Inspiring watching the best athletes in the world, isn’t it? It makes you participate in your chosen physical pursuit with just that bit more enthusiasm…until you wake up the next morning and every movement is agony, and you realise you overdid it.

You’ve got DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

No way.

Of course you are likely to get less DOMS as you get fitter, particularly if you keep doing the same thing. But the amount of DOMS you experience along the way has everything to do with the biochemistry of nutrition within your cells.

To fix it, we need to understand what actually causes DOMS (without the boring detail). So in a nutshell:

They used to say DOMS was caused by “a build-up of lactic acid”. More on this later. But for now, it’s worth knowing that:

DOMS is a reflection of injury to your muscle cells.

That’s right. When you wake up feeling every muscle in your body, and you say you smashed yourself at the gym, you are pretty much right.

Get your muscle cells under a microscope and you’d see all the signs of inflammation and muscle damage.

Does that mean you just have to progress slower? Stick to a more tame level of activity?

Thankfully not. It would kill me with boredom to do a progressive walking, gym or jogging program.

{Everytime I go on a group inline skate I am feeling it in every fibre of my body for several days. If I backed off and took it gradually, it would take me months to work up to it and I would have a whole lot less fun in my life.)

By optimising your nutrition before and after your chosen pursuit, you can have your cake and eat it too.

(Well uh…maybe not cake.)

But does this mean expensive, fancy, hard-to-get supplements? Not at all. There is lots of research for things that might either be in your kitchen, or in your vitamin cabinet.

So what does the research say about food, plant extracts, and nutrients to prevent/reduce DOMS?

Eat straight after the workout, preferably a decent amount of protein.

Take a relatively modest dose of antioxidants (vitamin C and vitamin E) for the ten days leading up to the workout.

Take fish oils, 6g/day, for 7 days before the exercise bout.

2.7g/day may be enough if done for 30 days before the exercise (that is, taken as a daily supplement).

Take curcumin (an extract of turmeric spice) twice a day, 2.5g.

Ginger 4g/day for the 7 days before the workout won’t help the DOMS, but will accelerate your muscle recovery.

Simple as that? Well, probably not.

The amount of DOMS you get is also affected by the general health and functioning of the cell – your cellular nutritional biochemistry. There are many things that can go wrong here even with apparently normal, healthy people.

If you are bothered by bad DOMS which is affecting your life after exercise, see a clinical nutritionist trained in functional medicine.

We can select the right tests to diagnose the underlying problem and get you active and loving it, minus the price tag of the severe DOMS afterwards!

Make an appointment with our clinical nutritionist!


  • (07) 3277 0226

  • (07) 3277 0216

  • 12 Edna St,
    Salisbury Queensland 4107

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Receive the latest news on women’s health straight in your mailbox.