Have you ever started a new training program or added a new exercise to your workout only to find that, 2 days later, you cannot move from the stiffness and pain? This delayed response to unaccustomed exercise is termed delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and has been shown to limit strength and exercise performance for up to 3 weeks. DOMS results from disruption of muscle cells by mechanical stress, infiltration of inflammatory cells to the injured tissue, and increased production of inflammatory cytokines. Although controlled inflammation after training is a necessary step in the adaptive response to exercise, severe DOMS can stop you from training regularly or limit strength from workout to workout, thus limiting training intensity and potential gains.
A recent study published in the Journal of the International Society for Sports Nutrition suggests that a common supplemental strategy for muscle gain may also serve to decrease DOMS. In this randomized, placebo-controlled, and double-blind trial, researchers from Japan tested whether taking a stack of 3.2 g of branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) and 2 g of taurine, 3 times per day, would decrease DOMS and muscle damage caused by high-intensity eccentric resistance exercise training. The researchers reported that markers of cellular muscle damage and subjective measures of DOMS were significantly reduced in those who took the BCAA+Taurine stack compared to placebo.
Bodybuilders have known for years that drinking a whey protein isolate shake with fast digesting carbs is the best way to maximize the post-training anabolic response. However, recent research illustrates that this supplementation strategy extends beyond resistance training. Scientists have shown that drinking a protein shake containing whey protein isolate (0.3 g/kg/hr) and sucrose (0.8 g/kg/hr) during a 4hr recovery from moderate intensity running results in 50% greater growth hormone (GH) release after a subsequent bout of exhaustive running exercise. Such augmented GH responses enable the body to recover faster and more completely from bout to bout. These findings extend the benefits of whey protein/carbohydrate supplementation to the sports setting and are especially applicable to those who compete in high intensity endurance sports tournaments where several games/matches are held within a day.