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How Sore is Too Sore, and what is DOMS?

By March 21, 2023Uncategorized

I LOVE feeling sore after a workout. It makes me feel like I accomplished something in my body and am progressing toward my goals. But how sore is TOO sore?

If you’re so sore the day or two after a workout that it hurts to move, keeps you from being active, or hinders your daily activities, you are getting too sore!

If it takes you a week to recover after your workout, it is actually counterproductive to your goals. Studies have shown that muscle soreness does NOT equal muscle growth! And being too sore is a main trigger to fall off your fitness routine. If it hurts, typically we won’t do it!

You’ll hear me say a zillion times, “it’s a partnership, not a punishment.” If your military-style bootcamp or WOD has you feeling wrecked, or if you’ve taken so much time off that the thought of walking into your current gym to pick up where you left off causes anxiety, there IS a better way to approach fitness! This is one of the reasons why Flex programming is for every body, all levels, but it’s still up to you to listen to your body when you’re training with us and do what’s right for you. Newbies to fitness can and should ease into a training program with gradually increasing intensity, but still get all the motivation and inspiration from being in the room with other participants who have been there.

Our instructors are experienced fitness professionals who tailor every single workout to YOU, your body and your goals. How many box gyms adjust their workout plan based on who comes to class? Absolutely zero. This is STANDARD procedure at Flex.

We take the time to ask about injuries, aches and pains, and really get to KNOW who we are working with, so that YOU never feel like you’re in a workout that is absolutely inappropriate for your UNIQUE body. We lead with love, and will give you all of the encouragement and none of the “high school gym-teacher/bully” vibe.

Remember, if you’re new to fitness or coming back after a long time off, you’re going to be a little more sore than usual. This special type of soreness is what we fitpros call DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It’s caused by any type of activity that places load on your muscles that the muscles are not used to.

This type of soreness lessens as you get used to a fitness program or a new routine, and you can experience it again when you level up to heavier weights, longer workouts, increased volume or increased intensity. Things you can do to deal with DOMS:

warm baths

massage or massage gun

foam rolling or myofascial release balls

liniment or muscle rubs

extra protein in your diet, especially supplementing with BCAAs (branched chain amino acids)

extra sleep

And above all, moving! DOMS can be alleviated by light walking, stretching, and moving your body. It’s caused by microtears in the muscle, and is considered a low level (level 1) muscle strain, so helping to move blood and fluid out of the muscles with movement can make the soreness go away faster. DOMS soreness peaks about 72 hours after exercise, so if you find yourself more sore on day 2 or 3 post-workout, there’s a good chance you are experiencing DOMS!