Most gym goers will identify with the struggle of tough workouts, lifting heavier weights, and doing intense cardio that leaves you with sore muscles for days. Not only the gym weights seem heavier with sore muscles, but the life outside the gym is also affected by it, as movements become stiff and awkward, and simple activities as walking down a flight of stairs or sitting on a chair become really difficult. According to studies, muscle tenderness or DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) can occur anytime between eight to 24 hours post-workout. This happens because of the mild inflammation caused by micro-tears in the muscle fiber. Therefore, it is important that you implement effective post-workout recovery and nutrition strategies that can help alleviate the soreness. Here are seven simple foods that work to good effect. Take a look.
According to a study published in the Journal Strength Conditioning and Research in 2013, having a cup of espresso before a workout helps reduce the pain associated with muscle soreness. Muscle damage in most gym-goers especially women causes inflammation that leads to increased levels of adenosine (a pain-promoting compound). However, caffeine helps block the effects of adenosine by binding to its pain receptors and as a result, you feel less pain in the days following. So, be sure to grab a cup of coffee at least an hour before and after your workout.
Any workout regimen is incomplete without a proper recovery session. To ensure adequate recovery, therefore, it is essential to fuel up with the right set of nutrients post workout. Usually, the body’s recovery processes are most effective within 60 to 90 minutes after completing a workout, and thus, its apt time to load up on dairy products especially milk. Since exercise depletes the glycogen levels in the tissues, milk can help promote muscle growth and repair by providing the ideal ratio of fast digesting carbohydrates and protein to the body. Milk also help rehydrate the body; however, if you don’t prefer dairy then you can include other options such as raw salmon sushi rolls, protein-rich smoothie with Greek yogurt and fruit, or poached eggs on toast.
3. Cherry Juice
Both long-distance runners and sprinters have one secret recovery food up their sleeve after a tiring session of running: cherry juice. As per a study published in 2010, runners who consumed cherry juice for seven days prior to and during a long distance competition experienced less muscle soreness than those consuming a placebo. Usually, muscle pain occurs due to oxidative stress in the major body joints and tissues, which triggers the body’s inflammatory response and causes aches and soreness. Subsequently, consuming foods such as cherry juice, which is rich in anthocyanins, helps absorb the free radicals produced in the body and alleviate the inflammation.
4. Cottage cheese
Another potent dairy product that aids muscle recovery is cottage cheese, which comprises two different types of protein: whey and casein. While most professionals vouch for the effectiveness of whey protein in replenishing muscles quickly post-workout, casein protein acts much slowly (while sleeping) to provide the required muscle-building blocks. Therefore, cottage cheese is an ideal snack before going for a workout because it allows your muscles to recover while sleeping. In addition, cottage cheese is an excellent source of live cultures (good bacteria) that help break down complex nutrients and absorb them.
According to a research published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, Turmeric is an excellent source of the inflammation-fighting antioxidant known as curcumin, which helps decrease delayed onset muscle soreness, a fact that is seconded by leading fitness consultants and professional athletes. The compounds found in turmeric promote muscle repair and alleviate muscle damage and inflammation by blocking the effects of chemical pain messengers and pro-inflammatory enzymes produced in the body. Therefore, the next time you feel sore after a strenuous workout, just grab a cup of turmeric latte (combination of 2 cups heated cow or almond milk and a teaspoon each of turmeric ginger.)
Who doesn’t love the pump of the muscles and the sweet pain of success after a fruitful workout session? After all, nothing is achieved in this world without sweating out in the grind. However, muscle pain, especially the delayed onset muscle soreness is not something you can take lightly. Having inflamed tissues for days after a workout is a sign that your body is not recovering properly and needs both nutrition and rest. Therefore, you need to load up on essential nutrients immediately after finishing a workout and take a proper sleep of 7 to 8 hours to ensure that you stay on top of your fitness goals.