Feeling sore after a workout? Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can be felt for a number of reasons…
- You waited too long to eat afterwards.
- You did something you’re body isn’t used to (especially the first time you do a new exercise!)
- Increased the frequency quite a bit.
- Excessive amounts of eccentric exercises (aka negative movements).
“You waited too long to eat afterwards.”
You can dramatically minimize the amount of soreness you’d feel in the following day(s) if you eat immediately after a workout. A common mistake among athletes is to refrain from eating after exercise either because they think that fat burning will continue at a higher rate or because their appetite is depressed.
It is better to eat and drink immediately after exercise, especially after prolonged or high-intensity workouts.
You should try having a mix of protein and carbs (with great emphasis on protein) as soon as possible. It is important to eat as soon as possible because the body is able to synthesize glycogen and protein at more than twice the normal rate due to heightened insulin receptivity in the muscle cells following exercise. In other words, the muscles are just dying to receive some building blocks to rebuild themselves. If you eat some protein dominant food immediately afterwards, you will recover much more quickly between workouts and perform better during them.
Soreness is not a good indicator of progress
Being sore isn’t a reliable indicator for how effective a workout session is. Many people seem to equate the two together. It could just be (and is often is) that you didn’t eat within 20-30 minutes of the workout.
Gauge your performance by actual increases in strength, endurance, hypertrophy or whatever your goals are. Seeing progress from one workout to the other is a lot more important than feeling soreness.
Hope that helps!
By the way, this doesn’t mean you have to eat a giant protein bar that advertises 30 grams of protein in giant letters. More does not always mean better. Everyone is different but I find 5-10 grams of quality protein to be sufficient (think nuts, beans, tuna/fish, meat, chicken, etc).