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Will nonsteroidals help me recover from a hard workout?


Posted by Dr. Gabe M. Medical Doctor

Lots of athletes and exercisers take ibuprofen, an over- the-counter medication, and other nonsteroidals to ease pain in their joints and muscles. A study from the University of Florida (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, May 2006) shows that nonsteroidal drugs inhibit exercise-induced muscle growth and strength.

Athletes train by taking a hard workout and damaging their muscles. They feel sore on the next day and exercise at reduced intensity until their muscles are healed. When they feel no soreness, they take a hard workout again. When muscles heal from the stress of a hard workout, they are larger and stronger. Damaged muscles release a healing prostaglandin called Cox-2, that causes muscle growth and increased strength. Ibuprofen blocks Cox-2 and therefore will delay or inhibit muscle growth. Pain medicines may make you feel better, but at the cost of interfering with the strength gains you are working to achieve.

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My 2 favorite responses to any significant soft-tissue trauma (including that which is 'self-induced' through weight lifting) are RICE and MEAT.

Not just a good post-workout meal, but they're also useful acronyms:

Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate

and

Movement, Exercise, Analgesics, Therapy

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