Nutrition & DOMS

Can Nutrition Help with Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)?

We all know that feeling - waking up after a hard leg session and feeling like you can’t walk. Even standing up is hard. That’s when you know you have DOMS.

What are DOMS?

Delayed onset muscle soreness, more commonly known as DOMS, is something we all experience when training to various degrees. It can be really sore and can also affect subsequent training sessions.

DOMS refers to the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. The soreness is felt most strongly 24 to 72 hours after the exercise which is why it’s known as delayed onset muscle soreness, rather than acute.

This is caused by inflammation which occurs when immune cells are recruited into the muscles. And while inflammation leads to soreness, it also contributes to muscle protein synthesis. In other words, a little bit of pain or DOMS is to be expected when getting stronger and progressing in the gym.

However, what we don’t want are for DOMS to be so debilitating that they affect your subsequent sessions.

The Basics

You need to focus on nailing the basics right first. This means consistently eating a nutrient dense diet, managing stress and getting adequate good, quality sleep. Applying other protocols won’t do much good if you’re not getting the basics right to start with.

The Role of Protein

While there is still some ambiguity in the research about the role of protein in reducing symptoms of DOMS, we know that DOMS is the result of micro-tears to muscle tissue, and protein is a key macronutrient when muscle recovery post-exercise is concerned. This is because the amino acids in protein not only stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS).