Sidestepping muscle soreness

Published 4:11pm Friday, August 9, 2013

Whether I’m training beginners or experienced fitness professionals, one parallel I observe through all levels of fitness is muscle soreness.

This condition is common and temporary, but can be a little alarming to folks who’ve never exercised before. I’d like to offer some tips to help ease post-workout aches and pains.

First, what causes that sore, stiffness that usually occurs 24-48 hours after a workout?

This condition is called “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS),” and is thought to be the result of two factors.

Buildup of lactic acid in muscle tissue and microscopic tears within muscle fibers, is usually part of the muscle adaptation process, which increases strength and stamina. Don’t mistake DOMS (soreness) for the sharp acute muscle pain that can happen during a workout, which can be the result of a muscle strain or a sprain.

Here are a few remedies for your discomfort.

1. Drink coffee. 

I’m not a coffee drinker myself, but this beverage can ease muscle tenderness. Caffeine blocks the action of adenosine, a pain stimulating chemical found in muscle. A particular study found that one dose of caffeine, taken in pill form reduced muscle discomfort by 50 percent compared with just 10 to 30 percent diminution with NSAIDs in other research. Try 2 to 5mg of caffeine for every 2 ½ pounds of body weight.

Many coffees contain 95mg caffeine per cup, while caffeine pills can contain 200mg caffeine. Don’t take if caffeine makes you jittery, as this can be very dangerous in the weight room. Also, check with your doctor to see if caffeine in contraindicated for any condition you might have.