Blog

UNDERSTANDING MUSCLE SORENESS (Pt.2)

temp-post-image


Your muscles are sore. As a consequence, you may even be a bit cranky over it. Your co-workers look at you weird as you waddle into work and gingerly take your seat. You can’t wait to tell your trainer (sarcastically) what superb job she did.

In the midst of all it all you’re wondering, “What can I do about this?”


You could...

  • Just suck it up and live with it for a few days.

  • Do another light workout. (But that’ll be temporary relief).

  • Take some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. (But that has negative long-term effects).

  • Immerse yourself in a warm bath. That’s always nice!

  • Get a massage or stretch. That’s nice too! (But the science on its true effectiveness is lacking.)

  • Or you can utilize natural anti-inflammatory or muscle repair supplements.


This last one is where science has set its focus for several years and what research has uncovered is really promising.

Do you guys sense a plug for Shaklee coming? Not to worry, I’m going to cover other stuff too.

A safe solution.


It can be maddening, the number of medications and short-term solution we’re inundated with on a daily basis. I won’t turn this into a self-righteous rant or attack on the modern medicine but I think by now—if commercials about medications have taught us anything, it’s that everything synthetic has side-effects.

I like safe solutions. I think you do too. But I also like my solutions to actually solve something. Too often, the "natural" approach, just isn’t effective enough. So we don’t bother, or give up on it.

Here are 5 natural supplements (that work) to reduce muscle soreness and accelerate recovery.

1. MILK


No, I’m not kidding. In researching this topic I came across an article at SupsVersity that cited 2 studies—one using milk (1) and the other chocolate milk (2)—in which the consumption of milk post-workout reduced DOMS and prevented decrements in performance 2-3 days after the workout.

It’s theorized that the amino acid properties of milk protein is what makes it effective in blunting DOMS and decrements in performance. This same quality of amino acids can also be found in...(You guessed it!) Shaklee’s, soon to be released post-workout shake!

2. BCAA’s


Looking more deeply into #1 we see that it’s not the milk per se, but the branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) that is key to countering DOMS. And this makes perfect sense!

As we spoke about in part one, training leads to microtears in our muscle fibers. The job of protein and it’s broken down version—amino acids—is to build and REPAIR muscle tissue.

If you want the recovery properties of BCAA’s (3) without drinking a glass of milk, or if you are lactose intolerant, supplemental BCAA’s are the way to go.

3. Citrulline Malate


A non-essential amino acid, found in watermelon and apples, Citrulline, plays an intermediate role in the Urea Cycle which converts and eliminates toxic Ammonia from our body. One negative side effect of exercise is that it produces ammonia and lactate (4). The more you exercise the more you produce, and thus must eliminate. Citrulline is known to hasten the rate of elimination of ammonia and lactate, during exercise.

Citrulline has also been linked to improved performance in the gym (5). It acts as an energy booster and helps fight fatigue. This is due in part to what was already mentioned above, as well as its function in Nitric Oxide production, which increases blood flow and oxygen to muscles. It has also been known to lessen the burning sensation felt as you’re nearing the end of an intense set.

Unfortunately the amount of watermelon or apples you would need to eat in order to get enough citrulline to make a real difference, just isn’t feasible. It’s a massive amount. To derive the many benefits of citrulline malate you would need to supplement with 5g or more per day.

4. Beta-Alanine


Remember the short article on the muscle burn we experience while training? In it we, correctly, pointed out that it’s not lactic acid but rather the accumulation of hydrogen (H+) ions that causes this sensation.

Beta-Alanine helps form the compound, Carosine. Carosine is a buffer for H+ (6), which consequently delays the onset of fatigue and changes in muscle pH (the cause of "the burn"). It is not so much the burn but rather, the toxic environment that results when this point is reached that contributes to muscle soreness.

Through use of Beta-Alanine we can defend against—or lessen the burden—of this toxic environment, and in turn reduce muscle soreness and shorten recovery.

5. Tart Cherry


Tart Cherry has been widely studied and scrutinized—mainly because the benefits of this supplement have proved to be so significant. So much so it made the FDA take notice, and action, against cherry growers 10 years ago.

It seemed the FDA didn’t like that cherry growers were using the (proven) results of research (some of which, ironically, was done by other government agencies) in their marketing.

Since according to FDA doctrine, only drugs can prevent, treat, or cure disease, they didn’t want cherry growers reporting that cherries may be as effective an anti-inflammatory as Advil® or Alleve®. (Read about it here).

Conspiracy theories aside, let’s get back to what we’re here for. As just mentioned, one of the most significant benefits of tart cherry is its anti-inflammatory properties. Tart cherry, along with raspberry, cranberry, strawberry and apple, are rich in the antioxidant phytonutrient anthocyanin which have been shown to reduce oxidative stress.

In clinical research, athletes and resistance trained individuals who took a tart cherry supplement reported reduced muscle soreness, had less strength loss during recovery, and attenuated muscle catabolism (7,8).

As an added bonus, tart cherry is also a natural source of melatonin which helps to regulate sleep. Taken before bedtime it improves sleep and increases total sleep time (9). As we all know sleep plays a major role in our recovery ability, yet few of us tend to get a quality amount of it.

Shhhhhh! Tart cherry might be a part of a certain recovery supplement formulation containing additional ingredients that reduce joint pain and inhibit the body’s production of pro-inflammatory substances. This formulation might be on its way to PURE PHYSIQUE in less than a week.

Stronger workouts + Faster recovery = Greater results

We’re all doing this fitness thing for the same simple reasons: to look better, feel better, and improve our quality of living. What we do before, after, and in between our workouts, goes a long way in how much better we look, feel and function.

If you can speed up recovery, reduce muscle soreness, and minimize your strength decrements between workouts—naturally, without any side effects—there’s no reason you shouldn’t. Workout recovery is often marginalized in sports nutrition compared to its counterpart, workout performance.

Workout performance supplements provide instant gratification—their effect can be seen and felt.

Recovery supplements, not so much. Yet all the (potential) results that are to be derived from our workouts are realized during the recovery process.

Both are important, but there’s no denying the need to do what we can for faster, more effective recovery.


READ PART 1 of UNDERSTANDING MUSCLE SORENESS HERE

REQUEST A TRAINING ORIENTATION