Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness: How to feel better after exercise

Congratulations for taking the plunge and starting on your fitness journey. So you’ve just finished your first fitness class or personal training session- here’s what to expect in the next 24 to 72 hours.

You will be sore. How sore? Well, it depends…

Gym Soreness- WHY?

You probably tried some new movement patterns or at the very least did something that you are not accustomed to for a long time.

The short answer is that you will develop delayed onset muscle soreness, more commonly referred to as DOMS.

Walking down steps could be uncomfortable. Jogging or running will surely be uncomfortable and even sitting on the toilet seat might be uncomfortable for some.

Here are some things you can do to help you feel better prior to your next session and decrease the negative effects of delayed onset muscle soreness.

High protein intake

Protein will help repair damaged muscle cells. Aim to consume 20-30g of protein within an hour of training. This amount could be met by eating a protein bar, protein shake, 3-4 eggs, or 4-5oz (115-140g) of turkey or chicken. In addition, I highly recommend that you follow up with evening meals that consist of a large portion of protein. Learn about how much protein your body needs each day HERE.

Light static stretching

One to two sets of 30-60 second stretches for main muscle groups can temporarily relieve muscle soreness. Do not go crazy on the intensity of these movements as this could cause further inflammation. See THIS video for exercise or stretching demonstrations.


Focus on getting an extra 30-60 minutes of sleep if possible. Your body will thank you for it later as this is the best opportunity for your body to help rejuvenate and repair itself.

Stay Active

Small movements throughout the evening will keep you limber. Consider going for a short walk in the evening if time allows. Swimming or cycling at a low to moderate intensity can also help you feel better.

Speak with your trainer if you still feel sore three or more days after your first session. Within a couple of weeks you should no longer feel sore as your body becomes accustomed to this new stress.