May 7, 2019

#TrueTalkTuesdays 39

“Funny how quickly the mind moves, but how slowly time does when you’re in pain.”

Josephine Angelini, Trial by Fire

So if you have been following me, you know that I have been doing work on my health and fitness. Between physical therapy, walking, jogging, weight training, and diet – I have been investing time into my body.

But the one thing kicking my butt is soreness from weight training. I haven’t done any serious weight training in over 8 years, so it is quite the shock to my body. I did 1 week of very light weight training using dumbbells at home after I got the stem cells on my shoulder, and then I started a regimen of full-body workouts on a 6 days a week schedule.

In retrospect, I probably should have given myself a couple more weeks of light training to get my body ready, but too late for that. I went hard after 1 week and man the amount of soreness I experienced was unreal. I haven’t been this sore in ages – it felt like a got hit by a truck.

But I figured after 1 week light and 1 week hard, I would get used to it. But I was wrong – I was still really sore. I would finish a workout at the gym, make it to my house and get in a hot tub an sit there for 30 minutes. That seemed to help a little bit. As someone who does a lot of slow cooking, I know how well heat tenderizes meat, lol, so it got me thinking about using it more to relax my muscles.

So last week I started using a sauna just after finishing a workout. That has made a HUGE difference!

Once again, I should have been listening more carefully to Joe Rogan, lol. I know he is big into sauna and using extreme heat, but I had so many negative experiences with saunas from weight cutting, LOL, the last thing I wanted to do is willingly put myself in there. 🙂

But I’m glad I finally learned. This week my regimen is more intense than the previous 2 weeks (2 hour workout), and the amount of soreness I am experiencing after 30 minutes in a sauna is probably about 10-15% of what I felt in previous weeks.

I have read some studies that show that runners had measured improvements in performance after workouts followed by 30 minutes in a sauna. Likewise, reduction of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is one of the major benefits I experienced.

Now a word of caution. It isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, especially after doing a grueling workout. It takes some mental fortitude to stay in a hot sauna for 30 minutes when you are exhausted. When I enter the sauna, I’m well hydrated (unlike when I was cutting weight), and I make sure by drinking plenty of fluids before (drinking a protein shake and a bottle of water just before stepping in).

For me, 10 minutes in a sauna is really easy (1 out of 10 difficulty). 15 minutes is a 3. 20 minutes a 5. 30 minutes around a 7. When thing I will say is having someone to talk to makes it a lot easier. If you are just sitting in a sauna by yourself, it is more challenging. Today for example, I had a wrestler and a boxer in the sauna with me and the time flew, and made the session feel a lot easier (a 4 in difficulty), versus when I was alone in a sauna (felt like an 8). Plus if you are worried about passing out or getting dizzy, having someone to look after you is a plus.

After the sauna, I jump right into a cold shower for about 5 minutes to cool off and drink some more water. I usually then get a small meal in and then go for a 1-2 mile walk to relax. I’m no doctor and have much to learn, but I would say give the sauna a try and see if it helps you out.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?

Comment with your take on this. And if you like this article, please do me a solid and share it with your friends. Thanks!

  • Hi David,

    Like all training prescriptions it may be useful for some and not for others. Ditto ice baths.

    The more I train the less certain I become about making any absolute recommendation as in “this exercise/training plan etc will have this result”.

    I do have regular saunas. They may have some health benefits but I can’t say that they significantly aid my recovery but there again I do not particularly suffer from DOMS.

    Thanks for the article.

    • Hey Peter, I am careful about making any type of health and fitness claim (especially diet), as everyone reacts differently. That is why the last sentence of the article says I’m not a doctor, and try it out and see if it helps you. 🙂

  • You did indeed. I am sorry that it came off as if I were accusing you of something you never said. It was really just a general point relating to training I had in mind but I should have been more careful. My apologies. You properly advised to try it out and see if it helps.

    • No worries Peter. It’s hard with text sometimes to get the tone of a message, which can make all the difference in how a message is received. So I use smiley faces to show the tone lol 🙂

  • Alan Mussmann says:

    Try Baking soda it’s a base to counter Lactic Acid… But if you’re already sore; you’re too late…

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