A LIGHT WORKOUT DAY.
ACTIVE REST days allow you to get your heart rate elevated and blood circulating. Also, remember an ACTIVE REST day is not a day off from good nutrition!
Pump up your post-workout protein shake with coconut water!
* When it comes to recovering after an intense workout, coconut water may be the perfect liquid to add to your favorite protein powder. Derived from young green coconuts before they mature, this natural beverage is the water found inside young coconuts and is not to be confused with creamier coconut milk. Natural coconut water contains five essential electrolytes and more potassium than a banana. Contrary to popular beliefs coconuts do not make you fat. They are loaded with medium chain fatty acids that are easy to digest and therefore your body doesn’t store it as fat.
Coconut Water Contains More Potassium than a Banana
One of coconut water’s greatest nutrition facts may be its enormous amount of potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte that promotes healthy kidney, heart, and overall cellular function.
Most often, potassium is associated with bananas, which contain about 450 mg of potassium per serving. However, a serving of coconut water offers your body a whopping 650 mg of potassium.
What’s more, it has no added sugar, fat or cholesterol.
All natural coconut water provides carbohydrates and electrolytes, which are both critical for optimal recovery. In order to replenish, a lot of people turn to sports drinks or electrolyte-enhanced water. However, sports drinks contain alot of unnecessary sugars and calories, which coconut water naturally avoids. It is also fat free, with a taste that is nutty and naturally sweet and a great thirst quencher. In addition to aiding in hydration, incredibly healthy coconut water contains amazing anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties that can help to remove toxins from the body.
Adding coconut water to protein powders such as soy, whey or rice makes a refreshing and nutrient-dense post workout drink. Its high potassium also helps regulate blood pressure, heart function and many other health benefits.
REFUEL YOUR BODY:
For optimal nutrient absorption, consume your post work out shake within 30-45 minutes after training. Mix coconut water with vanilla (or chocolate) flavored protein powder for a post-training meal to feed your muscles and replenish the electrolytes lost during strenuous exercise.
Look for it at your local grocery or health-food store.
“Almond Joy” PWO Meal.
- 2 scoops ViSalus Nutrition Shake Mix
- 1 Chocolate cardio-care Flavor Mix in (or 1 Tsp baking cocoa)
- 6-8 Oz Natural Coconut Water
- 4 Oz Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 6 almonds
- Blend well in personal blender ( I use a magic bullet) for 30-45 seconds.
TROPICAL BERRY SMOOTHIE:
- 2 scoops ViSalus Nutrition Shake Mix
- 4 -6 oz Coconut Water
- 4 oz Low Sugar Orange Juice
- 1/2 container Pineapple-Coconut Flavor Yogurt (Dannon Light n Fit)
- 3-4 Frozen Strawberries, Mango or any other Fruit of choice.
Blend well. ENJOY!
To Learn more about Visalus health and nutrition products:
Spare your low back from stress by improving mobility. Poor hip mobility leads to poor posture, poor sports performance and chronic pain.
Joints and limbs need to be mobile and have full range of motion to be useful. Our hip joints especially take a beating all day long and tight hip flexors (the muscles at the front of your hips) are a big problem for lots of us. But, we all need the use of our joints and limbs for everyday activities like picking up groceries or walking up stairs. And, if you are an athlete, improved mobility equates to improved performance and reduced chance of injury.
The way to improve mobility is through proper stretching.
The benefits of a good warm up before exercise include improved strength, flexibility, muscular endurance,coordination and the correction of major and minor muscle imbalances. It also increases blood and oxygen flow to soft tissues and increases range of motion, thus reducing chance of injury during exercise. It is vital to include dynamic stretching exercises your daily exercise routine as it will not only help your major muscles short term but also very importantly long term when our muscles start aging.
Dynamic stretching works by gently propelling their muscles towards their maximum range of motion. It is very important to not use jerky, forced movements to try to increase the range of motion beyond what is comfortable as it can easily cause injury. A 2008 study in the “The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” determined dynamic stretching a better choice for warm-ups for exercise over static stretches which were found to hurt muscular power output.
Lack of mobility in the hip joints is a very common complaint. This can be the result of a sedentary lifestyle and/or lack of stretching which shortens hip flexors & hamstrings and restricts hip movement. But the hips are designed for a wide range of motion and mobility. We should freely rotate thighs in & out, move them up & down, and pull them to & away from the body. Or at least we should be able to. Persistent pains in knees and/or lower back can be caused by lack of hip mobility. Incorporating dynamic stretching can help the hip muscles regain their original length and alleviate pain in the lower back and hips. If your muscles are tight, it is important to stretch every day. Your hip mobility will improve by doing the exercises correctly and often.
Take it Slowly. Increase speed & range of motion as your muscles loosen. Don’t get injured by forcing the movement from the start.
Lunges are among the many recommended exercises to help stretch out the hip flexors.
Lunges will also improve functional range of motion while also improving strength in the quadriceps, glutes and core. There are many variations to the lunge that should be incorporated into your program. (Stationary, front, reverse, lateral, walking, overhead, etc.)
Basic Kneeling Lunge (or split squat)
Kneel with your left knee on the ground and your right leg in front of you with your knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your upper body straight and lunge forward as far as is comfortable and then move back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times and then switch legs.
Lateral Lunge (Squats). A great dynamic stretch for your adductors. Assume a wide stance, the wider the easier. Squat side to side with both hands behind your head or across your chest. Point Your Feet Straight ahead. Rotating your feet outwards is trying to compensate lack of hip mobility. Plant your feet into the floor. Push Your Knees out. This better involves your adductors. Push from the heels and push your knees out. Stay Tall. Look forward, keep your chest up and shoulder-blades back & down. Don’t round your back.
Leg Swings (Front to Back and Side to Side)
Stand up straight and hold onto something. Move from the hips; flex and extend your thighs, keep your pelvis still and do not allow your torso to rotate. Look forward. Keep the movement at a steady slow pace, maintaining good posture throughout. 15 repetitions of each for each leg.
Restoring hip mobility will help in several areas. If you don’t already include these exercises in your current training, performing them will make a big difference in your body mechanics. It should reduce or eliminate lower back and/or knee pain stemming from overcompensation. It should improve performance output by allowing you to fully engage in training exercises like squats and dead lifts while making them safer.
There are no side effects. No health risks. It doesn’t make you bigger or stronger or give you energy or burn fat, yet it could be one of the most useful supplements around.
What is Glutamine?
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in our body – and highly concentrated in muscle cells. Glutamine has recently been re-classified as a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that while the body can make glutamine, there are times when the body’s need for glutamine is greater than its ability to produce glutamine.
Although the body produces glutamine, under times of stress, glutamine reserves are depleted and need to be replenished with supplementation. Glutamine depletion caused by stress
can be activated by something as minor as a common cold and the level of depletion increases with the severity of the disease. Patients undergoing surgery, burn victims, those suffering acute trauma, as well as HIV and cancer patients will all find their glutamine levels severely depleted by their condition.
Stress related glutamine depletion does not only occur with illness but also occurs due to stress caused by exercise. But the need for glutamine for many critical functions such as the immune system takes precedence over the building of muscles. Without any glutamine in the muscles we cannot build muscle mass and in fact the muscles can start to breakdown. And the more stress the body is under, the more glutamine that is pulled away from the muscles. And working out puts a lot of stress on the muscles. If we supplement our body with glutamine we allow our body to keep a high supply of glutamine in the muscles and stop the muscle catabolism. This means the body can use the glutamine in the muscles to synthesize protein and build muscle mass. Because there is now enough glutamine for the whole body – the other critical functions such as the immune system have enough glutamine to perform their necessary functions as well.
Studies have shown that glutamine supplementation can do the following:
- Increase Protein synthesis (which leads to increased muscle mass)
- Increase nitrogen retention
- Decrease muscle breakdown
- Decrease recovery time needed after a workout
- Enhance immune functions
How much glutamine is needed?
The typical American diet provides 3.5 to 7 grams of glutamine daily found in animal and plant proteins. Many people choose to supplement daily due to the long growing list of benefits.
Research shows levels of supplementation from 2 to 40 grams daily. Two to three grams has been found to help symptoms of queasiness. This two to three gram dosage used post workout builds protein, repairs and builds muscle and can induce levels of growth hormone found in the body.
High levels of glutamine supplementation have been used in hospital settings with doses of 20 grams per day to treat colitis, Crohn’s disease and diarrhea. 40 grams per day of glutamine are used with HIV, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and burn victims.
If you work out regularly or intensely, or simply want to boost your immune system, you should consider supplementing with glutamine. In addition, if you are going through any type of stressful event or just trying to fight off the cold or flu – glutamine can be very beneficial.
Plentiful and Inexpensive….but too often overlooked and underutilized. Have you had your 8 today?
If you are not drinking your water, you are missing out on an essential element of sports nutrition. Getting enough water into your body cannot be stressed enough; it is necessary to maintain good health, stamina and fuel for building muscle.
So why is water so important?
The human body cannot make or store water so it is necessary to drink water throughout the day to replace what is eliminated. Water makes up makes up 60-70 percent of body weight and is involved in almost every bodily process. When you work out, you may lose 4 cups or more of water through perspiration. Of course , type and intensity of the workout and climate are factors into the amount of water lost through exercise.
Water flushes out toxins and other metabolic waste products from the body. Bodybuilders and others on high protein diets must take care to get in extra water to reduce stress on the kidney and liver. Adequate water also aids in digestion, nutrient uptake and it primes the body for fat loss. If water consumption is in short supply, the body will begin to “hoard” it and store it which will make your skin look soft and “puffy”. When you drink plenty of water, you will retain less water, making you look less bloated and more “ripped!!
Water not only serves to lubricate the body but is also essential as an insulator and protector of joints. It is actually a shock absorber for the joints that get stressed even on a regular
day, but even more so when you start resistance training or bodybuilding. Drinking plenty of water ensures that the joints are surrounded by plenty of synovial fluid, which is the lubricating fluid surrounding your joints and assisting in movement. Water also serves as a protector for the tendons, so if you continue exercising while becoming dehydrated, you could be causing damage to the tendons. They need lubrication just like any moving parts on a piece of machinery.
How much water?
Everyone should drink about 8 glasses of water a day. Experts maintain that you should drink 0.6 ounces of water per day per pound of weight. (Body weight in lbs x .60). So a 200 lb man would require 120 oz of water every day. If you workout; or are involved in sports, plan to increase your daily consumption.
Be certain to hydrate before, during, and after physical activity. Within an hour or so of training, drink a few glasses of water so you start well hydrated. While training you can drink a glass or so of water for every 15 minutes you train, especially if you’re sweating it out.
Dehydration is more common and can be more serious than you might think which is why it is important for you to be able to recognize the symptoms. It is most important to learn to avoid the onset of dehydration by simply keeping yourself well hydrated. One easiest way to know if your are hydrated is to notice the color of your urine. Dark colored urine is a first sign that you may not be taking in enough water.
Know the signs of dehydration
- Your throat begins to feel sore and your voice may turn hoarse.
- A burning sensation in your stomach.
- Muscle cramps.
- You develop a headache or migraine.
- Dry mouth, and/or lips
- You feel tired.
- Your hands may feel cold.
- Your skin feels dry.
To prevent onset of dehydration, begin drinking water first thing in the morning and drink steadily throughout the day. Sipping, not gulping. Be more conscious of you water intake when outdoors or involved in physical activity.
The need for adequate protein in the human body is second only to the need for water …
and is one of three macronutrients used by the body for energy.
You are working out and trying to eat better, & you recognize that protein is necessary if you are serious about achieving results. Sometimes it’s tough to get enough protein each day from whole food sources though. But increasing your daily protein intake while on a resistance training program will help to increase lean muscle mass. Protein foods are also thermogenic which means it takes more energy to digest protein. Our bodies must work 30% harder digesting protein foods then to digest and process carbs and fats.
There are so many protein powder supplements available and choosing the right one can be confusing at best. All proteins are not created equal. Hopefully this will provide a little insight to help you determine which form (or combination) of protein supplements will best meet your specific needs
The most common types of protein powders used are:
Whey comes in three popular forms: Whey Protein Isolate, Whey protein Concentrate, and Hydrolyzed Whey. Whey is derived from milk and is the most commonly used protein supplement. It contains nonessential and essential amino acids, as well as branch chain amino acids (BCAA). Whey is easily absorbed by your muscles and is extremely safe to use. Whey protein is not appropriate for those who have a milk allergy or who cannot tolerate lactose.
Fast digesting proteins, such as whey act quickly to help regulate bodily nitrogen levels and are recommended as a post-workout protein source.
Concentrate Versus Isolate:
Whey concentrate is whey in its natural form while isolate protein goes through an additional filtration process to produce a finer powder that allows for quicker digestion. Most whey products found on supplement shelves are made up of whey concentrate, mixed with a small portion of whey isolate. Generally isolates are 90%+ pure protein. Whey concentrates contain 70-8o% protein. Comparing the two, whey protein isolate is more expensive than whey protein concentrate because of its higher quality and BV (biological value). Whey protein isolate contains more protein and less fat and lactose per serving.
Whey protein isolate is the highest yield of protein currently available that comes from milk. Because of its chemical properties it is the easiest to absorb into your system. With its high concentration, it appears that an isolate protein would be the obvious choice over a concentrate. But the isolate is more expensive and ts extra concentration may not justify its extra cost. This is an individual decision.
Regardless of what type of whey you select, whey in all forms is quickly digested and therefore the best time to capitalize on wheys quick absorption is to consume it is during or immediately after training.
Hydrolyzed Whey (also called peptides), are powerful proteins that are more quickly absorbed than any other form.
These proteins are potentially the most anabolic for short-term protein synthesis. Supplement with hydrolyzed whey 15 minutes prior to a workout, during a workout and/or immediately after a workout.
Casein makes up 80% of total milk protein and is slowly digested. It has a “thick” taste compared to whey and is considered an efficient source by those trying to build muscle. A slow digesting protein provides a long term stream of protein and amino acids, meant to assist in keeping a positive nitrogen balance for longer periods of times. A slow digesting protein is a great choice for in between meals or before bedtime.
Soy protein is derived from soy flour. Of all the vegetable proteins, soy is the most complete protein. Similar to whey protein, soy protein has two types, the concentrate and the isolate, with the isolate being the purer, more expensive form. It is a fast digesting protein that has an average amino acid profile. Because of this, it is not the most desirable protein source for those looking to build muscle. Soy protein is ideal for those who have dairy allergies.
Egg protein is made from the egg white. It is considered the most perfect source of protein because it is complete in essential amino acids, branch chain amino acids and glutamic acid. The body completely and easily absorbs it, and it is fat free. Because of its characteristics, egg protein is used as the standard against which all other proteins are measured. It is popular in bodybuilding circles because of a higher essential to non-essential amino acid ratio, and because egg whites contain less cholesterol then egg yolks. Eggs are often considered the king of natural food proteins because of their high essential amino acids levels. Egg protein is the best alternative for those that are lactose intolerant.
Protein blends combine several types of proteins such as whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, egg protein, casein protein, and soy protein. When choosing a blend, you receive the full spectrum of proteins with the varying rates of absorption from the different types of protein, which make them a good all around choice for most individuals.
Using a blend creates an anabolic effect from the whey and an anti-catabolic environment from the casein. The best time to consume this type of “timed release” or “sustained release” protein is outside of the six hour post workout window.
Muscle soreness is an unavoidable side effect of strength and endurance training.
After a hard workout, most people begin to experience soreness in the body parts trained within 24-48 hours. This type of pain is called “delayed onset muscle soreness” or DOMS and can last several days to a week. The primary cause of DOMS, according to most exercise physiologists, is from tiny tears that occur in the muscle as a result of high intensity exercise – especially resistance training. DOMS is a normal and expected outcome of physical exercise. The only way to eliminate DOMS is to avoid exercise.
When you work out you literally “tear down” muscle tissue fibers. (These are microscopic tears -& very different from the medical definition of a torn muscle). During the days after the workout, the muscle begins to rebuild itself. However, the muscles must be given enough time to recover and as well as adequate nutrition. This rebuilding process creates a “new” muscle that is bigger and stronger than before. This is how the cycle of building lean muscle occurs.
It is important to differentiate between the burn felt during/after the workout from the pain of an injury. Soreness should not become debilitating or prevent you from participating in sports or performing daily tasks. This type of “good sore” is a sign that the muscles were worked – & that muscle tissue was broken down during your training session. As a result, you will begin to become stronger and your muscles will grow.
DOMS is greatest, but not exclusive, to beginners new to exercising. Over time, the body will adapt to the workload imposed on it and the less sore you will feel. If you continue to repeat the same workout over and over again, it will eventually cease to make you sore. AND you will cease to make any progress. This is why it is important, no
matter how long you have been training to change up your workout routines often. Progressive overload is key getting stronger and building muscle.
Each time you “shock your body” with a new workout program, new exercises, new techniques you’ve never used before or in a long time, expect the soreness to return. Sometimes the amount of soreness from a change in your routine can be severe. So remember to go easy the first day on a new program and build intensity gradually or you may push over that line from “good sore” to “bad sore”. Severe muscle soreness probably means you overdid it, which will happen from time to time. In most cases is not reason for alarm.
Reducing the Effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
If you train intently, you will be sore post work-out.
The goal is to reduce the DOMS effects and keep to your workout schedule.
WARM-UP/ STRETCH – The benefits of warm up before and post workout stretch are numerous and should never be overlooked or their value underestimated. Warm up and cool down properly and build your workout program gradually to minimize DOMS.
REST: Remember, a little soreness is expected; it is a sign of a good workout and eventually the soreness will go away. Rest and allow the muscle groups worked to recover for a couple of days before working them again.
MASSAGE/ Hot Bath / Heat / (heating pad) will sooth sore aching muscle and reduce inflammation and pain.
WATER: Drinking extra water helps to flush toxins and other byproducts of muscle breakdown that occur during heavy exercise.
VITAMIN C /E – antioxidants are proven helpful in dealing with muscle soreness and recovery. Your muscles produce more free radicals during exercise. Supplementation with antioxidants C & E will slow down the oxidation process, which in turn reduces fatigue and soreness. A healthy supply of these nutrients help to minimize pain the day after a workout and will speed the healing process.
SUPPLEMENTATION: Glutamine and BCAA’s (Branched-chain Amino Acids) are known to assist in muscle recovery and repair.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES: – (Ibuprofin) – like Motrin will alleviate symptoms for sure. I usually try to use these as a last option to the ones mentioned above.
PROPER NUTRITION: The fuel we give our bodies have a significant impact not only on performance but also in the muscle building and recovery process. While proper nutrients will not prevent or give instant relief from muscle soreness, it is essential for the muscle repairing process. By consuming the right balance of nutrients before, during, and immediately following workouts, you can minimize the amount of muscle protein breakdown incurred during workouts and maximize the rate of post-exercise muscle protein repair and rebuilding. This principle is known as nutrient timing and is topic that will be discussed more in depth in future blogs.
**If soreness persists many days, or you suspect an injury, see a doctor. Otherwise for mild to moderate exercise related soreness, some combination of rest, anti-inflammatory, hot water/heat, massage, and drinking plenty of water will handle it.
Over-training occurs when we strive to improve performance and train beyond the body’s ability to recover.
Many athletes train too hard and too long. Over training takes place when muscles are not given the necessary recovery time. Unfortunately the desire to improve often results in over training. Many spend way too much time in the gym. When their efforts fail to give them results, they increase their workout time. And when that doesn’t work, they increase it more and eventually become frustrated, deciding that they just can’t build muscle no matter what they do. But, what is so difficult for many of us to grasp is that muscles will not grow or become stronger without sufficient recovery time. —In fact, quite the opposite takes place. Performance suffers, and often injuries occur.
Athletes strive to push to maximum ability in order to improve. However, when training exists without allowing for recovery time, muscles stay in a stressed condition. It is normal for muscles to be sore when worked hard but be aware that there can be a fine line when balancing training intensity and overtraining.
In order to maximize and obtain desired results, it is vital to plan rest cycles into your training plan. This will help prevent overtraining. During the rest period:
- eat carbohydrates
- get a full night’s sleep
- drink plenty of fluids
- eat carbohydrates
Adequate rest cycles helps the body fully recover glycogen storage in muscles and liver, and enzyme systems within the muscle cells. During the rest period these systems overcompensate for the workout, which (if you have sufficient rest) causes your muscles to increase strength. The recovery period is very important to avoid overtraining muscles.
The Dangers of Overtraining
Simply stated, overtraining is when the body becomes overwhelmed by the demands being placed on it and is often referred to as “burn out”.
Muscles must be given time to heal. Recovery time varies by individual and the intensity of the workout. If your muscles seem to stay sore, take a break from training.
When the body incurs more damage than it has the opportunity to repair and rebuild, we become in danger of overtraining syndrome. The goal of weight training is to initiate small tears in muscle tissue with the expectation that the body will then repair and rebuild that tissue to be stronger. These tears are necessary to stimulate muscle growth but they are, even if just temporarily, muscle damage.
If the body is not allowed the opportunity to adequately repair this damage, overtraining ensues. OTS (overtraining Syndrome) is a progressive condition. If the training cycle continues beyond the body’s repair capabilities, OTS will continue to advance and further averting gains in the gym.
Symptoms of Overtraining:
Be receptive to the symptoms of muscle overtraining. Some of the signs are:
- increased fatigue
- physically tired
- exercising often but not improving
- chronic and persistent sore muscles
- pain in tendons when moved
- lower resistance to colds, sore throat
- easily angered; depressed
How much rest does the body need?
The rate with which the body can properly repair and rebuild muscle tissue will vary by the individual.
Determining the correct training volume and intensity, eating the right foods, and getting the right amount of rest and recovery are all factors to be taken in to consideration.
To avoid OTS, give the body the opportunity to repair the damage
– You must give the body adequate rest.
Supplementing with glutamine has also been shown to speed up recovery.
The intensity in which you train impacts how much recovery time you need. If the ultimate goal is to increase muscularity and gain mass, then training must be done with maximum intensity. That said, and done correctly — a mass gain training session places great stress on the body.
To achieve maximum muscle gain, you must respect the value of adequate rest to the muscle building process. To work past a plateau, increased training can sometimes be effective but just as likely; backing off may be the answer to restarting muscle growth.
Proper nutrition is vital to recovery for strenuous workouts. Diet plays a huge role in any muscle building program. It helps regulate hormone levels, provides energy, and provides the raw building blocks used to create new tissue. A couple of very important things to consider: Don’t skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast is very catabolic, and can promote muscle loss. Don’t allow too much time between meals – eat small, frequent meals. If you’re trying to build muscle mass, you have to constantly feed your body quality foods so that it never has the chance catabolize muscle tissue. Eat every 2-3 hours to ensure that your body remains in an anabolic state.
Rest and recovery is essential when it comes to avoiding over-training. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep nightly, and try to keep to a consistent schedule. As for recovery time, incorporate days off between weight training workouts. Try to have one rest day between strength-training sessions, and do not train the same muscle groups on consecutive days.