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Revealing the Truth About Ice Baths and the Benefits They Offer

We’ve seen or heard of athletes regularly dipping themselves into a freezing ice bath after a hard workout. However, what do we really know about the benefits these ice-cold baths have to offer? Take a look at some common benefits ice baths can have to see if you should try out an ice bath as you get ready for Rookie Tri!

What’s The Fuss Over Ice Baths?

Just like you’d ice a twisted ankle or strained muscle, cold temperatures have been proven to speed up the healing process within our bodies while also relieving pain. Ice baths benefit and relieve aching, sore, and inflamed muscles. They also limit the inflammation response that would usually occur which helps aid in a quicker recovery.

Ice baths are also thought to help with circulation. When you’re in an ice bath, your body naturally exerts more effort in maintaining its internal temperatures to continue functioning properly. Once you’re out of the ice and your body is no longer in contact with the cold temperature, blood flow increases allowing the body to maintain its recycling process. Increasing blood flow will help you sleep and make you feel better, physically, and emotionally. 

The Top 10 Benefits of Taking an Ice Bath

Ice baths are believed to improve the recovery from strength, power, and flexibility workouts, as well as recovery from muscle damage and swelling.

It is said that decreasing the local temperature after exercise helps limit inflammatory response, decreasing the amount of inflammation, therefore helping you recover faster.

The effects of submerging your body in ice also have a positive impact on the central nervous system. It increases the production of endorphins that affect a person’s overall mood.

This release of endorphins can also help you achieve a better night’s rest so you’re ready to go for the next training session!

The Right Way to Take an Ice Bath

Ice baths are useful for quick recovery between training sessions. In order to see results from an ice bath, it must be done right. Here are a few tips:

  • If your goal is to combat soreness or prevent your muscles from further damage, the sooner you get into an ice bath after a tough workout, the better.
  • While you’re at it, add in some post-workout recovery foods/drinks to really speed up your recovery time! 
  • How cold is too cold? The temperature of the bath should actually be between 50 and 59º F. 
  • An ice bath should last between 10 and 15 minutes at most.
  • Lastly, you’ll want to make sure you submerge your entire body in the water to get the effect you’re looking for. 

Why Should You Give It a Try?!

Ice baths are good for triathletes because they help your body stay prepared for the next workout. From speeding up recovery time to alleviating pain that could prevent you from your training, ice baths have some real benefits. So how do you feel about dipping yourself into an ice bath?  Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

Recovery foods/drinks provide many post-workout benefits

Most endurance athletes recognize that it’s important to eat and drink within an hour or so after completing a workout to promote muscle recovery. Recovery foods and drinks provide the body with what’s needed to begin muscle refueling, rehydration, muscle/tissue repair, and inflammation control. With some exceptions, just about anything you might choose to eat or drink after a workout is better than nothing, from a recovery perspective. However, some choices are more beneficial than others. On top of this, you can also take a supplement like this casein protein powder that can help promote muscle recovery so that could be a better option for some of you but, for now, we’re focusing on what foods can help us. So what are the best recovery foods?

The nutrients your body needs most after exercise are carbohydrates for muscle refueling, protein and amino acids for muscle repair, water/electrolytes for rehydration, and antioxidants to manage inflammation. Your post-workout nutrition choices should provide all of these nutrients and little else. You don’t want anything to “get in the way” of the absorption and activation of these nutrients. There are plenty of natural foods (oatmeal anyone?) that will do the job.

Specially formulated post-workout recovery products such as bars and drink mixes offer certain advantages. The best recovery products are carefully formulated to provide exactly what your body needs. They’re formulated with the correct amounts, and nothing extra. They also tend to be more convenient than regular foods. You can take them with you to workouts away from home and not have to wait to eat. And often they are easier to consume soon after workouts when you may not be especially hungry.

Some of our favorites:

nuun performance – rehydrates, provides electrolytes and carbs

Clif Energy Granola – all the goodness you need!

RXBAR – packed with protein, carbs, and sugars

Gatorade Whey Protein Bar – mixture of carbs and protein

Epic Bars – high in protein, gluten-free, grain-free

What are your preferred recovery foods?