In our previous post How to Conquer DOMS: Part One, we discuss what delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is and how to manage your muscle soreness after a big workout. This is about really looking after your body though and that goes beyond pain management, which is why this article looks at pain prevention. There are simply no benefits to being sore, and plenty of drawbacks that those aching muscles bring, so let’s look at ways you can manage your exercise plan and conquer DOMS for good. 

The biggest thing to keep in mind when you are beating DOMS is to have a fitness and healthy lifestyle strategy that is consistent. You can go off plan every once in a while, but be sure to stick to healthy eating and cycles of endurance and rest overall.

1. Be consistent

DOMS occurs when you veer off your usual workout load into new territory. It could be climbing or sprinting when you are not used to it, a significantly extended ride or heading to boot camp for some core drills.  If you need to change your routine give yourself some build up exercises to start with over a few weeks and progress to your new goal gradually.

2. Build your muscles strength and stamina with different exercises

When you only cycle you are limiting your range of muscle movements and putting stress only on specified muscle groups. To build strength and give your muscles a strong base add other exercises to your weekly plan like resistance training, swimming, aerobics, yoga, jogging or weight training, These will provide more strength and flexibility on your ride. While it might not sound like a fun idea to exchange your much-loved ride for some laps in the pool, the difference in your ride performance is well and truly worth it. 

3. Remember to stretch

Warm up and warm down so your muscles are not inflicted with rapid stretching when they are cold. There are warmups that target specific muscles and joints but really anything you do is better than jumping on the bike straight and getting on with it. Just three to five minutes can make all the difference.

4. Ride before you sprint

Even if you have done your warmup exercises (of course you did them!) you still need to give your body a good amount of cycling time before you jump to a sprint. Look to get comfortable in the 90-rpm range before you start your sprint intervals.

5. Rely on Antioxidants

Foods naturally containing vitamins A, C, and E like blueberries, pomegranates, and cherries, offer a multitude of health benefits so make sure you include them as part of your regular diet. A good way to start is by eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables.

6. Get your Omega-3s

Omega-3 fats help keep preserve cell membrane. The best way to increase your Omelga-3s is through eating fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, lake trout, sardines and albacore. If you aren’t a fish eater then you can look for foods like flaxseed, infused eggs and spinach for your omega-3 hit.

7. Add more protein

Protein feeds your muscles the direct fuel source required to heal. Rather than pile your lunch or dinner plate high with protein, graze on protein rich foods right through the day (yep, that includes breakfast) to give your muscles sustained fuel to and repair quickly and easily. As a rough guide look to consume 20 to 30 grams of protein every three which can come in the form of a protein shake, Greek yogurt, nuts, eggs, cold turkey slices, lentils and chickpeas, cheese and milk products as well as soy products.

8. Peddle faster

When you aren’t pushing hard look to set yourself a nice high cadence to minimize the amount of stress on your muscles and torque transferred to your joints. It will also give you more power to throw down when you really need it. 

9. Rest days

There will be times, a day or even a week, when you want to or need to push beyond your limits and overreach either in training or at an event. When that happens, be sure to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of recovery time afterwards. Be sure to take it easy, if you are travelling break and stretch out those muscles with a walk, hydrate and keep the protein coming. When you rest correctly after a period of high endurance you will enable your muscles to rebuild and you’ll see improvements over the next two weeks. 

10. Refuel after your ride

Be sure to get some fuel in after your ride to give your body some amino acids to repair muscle damage. The best form of amino acids is protein so no matter what your preference for protein is, be it meat products, soy products or manufactured gels, snack with a protein punch 30 to 60 minutes after your workout, and then every three hours or so after that. 

Keep those legs fresh and ride well for longer!