Tips for DOMS and Friday Faves

It’s been quite a while since I’ve tried anything dramatically new or intense -preparing to get pregnant, being pregnant and recovering is a pretty long stint to keep things lower key- so I’m the most sore I’ve been in a long time. From all of the pull-ups I did -and they were modified, but it’s been quite a while- it hurts to straighten my arms. I have a wicked case of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

The plan was to film an arm burner for ya last night, but by the time I got to the gym, I was thinking it would be silly. Barely able to straighten my arms for the extensions, I’d be saying, “Do you FEEEEL THIS?! Are you burning?” and you would say no, as my arms burst into flames and I crumbled to the floor. Sooooo, I owe ya an arm burner. And an ab burner to make up for it ๐Ÿ˜‰ Stay tuned next week.

Oh press

(there’s no way I could lift my arms that high right now)

Here are some of my tips for dealing with or avoiding extreme muscle soreness and fatigue:

-Avoid dramatically changing your workout (mode, duration or intensity). This is why I always take it super easy on new training clients. If they haven’t been regularly lifting, they’ll be sore the next day no matter what we do. I like them to be pleasantly sore, but not to the point where it hurts to brush their teeth, because that will scare them away from coming back. If you want to make drastic changes, easy into it and experiment with small changes along the way. Jumping into anything crazy is a good way find yourself debilitatingly sore, or 1000x worse: injured.

-Follow the R.I.C.E method: rest, ice, compression and elevation. Give yourself a break and try to ice as much as possible. A dip in the cool dip is always a good idea, too (I actually tried to lay on the side of the cold dip at work and dangle my arm in, so I wouldn’t have to actually get in, but I couldn’t reach. Page the fail bus.)


(back in the long run and ice bath days)

-According to various studies, stretching has not been proven to significantly reduce levels muscle soreness. That being said, if you’re sore and if feels good to stretch, do it. Iย had a date with the foam roller, and while it was hard to get through it, I felt so much better afterwards. Remember that extreme soreness usually subsides in 3-5 days (today will be my day!)If you do anything more strenuous than usual, pay attention to stretching and RICEing those particular muscle groups.ย 

Meet up with a trainer to ensure that you’re using proper form. If you find yourself constantly miserably sore, you might not be performing the exercises correctly.ย 

Remember, some soreness is a good thing -it means you did something!- but being in extreme pain is totally different. Honor your body, and remember, you shouldn’t always feel miserably sore. If you try something new, however, it might be the case since you could be using entirely different muscles.

When was the last time you were reaallllly sore? The last time I felt like this was in college after my first spin class. My roommates had to help me get up my apartment stairs.ย 

Along with the foam roller, here are some things I’m loving right now:

this lovely body wash

Bozy wash

I use the lotion of the same brand and fragrance (both from Target!) and love that they use all-natural ingredients and are not tested on animals. The scent is AMAAAAAZING

Bella’s new haircut:

Bells haircut

Usually she gets bows, but we took her to a new groomer (who was fantastic) and she put a bandana on her. I love it.

ย Champion kindly sent me their new Smoothie sports bra to try out, and first off, I was really excited about the neon color because it matches my sneaks exactly. As far as function goes, it fits great with fantastic (high!) support, straps that you can wear straight or criss-cross for racerback tanks and super smooth fabric (hence the “Smoothie” name). After trying it out, I like it even better than my usual Ta Ta Tamer from lululemon. It’s much more reasonably-priced ($38), which is something to be excited about, too.ย 

Sports bra

Your amazing pics! Keep sending them in @fitnessista. I love seeing what you’re up to, your sweaty workout pics and clean eats.

@healthy_helper busting out a half marathon!


@ariffalala’s beautiful perfect protein pancakes:


@JTennR made some banana almond muffins:


@nattagepatch’s amazeballs! Her husband was apparently stealing them as she was making them ๐Ÿ™‚


My brother Kyle (@2wavvy) drinking chocolate coconut water. Excuse me while I shed a tear of pride.ย 


We’re off to get Liv’s 6 month photos takenโ€ฆ. 2 months late.

Have a happy Friday! See ya later on the Family page.



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  1. Stellina @ M Yogurt Addiction on September 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I need to invest in a foam roller! A lot of people have told me that it may be why I am having a slight knee issue, and to stretch my IT band. The last time I was very sore was when I did one 5 minute WOD which was my only WOD. It was 15 jumps follwed by 7 deep squats for 5 min. I was in a lot of pain the next day from those 5 min!

    • Fitnessista on September 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      when my it band and knee were really bothering me i realized i hadn’t been strength training my quads very often, which can have an effect on that, too. a foam roller and regular strength training definitely helps
      that wod sounds killer!

  2. Christabel on September 14, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Epsom salt baths help me a lot when I have DOMS. Ice baths actually work better but I have a hard time getting myself into one!

    • Fitnessista on September 14, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      same- i hate the cold

  3. Meagan on September 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Your back looks amazing in that first pic! If I recall correctly, you posted a good shoulder and back workout a few months ago that you recommended for brides-to-be. Could you point me in the right direction of that workout?

    I had a similar experience after my first spin class- couldn’t walk up the stairs properly. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. mollie on September 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    i just bought that sports bra on a whim! Hope it fits. i reallyyyy struggle to find a good one that gives me a lot of support and takes away bounce. I have asked you about sports bras in the past so I am hoping this one does the trick for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Andrea on September 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Sis you know that Shea butter brand makes a baby excema bar soap? My oldest just has way sensitive skin so I got it for him and ended up sharing ๐Ÿ™‚ Smells sooo yummy and made all of our skin way soft.

  6. Andrea on September 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    *Did ๐Ÿ™‚ not Sis.

  7. mary @ what's cookin with mary on September 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Love the color (and price!) of that bra!! Wish it came in my size :0(

  8. Simone on September 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Ouch… but in a good way :)… the last time I was that sore was after I decided to try a bodyrock workout, I thought hmm I have about 15 minutes lets just get some cardio in… well let me tell you after the push-ups, triceps dips and burpees I could barely brush my teeth the next morning hahah

  9. Nicole on September 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Can anyone claim how this bra holds up for larger chests? I’m a 34D, and see they have the size, but I love the TaTa Tamer because of the awesome support it gives. Wondering if this is comparable?

    • mollie on September 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      I just bought it in that size, as well as one of their maximum support bras. I am going to try it and will let you know once I receive them!

    • Amy on September 14, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      Caitlin just did a review on the same bra and I believe she’s a D.

  10. Carrie R. on September 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you for the great tips on muscle soreness. I have what I call “Next Days”…i’m fine the day after I work out, but the second consecutive day, I wake up feeling like I went ten rounds with an MMA fighter. :p

    I recently hurt my back and had a long break (per my MD) but I am gradually getting back to short cardio walks and weights…I will definitely use the tips!!!

    Oh and I wanted to say, I know i’m late but the blog looks gorgeous! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Kristen on September 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Do you have a post about how you trained for your half marathon? I am just getting back into running and my aunt has offered to pay for me to go to Disney with her in February to run the Princess Half (talk about motivation!!). I really want to do it but I don’t even have the slightest clue how to start. I want to do it right and not overtrain or injure myself. Also, how do I need to eat and can I do other exercises while I’m training?
    I’m sorry for all the questions. I just really have no idea how to go about this. I would appreciate any advice you can offer me ๐Ÿ™‚

    P.S. Have fun getting the pictures done! We’re about to get our son’s 6 month pics made also.

  12. Samantha on September 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Wow. Even I am kind of excited about that bra. I will have to watch for that one. Thanks!

  13. Kelster on September 14, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I’m currently in a sore phase from starting P90X again after a long break. P90X legs always has me crying for my mommy. And that’s what’s on the workout schedule today. Walking is already fun. I may have to skip it.

  14. Beth on September 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Gina, have you tried TRX? I recently got into it and man you think you aren’t doing much during class because many movements are so small but boy oh boy have I felt it!
    The first class had me SO sore.
    I’m unfortunately very scared of ice baths and all things chilly so I just foam roll it out ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Carrie on September 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      YES! Mountain Climbers suck. Mountain Climbers with your feet in TRX straps? HOLY CRAP!

  15. Rebecca on September 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Thanks for these tips. I’m always sore the nest day after I do an intense workout DVD after not doing one for a while. I always just pop an Advil and deal. Next time though, I’ll definitely try these tips.

  16. Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut on September 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Ohh I do love being sore. (In a good way) I did your at-home circuit workout twice this week and it’s been just what I needed to start challenging myself again with exercise. I got into a running slump, but jumping squats and planks are getting me back in the game!

  17. Cari Ann @ Insane for Sandwiches on September 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Last time i was super sore was…..TODAY! I did BodyPump on Wednesday and then a hour Crosstraing class yesterday, which i was prepared for, incorporated weights as well. It’s a good sore, but I am def walking funny. I am starting Insanity for the first time next week, so I guess i should get used to being sore for a while.

  18. Rochelle on September 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I love the feeling of being sore the day after a good workout. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that no matter how hard I push myself, I haven’t dealt with DOMS if I take a half scoop of Vanilla (Sun Warrior) Protein Powder, and mix it up in Tart Cherry Juice (I use Trader Joe’s version). It’s super yummy, and from what I read, Tart Cherry Juice is good for soreness. Just thought I’d throw that in, for something else you can try.

    • Fitnessista on September 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      whoa i’ve never heard of that combo! i’ll definitely try it out

  19. Heather on September 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Random question~ do you happen to have your recipe for your pulled chicken recipe? It looks really good!!

    Have a great day!

    • Fitnessista on September 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      i just put the chicken in the slow cooker with 1/2 diced onion and enough chicken broth to 3/4 cover the chicken. oregano, sea salt, pepper, garlic, cook on low for about 8 hours (or high for 5), shred the chicken and add bbq sauce (from a jar)

      • Heather on September 14, 2012 at 7:19 pm

        Do you mind me asking what sauce you use?

        • Fitnessista on September 14, 2012 at 8:24 pm

          it’s from trader joe’s- can’t remember the name of it, but ti’s brand

  20. Amy on September 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm


    • Fitnessista on September 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm

      i get it at trader joe’s!

  21. pluvk on September 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Thanks for the great tips. I suffer from DOMS a lot… or maybe it’s just stress and tension? ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy weekend!

  22. Carrie on September 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Since I work out consistently, my DOMS is manageable. But I remember, every summer in high school, the second day of cheerleading camp, I was so sore. I’d have to do the ol’ -drop the pants and fall back onto the toilet and hope I make it- every time I needed to use the restroom.

  23. Hillary on September 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I’ve become pretty friendly with the owner of my gym (who is also a trainer). The other week, he and his wife invited me to join them for a (FREE!) personal training session. We worked on legs for about 45 minutes, and I could barely walk or sit down for nearly a week. Effective? Yes. Painful? HELL YES.

  24. Mary on September 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    completely random but i love that chelsea handler book (in your ice bath pic). i love/hate DOMS (sometimes being really sore makes me feel like i got a better workout! sick i know). def need to get a foam roller soon! dying to try one

    • Fitnessista on September 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      haha it was a good distraction while i was freezing in the bath- i love her books

  25. Sabrina on September 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Have you ever gone snowboarding? My first attempt was three years ago during Christmas break. First day of the new year? I. could. not. get. up. My arms, my stomach, my butt, my everything HURRRTTTT. Sneezing made me cry because my abs was burning. I run, I lift, I Zumba, but snowboarding killed me. Everytime I go now, the first day is brutal, but then it is the best. Snow, mountains, looooveee.

  26. Ali on September 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    My first Pilates class after hip surgery left me so sore ALL OVER-like it hurt to laugh, brush my hair and just get out of bed!! I had to take months off from any kind of physical activity (except PT) after the surgery so I was seriously hurting after that class! But in a good way.
    I find that when DOMS kicks in the best way to get over it is to keep moving. Fight the urge to sit on the couch and MOVE-definitely decreases inflammation and reduces lactic acid buildup in muscles.

  27. Meghan @ After the Ivy League on September 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    This post was perfectly timed for me because boy are my quads super sore today! They haven’t been sore in ages, I know the culprit was doing some arm work while holding a squat position for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Phew. It’s not a super painful sore though, it’s a good one! Means I did something!

  28. Jen Villa on September 14, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I love love love being sore. That sore that you know with every movement that you did something good the day before, but I remember in high school conditioning for basketball. Holy.Cow.Omggggg…. I still remember walking up the stairs felt like my quads were ripping and getting in and out of the seats in class was like a small form of torture, and what… we still had practice EVERYDAY twice a day! As much pain as we were in, it felt good to warm up and get moving but I’ll NEVER forget that pain. I totally was guilty of sleeping on the main floor while my muscles tried to mend themselves. This is also where we would take ice baths for injuries… Oh high school memories. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Since starting workouts again just after having Evan, I cannot believe how much strength a lost! Even though I worked out my entire pregnancy I am like a giant blob right now. That is how I describe it, blob like. Evan will be 8 weeks tomorrow and running a mile and a half is challenging. It is a serious reality check.

    • Fitnessista on September 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      i agree, because even when you stay active, it’s hard to get back into it.

  29. LisaG on September 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Im gonna try that Shea butter product. I agrree with the other reader that warm epsom salt baths always help. I started to text you today; have you tried goat butter? Saw it in store today, but scared it might be too goaty!

    • Fitnessista on September 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      yes- it’s really good! you would like it ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Rebecca on September 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I tend to shy away from weights because I get intimidated by the burley men in the weights area (even though that’s really where I should spend my time to meet a man…) so I designed a workout and brought a friend so we could feel awkward together and HOLY HELL I am sore but it feels amazing. We’re now planning on 2x a week weights sessions.

    (btw: how idiotic is it to be intimidated by some strangers working out!??! Typing it out helped me realize that–I pay for the gym, I should use it! No more of this “I don’t belong with the heavy weights even though I love weightlifting” business.)

    • Fitnessista on September 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      and here’s the truth: everyone is so worried about their own workout, they don’t pay attention to anyone else ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Jennifer on September 14, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    What is the app you are using that shows your pace, calories etc???

  32. Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings on September 14, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Haha your picture of the wet sweatshirt reminds me of post training ice baths.. ughhh! Thanks for sharing my amazeballs pics! My husband is requesting them pretty much everyday now ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Brittany on September 15, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Haha, I am so sore right now from returning to hockey practice again! I will be sure to follow RICE!

  34. Bek @ Crave on September 15, 2012 at 12:29 am

    I last felt out of the ordinary sore two weeks ago. My calves were strangely tight and I think it has a whole lot to do with the tightness higher up around the hamstrings. More massages needed!

  35. Seja_LiveLaughLove on September 15, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Oh I LOVE that DOMS feeling! Does that make me crazy? Really it’s a love/hate relationship but I have to admit that it is oddly satisfying. Maybe because I get so analytical with it because I know the small microtares (the DOMS feeling) are rebuilding themselves into stronger muscles. Or maybe it’s just because I’m crazy :-). I do love foam rolling, that is a odd – different type of satisfactory pain as well ๐Ÿ˜€

  36. Sara on September 15, 2012 at 1:58 am

    The thing which has been shown most effective in reducing muscle soreness is exercise nutrition. You need to replace carbs during and after training and preferably be somewhat replete before you start (say, a pre-exercise meal a couple of hours before training). The amount of carbs to take during training is about 1g/kg/hr, and this should come from a drink with 4-8 grams carbs per L (best range for absorption of both carbs and water) and, ideally, 250-500mg sodium (powerade fits this spec, or you can construct something yourself).

    Recently I presented a seminar on nutrition for female strength athletes and this is taken from the summary about post-w/out nutrition:

    For recovery of muscle glycogen and stimulation of muscle protein synthesis the post-workout snack should contain both carbs and protein. Slater et al. (2011) recommend 0.8g per kg (of bodyweight) of carbs and 0.4g/kg of protein.
    I figured out, this equals about 1/2 cup cereal, 1 cup milk and a half scoop of protein powder, but there are heaps of other ways to get there.

  37. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on September 15, 2012 at 7:30 am

    I get crazy bad DOMS after leg workouts, which makes me not want to do them, so I don’t do them frequently, which makes my DOMS worse after I actually do them. It’s a vicious cycle! ๐Ÿ˜›

  38. Kaila @healthyhelperblog! on September 15, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Aww thank you so much for featuring my pic!!!

  39. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on September 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    The last time I was really really sore was a few weeks ago when I started lifting weights for the first time in forever. Omg did it hurt, but now my arms are starting to feel strong!

    And Bella is adorable, my puppies get bandanas too!

  40. Kylee on September 15, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    The last time I felt craaazy sore was this past week!!! I just joined my University’s club gymnastics team and it’s been about 8 years since I’ve done any gymnastics, so my body was kind of angry at me after the first practice. Although I’ve been working out consistently all year and lifting heavy for about 6 months, Im no where near the level of strength I had before when I was a competitive gymnast! Diving right back in… well let’s say I was horribly sore for about 4 days and then was back at it yesterday!! Advil and hot water have been my dear friend this week ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. jules on September 16, 2012 at 2:43 am

    haha yes deffo ease into a new exercise program if you haven’t trained before. I remember the first time i went into the gym for 2 years. The DOMS I felt, couldn’t walk up the stairs the next day with out wobbling.

  42. Lisa on September 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Hey Gina,

    I love reading your blog and get great tips for workouts etc., but I did have one correction to make. The RICE method, although widely practiced has no research to back it up. In fact, in my exercise physiology class, we broke this down and looked at what is happening chemically in your muscles and what each of these practices does to your body. The only one that promotes repair is rest. The others feel good, but physiologically speaking can do nothing or potentially hurt rather than help. Many personal training programs do teach this with good intentions, which is why I don’t want to attack you or your education, just wanted to let you know. =)

  43. Alexis Barry on September 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I’m always interested in new ways to work out. And I find myself always diving right in and giving it my all, which is probably why I’m sore all the time. Stretching and using epsom salt are usually my methods to relive soreness and they tend to work pretty well. I’ve thought about taking an ice bath before but I’m too chicken to actually do it!

    I love that sports bra! I know it sounds crazy but sports bras are my favorite article of clothing. I have so many in all different colors and designs. I always get so excited when I find a new one.

  44. Shira on September 17, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Hi, I just love your blog and your ab burners are great for a basement work out!
    Feeling sore is nice because I feel like a pushed myself, but I can’t stand feeling held back because of it! Last time was actually after a hot yoga class, when I hadn’t done a full class in, well, years! I was sooo sore, but it was good. Anyone who thinks yoga isn’t a workout should give that class a go ๐Ÿ™‚
    I was wondering if you have a section or post about what you did fitness wise to prepare for getting pregnant? And also while pregnant?

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