Does caffeine gum help to relieve muscle pain? 6 tips to minimize muscle ache
Muscle pain (also called myalgia) is a natural process that everyone is familiar with. It hurts but weirdly enough it sometimes feels quite nice. It’s the well-known love-hate relationship with muscle pain. It is of course possible that you have put a lot of strain on your body during training or other heavy physical exertion, after which your body starts working hard to allow your muscles to recover as quickly as possible. Despite having a love-hate relationship with it, what can we do to avoid muscle soreness? Nothing! We can't prevent it, but we can minimize it! In this blog, we’ll share our 6 most important tips to minimize muscle soreness.
A reason for muscle pain can be that an intensive workout can result in small (micro) tears in your muscles. Muscle pain is caused by the inability to get rid of acids, especially lactic acid, in the muscle. This lactic acid in the muscle fiber irritates the nerve endings, which causes a painful feeling. Muscle pain can be caused by straining muscles that have not yet (or not yet been intensive) been strained or that the strain has been heavier than the training sessions or workouts before. The body reacts immediately to this and starts repairing those small tears to be ready for the next physical load. Muscle ache can be divided into two groups, early muscle pain, and late muscle pain.
- The early muscle pain actually occurs immediately. This can be during training and immediately after training. The pain or burning sensation you feel is caused by the lactic acid in the muscle that irritates the nerve endings.
- The late muscle pain only occurs after one or two days. Or instead of the muscle pain disappearing, it actually worsens. This later-onset muscle pain often occurs after the muscle has withstood a heavy load. The late muscle soreness is often a sign of small tears (micro-tears) in the connective tissue of the muscle.
Muscle pain for no reason?
It can also happen that you experience a lot of muscle pain, even if you have not exercised at all. There may be several reasons for this, and here are a few examples:
- Slept Wrong – if you have slept in the wrong position for a few hours, you may wake up with a stiff neck, for example.
- Stress – when you are stressed you build up tension in your neck and shoulders so you may feel some muscle soreness there. Cramping symptoms due to tension or stress can also lead to a feeling of muscle pain afterward.
- Flu – Muscle aches can also be a symptom of the flu. The flu creates an accumulation of waste products in the muscles, which can cause pain, cramping, or a stiff feeling in your muscles.
- Bruise – with a bruise, the muscle swells, making it less easy to move. It feels like muscle pain, but it can also be that you bumped or sprained your knee or wrist and you feel the 'pain' a little later.
What can you do to soothe the pain? Here are some tips!
You can't really avoid it, but often a heavy workout is followed by muscle pain. A little pain after an intense workout can be nice because you have the feeling that you have actually done a good job, but sometimes it is so intense that you can't get out of bed and you have to cancel your next workout for a day (or two), have to move it or can’t hit it as hard as you want to. At moments like these, only one thing often counts: what can I do to reduce my muscle pain?
Eat (enough) protein before and after a workout. On the days when you train you need more calories than on non-training days. Your muscles need protein to grow but also to recover. Examples of high-protein foods include chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, steak, legumes such as lentils and chickpeas, vegetables and seeds (pumpkin seeds, linseed, hemp seeds, etc.). If you have received little protein before your training (think 2-3 hours before your training or workout), it is best to eat a protein-rich meal or drink a protein shake within 30-45 minutes after your training. The body is well able to absorb the nutrients in this time window.
Footnote: Drinking a protein shake with a large post-workout meal can backfire on your workout. Too much protein in the body can cause the body to store fat instead of muscle. Always allow at least 90 minutes between your shake and your meal.
A good (night) rest is something you definitely need after a hard workout. Research shows that you suffer more from muscle pain when you do not sleep enough or sleep well enough. Usually, it’s quality over quantity, but in this case, you need the right combination of both. Your muscles need time and rest to recover and do this mainly when you sleep. The well-known Dutch cyclist-legend Joop Zoetemelk stated years ago that a cycling race like the Tour de France is won in bed! Recovery, recovery, recovery after such a grueling stage.
Hydration is key
It is very important that you drink enough water, always, but especially during and after a workout. This keeps your muscles much smoother! During exercise, the body loses a lot of fluid, most of it through the head, which means that the vital organs, in particular, have to suffer. So make sure you hydrate enough to maintain your fluid balance, which also minimizes consequences such as cramps and muscle pain.
A good night's sleep is important, but it is also good to keep moving. It can be difficult to do because the body is screaming to lie on the couch and move as little as possible, but exercise really helps. If you don't move, you reduce the blood flow to your muscles, you stiffen up and the muscles will recover more slowly.
A good warm-up and cool-down
Exercising with muscle pain is not pleasant and sometimes even makes it almost impossible to deliver peak performance. That is why it is so important to do a good warm-up and cool down. Some people skip these steps because they want to start training right away, but it really isn’t wise to do this. By doing a good warm-up before your workout, your muscles will acidify less quickly during your training because they are already prepared for the effort to come.
The cool down. Many people skip this step because they don't feel like it after a strenuous workout or training. A cool-down, as the name already gives away, ensures that your body gradually cools down after your training and that your blood circulation is improved so that your muscles can recover quietly and there will be less muscle soreness. Because the blood circulation adapts slowly, the lactic acid that has collected in the muscle can be removed better and faster.
A good Energy Gum with sufficient active substances
Various scientific studies have shown that caffeine helps against muscle pain. Recent research, published in the Human Kinetics Journals, concludes that caffeine significantly reduces muscle pain.
There was a clear difference in muscle pain in the large leg muscles when caffeine had been used beforehand. The study shows that the use of caffeine has a positive effect on athletes who sustain muscle damage as a result of intensive exercise. It makes no difference whether this is taken with caffeinated chewing gum or with coffee, for example.
The use of caffeine before training is especially noticeable in explosive sports or strength sports. The use of a high-quality energy gum or caffeine chewing gum is still relatively unknown to many professionals, but even more to many hobby-athletes, so we will explain this a little further.
A major advantage of using energy gum is that the absorption of the active energy substances goes through the oral mucosa, which results in absorption after about 5 minutes, while other forms go through the gastrointestinal tract, which takes about 25-45 minutes, and therefore way more difficult to plan. This is extremely important and a big advantage over coffee, energy drinks, and pre-workouts if you use the caffeine chewing gum during your warm-up or as pre-workout chewing gum.
This type of sports chewing gum must of course meet the minimum amount of active energy substances of approximately 80 mg to be able to position itself as an energy gum, otherwise, this is a smart marketing trick but has no effect at all. GRIZZ Energy Gum is an energy gum for athletes that (given the number of active ingredients of 120mg per gum), can call itself a real energy gum and will therefore provide a tangible effect both before and after training.
So: are you on your way to your gym, getting changed in the locker room, or are you already warming up? Grab a GRIZZ Energy Gum and you'll be fully prepared for your upcoming workout!