Reduce Muscle Ache (DOMS) with Berries


Fun Fact

The German word for this phenomenon is:  Muskelkate.  Which means either: muscle hangover or muscle-cat

Kater being both a word for a male cat and a hangover!  (I rather assume context normally allows people to tell the difference).

I also think both of them are more fun than the English, and I’m trying to adopt muscle hangover when I talk about this!

Muscle Ache

We get Muscle Ache after training when we have pushed and stretched our bodies in such a way that we have over-strained the muscle fibres themselves, meaning that they certainly let us know about it when they come to repair themselves.

Muscle ache in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, muscle fibres need this stress to get stronger. People interested in bodybuilding do this all the time deliberately in order to create hypertrophy (muscle growth).

However, the phenomenon can be genuinely unpleasant, completely crippling sometimes.  In my house we sometimes refer to it as the “Tyrannosaurus” effect, because a serious case of DOMS (which means delayed onset muscle soreness acronym fans) in the arms can result in accidental Tyrannosaurus impressions. 

You are especially prone to this effect when you try something new, the first time you do a full Ashtanga primary series, the first time you try squats; or when you return to exercises you haven’t done for some time after a layoff.

But in general, if you are training hard in any activity, you are going to be suffering to some degree with this effect.

Now I’m not going to promise you a miracle cure, because that simply doesn’t exist (sorry Internet) but there is good evidence to suggest that incorporating some berries, especially blueberries and cherries, in your diet after a workout can really reduce this effect, primarily due to anti-inflammatory properties.

The studies below looked at both people lifting weights and running long distances.  They found both of faster recovery time and that strength loss was reduced from 22% down to only 4% in the subsequent four days.

Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage.

Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial.

MBM Love those Berries Smoothie

Healthy berry smoothie

Here is a great smoothie recipe for having after a workout or breakfast the following day to get in those fantastic berries and their anti-inflammatory effects.

1 small ripe banana
About 140g of berries - including cherries and blueberries
2 tablespoons of drinking oats
A teaspoon of honey
+ Apple juice

Blend up and serve with a thick straw!