What Is DOMS And Why Do I Suffer From It?

In this short blog post we will talk a bit about DOMS and the causes behind it. We will also discuss how to reduce the pain that severe DOMS can cause and also outline simple steps so that you can put in place your own treatment for DOMS.

What is DOMS?

DOMS is short for delayed onset of muscle soreness. This represents the pain felt in the muscles after physical activity. This muscle soreness is associated with a build up of lactic acid and fatigue of the muscles. It is nothing to worry about though!

What Causes DOMS?

DOMS is usually caused by exercise you are not used to. For example, if you have been away from the gym for a long time and try to shift as much weight as possible. You will be in pain! The DOMS is brought on by the fatigue and build of lactic acid in the muscles. As well as this, eccentric exercise related movements have been thought to be linked to DOMS.

knee pain

How Can I Reduce The Pain From Severe DOMS?

There are a few things that you can do to try and reduce the pain that you are suffering with from DOMS. The first is more preventative. Instead of suddenly increasing your workload in the gym or with your physical activity levels, look to steadily increase this over time. It can be hard to not overdo it when training, therefore, if you are suffering, look to do an active recovery. This could be anything from a low intensity bike, a swim or a brisk walk. Getting yourself moving can be great to reduce the pain.

Swimming for recovery

Is it bad for me?

DOMS isn’t necessarily bad for us. However, when we have the muscle soreness, we can quite often take a prolonged break from exercise until we are pain free. So in this sense, it can be a hinderance to performance and physical adaptations. Usually, DOMS just shows that you have taken part in some physical activity that will lead to positive changes in the body.

The key point to remember is that with any sort of physical activity you will place your body under an increased amount of stress. Therefore, if you are suffering with muscle soreness following exercise don’t worry, it shows the body is starting to physically adapt.


Whats A Good Treatment For Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness?

Everyone will react different to treatment for DOMS, as it is varies how we all suffer. However, below is a list of potential treatment ideas to ease the severe pain felt with DOMS. You can prevent DOMS by building up your load through your training program and having a varied programme.

  • Massage
  • Active Recovery
  • Mobility Sessions


Can I Use Supplements To Help Me Recover Better?

In short, yes. Of course you can. In the market today there is a wide variety of products that you can pick and choose from that all do a variety of different things. Whether they help with the preparation or recovery phase of your exercise will depend on what you take. In this blog post, I will try to outline a few different types of supplements, what they do, and how they can help or hinder you.

What do supplements do?

Supplements do exactly what they say, they supplement your diet. They are not a replacement. Supplements can do a whole host of different things, depending on the type of supplement you are taking. Whether you are taking protein powder to increase your protein intake or taking a fruit and greens supplement to boost your intake of micronutrients. They will all look to improve your performance and recovery in their own way. Supplementing your diet can help with:

knee pain
  • Recovery
  • Performance
  • Concentration
  • Immune Function
  • Overall Health

What are the different types of supplements?

There are too many supplement varieties to list out, so we will concentrate on just a few. Supplements will come in powder form, tablet, gummy sweet style and drinks. The list below outlines a few different supplements that you can take.

  • Protein – This is usually taken in powder form and will increase your daily protein intake through a shake. We will talk about choosing the right protein later in this post.
  • Creatine – This is a substance naturally found in our bodies that is key in the role of energy production. This can be taken in powder or tablet form. Supplementing this, will increase your bodies stores on phosphocreatine and increase production of ATP.
  • BCAA + EAA’s – This is branch chain amino acids and essential amino acids. These help with muscle rebuilding after exercise.
  • Pre-Workout – A caffeine supplement that can help improve concentration and performance in an athletic setting. Air on the side of caution with pre-workout though, as some are very potent!
  • Vitamins – As we all know vitamins are fantastic for us! You may look to supplement this to increase your intake. For example, a lack of sunlight can lead to a vitamin D deficiency.

How will a BCAA and EAA supplement affect me?

BCAA’s have been shown to reduce the protein breakdown throughout the whole body, which is key to preserve lean muscle. Whilst it has also been shown that BCAA’s can help to decrease body fat percentage. On the other hand EAA’s have been shown to improve lean body mass too. They aid in the muscle protein synthesis process following exercise, to counteract the muscle breakdown caused through intense physical activity. This is a great supplement to use for muscle recovery.

How do I choose the right protein supplement for me?

The protein powder that is best for you is the one that will help you hit your goals. Whether you are looking to lose weight, increase muscle mass or to maintain your current physique; you need to be careful what you select.

  • Increase Muscle Mass – Aim to get a Whey Protein or a Whey Isolate Protein. These are easily digested and absorbed by the body.
  • Lose Weight – You will want to get a protein powder that is low in sugars. This will take a bit of looking around. Most respectable supplement companies will tell you exactly what is inside each product.
  • Muscle Repair – Look for a powder with a high amount of protein.

Don’t rush into getting a protein powder. You can easily supplement your protein intake through your diet. Look at eating more fish, eggs and consume more milk! Start tracking your dietary intake before purchasing expensive supplements!

Swimming for recovery

Can I still recover quickly without supplements?

Absolutely! If you are already having a healthy, balanced diet, you will be surprised with your current intake of your macronutrients. Many people rush into getting supplements, when really it isn’t needed yet. Your recovery will depend on you. Eating right, staying hydrated, working on your mobility and not overtraining will help you. Take a step back and look at your current lifestyle, are you pre-disposing yourself to injury? Or can you optimise your recovery without supplements?

Feel free to contact us, we are more than happy to answer any questions on supplements that you may have.


How to prepare for your run?

In this post I will give you a few different ideas for a warm-up that isn’t time-consuming, has variety and a warm-up you can enjoy. You shouldn’t have to spend 20+ minutes on a warm-up; instead specific, targeted activities can get you prepared for your run mentally and physically.

What should I do before a warm-up?

Before you even get close to doing a warm-up, try to make sure you have everything ready for your run. This way, when you have finished your warm-up you are ready to go. If you spend time looking for headphones or making sure your water bottle is full; all the work you have put in to getting your body ready for the activity is lost. The warm-up is the preparation before the activity. Think of the time before the warm-up as your pre-preparation to success.

running warm-up

What is a warm-up?

A warm-up is a pre-activity routine that you will perform to get you physically and mentally prepared for the activity ahead. How you do a warm-up is personally up to you. By just doing something you are helping yourself out. Even if you don’t want to spend 15-20 minutes on a warm-up, you should try to do low load repetitions of the activity you plan to do. For example, if you are going to go for a run, start off with a brisk walk or a light jog.

What should I include in a warm-up?

The warm-up should include anything that you feel with mentally and physically prepare you for the activity. A warm-up is all personal preference at the end of the day. However, you should look to set yourself a pre-activity checklist, so you can determine how prepared you are.

warm-up exercises

Areas to include in the warm up:

  • Brisk Walk or Jog
  • Dynamic Stretching
  • Functional Movements that include change of direction

Goals of a warm-up:

  • Increase Heart Rate
  • Increase Muscle Temperature
  • Increase Blood Flow to the Muscles

Warm-up routine for a runner

The video below will give you an idea on a few different exercises to help you nail down your warm-up routine without spending ages on it.

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Taking Your Sport Specific Rehab To The Next Level

When we get injured, whether it is through running a 5k or playing netball, getting back to full fitness can be difficult. You can completely rehabilitate the injury, but get back to doing what you love and break down again. Making sure you are hitting specific markers or goals you set is key to make sure that when you return to your activity of choice your body is as ready as possible.


What is sport specific rehab?

Similar to normal stages of rehab, this is where you get your body accustomed to the requirements of the sport or activity you will be participating in. For a lot of sports this will involve multi-directional running. Therefore, you would tend to start with straight line running, building up in stages until you are able to complete change of direction exercises.

Sport specific rehab should cover all aspects of movement, use of equipment and making it as specific to your role as possible. This rehab should be fun and enjoyable throughout, talk with your therapist or if you are doing this yourself, break down your routine when you perform your activity and build this back stage by stage. Be adventurous in your development of your plan, make it challenging but attainable.

For sports such as Netball, you will want to also do positional specific exercises. If you play in a defensive or attacking position you will want to get yourself a netball stand and have a netball. Nowadays, these are well-priced and quality pieces of kit.

Bee-Ball Netball Stand

How to use different types of equipment to hit your goal?

Once you have your netball stand, you can then simulate match specific events for your position. If you play in goal attack, you will want to simulate jumping into the D, catching a ball, keeping your balance and shooting. Having equipment that is specific to your sport can help you in a few ways.

  1. Helps with positioning
  2. Can have a greater variety in your rehab exercises
  3. Makes match simulation far easier
Football Rehab

Having a variety of kit at your disposal can help to develop a sport specific rehab plan that is interesting and enjoyable to complete. Whether that is simply some collapsible cones to run around, a football goal for you to practice shooting or an agility kit to help with change of direction exercises.

Sport Specific Rehab should be the best part of all rehab. It should be the reward for all the effort you put into your early exercises, that can often feel very boring and monotonous. Get in touch with your nearest therapist, then you can formulate a full rehab plan to get you back to your best.

I have limited space, how can I still do this?

A lot of equipment is manufactured to accommodate all walks of life. Netball stands are small pieces of kit that can hide away in a corner of the garden, which is perfect if you have a small space or a large space. It is fully manageable for everyone. Football goals don’t have to have a solid frame, you can buy pop-up goals; in this case the goal is more a target for you to aim your passes or shots at.


However big the space is you have available, there are many pieces of equipment that can work for you. Find something that works, and have fun with your rehab!


All Things To Help With Your Hydration

Why do I become dehydrated? Is this dangerous?

Through your daily activities, fluid is lost through sweating but also through the water vapour that is lost through your breathe. This will all lead to an increased state of dehydration which can then cause a general loss of performance and you will find that you fatigue far quicker.

Being dehydrated will lead to a reduction in blood volume, placing a greater strain on the heart, lungs and circulatory system. It has been reported that a 2% loss of body weight, through fluid loss, leads to a reduction in aerobic capacity by 10-20% during exercise lasting 90 minutes or more.

The more dehydrated you become the less able you are to sweat, this is due to the body prioritising blood flow to the muscles rather than the skin, therefore, the body is unable to manage body temperature as effectively.

How much fluid should I consume before exercise?

The main priority before exercise should be your hydration. As previously mentioned, if you are dehydrated and are looking to perform at the highest level that you possibly can, then you are physically unable to do this. A study involving long distance runners reported a 2% drop in body weight through fluid loss, caused a substantial drop (6-7%) in the speeds they were capable of reaching.

In an ideal world prevention of dehydration is better than curing it. This should be thought about more so when exercising in hot and humid conditions, as you will dehydrate quicker. To monitor your hydration status you should observe the volume and colour of your urine. There are many charts available to compare the fluid colour with, whilst your urine should ideally be pale yellow in colour and not completely clear.

It is recommended that an athlete should consume 5-7ml of fluid per kg of body weight slowly over a 4-hour period. Therefore if the athlete weighs 70kg they should consume 350-490ml of fluid pre-exercise. Always carry a water bottle with you, this allows you to manage your own hydration rather than depending on a coach.

What should I be consuming during exercise?

Fluid consumption throughout the period of exercise will vary from athlete to athlete. The American College of Sports Medicine reports that there are no specific recommendations on fluid intake during exercise due to the differing sweat rates and composition of the sweat. The aim of maintaining hydration throughout exercise is to limit the total loss of performance.

Exercise will vary in difficulty, this depend on the environment or intensity of a session. Therefore, the best strategy is to observe the fluid loss that takes place through sweating before and after a standard session. This is done by taking the weight of the athlete before and after exercise; with the aim to limit the dehydration in future sessions to less than 2% of body weight. Alterations then can be made on how much should be consumed dependent on the environment.

How will fluid help my recovery?

Following exercise the body needs to have the fluid balance returned to normal; this involves the restoration of water and electrolytes that were lost through sweating. Researchers have recommended that you should look to consume 1.2-1.5 times the weight lost following exercise. Working on the assumption that 1kg of body weight is the equivalent to 1L of sweat, you should look to replace the fluid loss with 1.2-1.5L of fluid. This should not be drunk in one go, however, drunk steadily over a longer period of time.

A key reason to maintain good hydration following exercise is for the recovery of the athletes muscles. This is a process known as protein synthesis; it plays a role in the rebuilding of muscle, and requires the muscles to be hydrated to work. Therefore, poor hydration will lengthen the time at which the muscle recovers following exercise.

Water versus Sports Drinks?

When performing moderate-high intensity exercise you may feel nauseous when consuming water, this can be due to dehydration or the intensity which you work at. A sports drink will aid you during exercise at the high intensity when it is performed for longer than an hour. A sports drink containing 40-80g of carbohydrate per litre can promote hydration and normalise blood sugar level. If the exercise is longer than 2 hours in length or you are sweating heavily you should opt for a sports drink that contains sodium.

There are three main types of drinks available to us in daily life; hypotonic, isotonic and hypertonic.

  • Hypotonic drink – This drink contains less than 4g of carbohydrate per 100ml. This has a low osmolality (concentration of particles in comparison to that of the body); due to it being more dilute than the body this is absorbed faster than plain water.
  • Isotonic drink – This is the typical sports drink and has a similar osmolality to the body. This drink offers the ideal compromise between rehydrating and refuelling. This is absorbed as fast or faster than water.
  • Hypertonic drink – This can be categorised as a ready to drink soft drink, this has a higher osmolality than the body with a higher concentration of electrolytes, this is absorbed more slowly than water.

How to make your own Sports Drink from home?

What are the sports drinks available to me?

There are two designated types of sports drinks that are available to us. You have the choice of either a fluid replacement drink or a carbohydrate drink.

  • Fluid replacement drink – This has dilute concentrations of electrolytes and sugars (carbohydrates). Sugars that you will often see in these drinks are glucose, fructose and sucrose. The aim of this type of drink is to replace fluid faster than plain water, whilst the added sugar in the drink will maintain blood sugar level.
  • Carbohydrate drink – These will provide a greater amount of carbohydrate per 100ml than fluid replacement drinks. This is typically made up of maltodextrins. You would typically use this drink following exercise by way of recovery rather than rehydration.

Both of these types of drinks can be either hypotonic or isotonic.


Why Do We Bother With a Warm-up?

We are always told that warming-up before a game can benefit us, but how often do you find yourself wondering, why do I have to spend so much of my time on it? Well the idea of the warm-up is to get the body fully prepared for the activity that lays ahead. When the warm-up is of a certain quality and length, it will produce physiological and psychological effects on the body. Whilst it has also been shown that a warm-up can reduce the risk of injury through stretching of the muscle-tendon unit; this in-turn allows for an increased stretch with less tension when exposed to an external load.

What are the two main types of warm-up?

  1. General Warm-up: This incorporates more general movements rather than specific movements. This type of warm-up will tend to use generic body movements and activities that are unrelated to the specific neuromuscular actions that are used in their particular activity or sport. An example of an activity that takes place in this stage is dynamic and static stretching.
  2. Sport Specific Warm-up: This is the application of big muscle group actions with rhythmic movements that provide a rehearsal of skill for the activity ahead. This is the performance of actions that directly relate to your sport examples are; throwing a ball to prepare for cricket or baseball, hitting a ball with your racquet for tennis and shooting a ball into a net for basketball or netball.

What happens physiologically during a warm-up?

Physiological effects can be defined as the effects that take place within the body.

A warm-up will produce a higher muscle temperature, an increase in local muscle oxygen availability, increase in the uptake of oxygen within the muscles and lower the blood lactate level. There will be an increase in blood flow around the body and muscles with an increase in oxygenated blood being delivered to the working muscles. This is due to the increase in heart rate, increase in stroke volume and an increase in breathing rate. This increased breathing rate helps to oxygenate the blood whilst also removing the waste products from the blood.

  1. Faster contraction/relaxation in the muscles
  2. There is a greater economy of movement in the muscles through the decreased viscous resistance
  3. Due to the higher temperatures, oxygen is released more readily by the haemoglobin
  4. Facilitated nerve transmission and muscle metabolism
  5. Increase in the blood flow through active tissues due to vasodilation

What effect does a warm-up have psychologically?

This is the effect the warm-up has on the mental aspect of physical activity.

Whether this helps to motivate the athlete or bringing a level of focus to their game. It has been reported that the specific skill based warm-ups consisting of movements or techniques involved in the chosen physical activity can improve accuracy and co-ordination. Further to this, there is a notion that preparation before completing the activity can sufficiently prepare the athlete to compete at their highest level without fear of injury.

Ultimately, it does come down to the athletes personal beliefs and feelings; if they believe that a warm-up is beneficial prior to their activity then their performance levels are likely benefit directly from a warm-up. However, if their belief is that a warm-up provides no true benefit to their performance; a warm-up may provide little to no effect, however, the risk of injury will be increased.

Structure of a warm-up

ExerciseFor How LongRationale for Use
Run or team based game5-10 minutesElevates heart rate which increases the blood flow around the body.
Variety of dynamic stretches: squats, lunges, sidesteps, skips, bounds (naming a few exercises there are a wide variety available)5-10 minutesThis prepares the joints and muscles for activity. Placing the muscle-tendon junction on stretch to prepare it for the external load. All of these exercises should be dynamic in nature with limited use of static stretching. The main aim is to maintain the temperature in the tissues so they are ready for the activity.
Sport-specific: These should have exercises that steadily progress through in intensity. For example, if the sport involves throwing and catching you would aim to start off doing small underarm throws and catches. This would then progress onto overhead throwing over a greater distance, with the view to then incorporate the running aspect to familiarise the body with the levels of co-ordination needed5-15 minutesThis will fully prepare the athlete for the particular movements involved in their sport. This further helps to prevent injury whilst further incorporating the psychological effects previously mentioned.