But before I do, let me be clear about one thing. Although in the past year, I have tripled my testosterone levels (since finding out they were low in this podcast interview with Dr. Cohen)…
…I have never taken testosterone pills, patches, injections or creams – or ever gone near the stuff…
…I’ve also never blood doped, taken human growth hormone, used clenbuterol, or ever tried or gone near any of that stuff, or anything else that is an illegal performance enhancing drug…
So that being said, at the risk of giving all my competitors a stark advantage once they read this post, I’m going to now give away my exact performance enhancing drug use profile:
-Triglyceride based fish oil caps (like SuperEssentials) at 4-6 capsules per day, to increase levels of anti-inflammatory fatty acids. I like to also add in 1 tablespoon per day cod liver oil for extra Vitamin D & A.
-250mg Natural Calm magnesium 30-60 minutes before bed, for enhancing sleep quality and testosterone.
-8-10 sprays Topical Magnesium sprayed on any area of body that is sore or stiff post-workout, and also sprayed on quads, calves and shoulders pre-race.
-5 Master Amino Pattern (MAP) before easy workouts and 10 before very difficult workouts (or races), to limit lean muscle damage.
-Adaptogenic herb for balancing testosterone:cortisol ratios and also for stress management (I personally do TianChi, taken on an empty stomach mid morning or mid afternoon).
-2-4 ProstElan per day for decreasing testosterone conversion to estrogens and enhancing sexual performance.
-I didn’t use this, but if you need to “jump start” the process with an herbal derivative, I recommend “Renew Male“.
There, I feel much better now after admitting my performance enhancing drug use.
What about you? Are you performing physically, mentally and sexually below your potential?
Not me. I’ve personally chosen better living through smart science.
I will now sit patiently and wait for the WTC, ITU, and any other governing triathlon body to disqualify me from races and strip me of my shiny medals.
And those of you who have been accusing me of drug use can now stop. I plead guilty.
If you have questions, comments or feedback, leave them below.
I vividly remember the days when I shared an office (for three years) with a sports medicine physician. All day long, marathoners, triathletes, cyclists, and weekend warriors would come through the medical clinic door complaining of chronic aches, pains, and injuries that they’d been fighting for weeks, months, and even years.
Little did they know that with just a few simple recovery tips, they could have easily saved themselves expensive doctor’s office visits, surgeries, missed workouts, canceled races, pain, and frustration.
So I would be remiss not to equip you with everything I’ve discovered through years of research and trial and error that work like gangbusters to keep your body in pristine shape—especially if you’re laying down some serious damage by going above and beyond the status of “weekend warrior.”
In today’s article, you’ll discover 23 of my top techniques, gear, and nutrition advice for rapid recovery from your workouts. Sure, I’ve mentioned some of these gear, food, supplementation, and underground recovery techniques before, but never aggregated all of them into one mighty blog post that will have you bouncing back from workouts, races, events, and injuries faster than ever.
Techniques For Rapid Recovery
I’ll admit that it may seem inconvenient, odd, and a bit excessive to include acupuncture as a convenient or do-able recovery method. As one of the oldest healing practices in the world though, acupuncture has been proven to help in recovery from muscular fatigue, recovery from overtraining, management of muscle pain, and many of the common issues faced by physically active or overtrained people.
For over 5,000 years, Eastern medicine practitioners have used acupuncture to correct the body’s flow of boundless energy (often referred to as Ki, Chi or Qi) to improve health and eliminate disease. While Western medicine practitioners may not agree with traditional explanations of acupuncture’s mechanism of action, they finally recognize that acupuncture does indeed work for not only chronic pain, but also conditions like depression, allergies, and headaches.
As a coach and athlete, I’ve found the occasional acupuncture session to be an incredibly useful method for everything from nagging aches and pains to IT band friction syndrome to nagging hip pain to full-blown HPA Axis Dysregulation.
A relatively painless and simple procedure, acupuncture involves inserting hair-thin needles into certain points along your meridian, the path through which your boundless energy runs. Needling these points stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms by (according to Western medicine practitioners) stimulating blood flow, the release of endorphins, and other physiological processes that temporarily relieve pain.
For more on acupuncture, and an interview with the guy I personally use for my acupuncture, you should listen to the podcast episode “Exactly What To Expect If You Try Acupuncture.”
And there’s no need to duck down back alleys to find some fringe Chinese medical clinic—in the USA, you’ll find that the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is chock full of licensed acupuncturists operating out of pristine medical clinics.
2. Stem Cell Therapy
Yes, I’m going all-in with the fringe stuff early in this article. Stem cell therapy is another potent recovery method that has flown under the radar for some time now but is finally becoming a bit more mainstream in recent years. This is due to stem cells’ ability to transform into neurons, muscle cells, and several different types of connective tissue, allowing for rapid joint regeneration and even the reversal of frailty related to aging.
Clinics such as the Institute of Regenerative Medicine and Orthopedics in Tampa, Florida, inject non-embryonic stem cells into injury sites to stimulate rapid healing or to permanently fix chronic aches and pains. Companies like the U.S. Stem Cell Clinic in Weston, Florida (where I had my fat sucked out to concentrate and store my adipose-derived stem cells), Forever Labs in Berkeley, California (where I had my bone marrow removed to save for future longevity-enhancing injections) and Docere Clinics in Park City, Utah (where I underwent my full-body stem-cell makeover) are on the cutting edge of developing injectable stem-cell treatments to do everything from regrowing spinal cord cells to eradicating cartilage pain.
If stem cells offend your ethical values about how embryos should be used, then there’s no need to fret. Contrary to popular belief, stem cells can be harvested from sources other than human embryos, such as body fat and bone marrow. Clinics such as the Institute of Regenerative Medicine and Orthopedics actually offer stem cells from these alternate regions for injections into injuries that need to be healed fast or chronic aches and pains that need a permanent fix. But at this point, an embryonic stem cell injection therapy session is going to require a jaunt to Europe or Asia, where those types of stem cell injections are more common.
Even one series of stem cell injections into a joint, throughout the body, or delivered intravenously can have a profound impact on an entire lifetime of recovery, and if you are an active individual with a decent recovery budget, I highly recommend exploring this new frontier of bouncing back faster.
The application of cold to an injured area is hardly a new concept. The Greek physician Hippocrates wrote about the use of cold therapy to control pain and swelling in the 4th century B.C., and the Roman physician Galen described the use of cold compresses for analgesia following soft tissue injuries in the 1st century A.D. During the Middle Ages, ice was used for pre-surgical anesthesia, and ice therapy has been extensively used in the athletic training and physical therapy for the treatment of sports injuries for many years.
The benefits of cryotherapy include enhanced immune system, increased cell longevity, decreased level of inflammatory molecules such interleukin-6, and of course, an incredible tolerance to be able to run outside and do snow angels in your underwear.
Cryotherapy stimulates the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system by inducing a hormetic stress response. A hormetic stressor is any light or mild stressor (like exercise) that stimulates a beneficial adaptive response, so you come out stronger than you were before. When you experience cold, the sympathetic nervous system (your “fight-or-flight” nervous system) kicks into gear to preserve your core body temperature. Blood vessels in your extremities constrict, restricting blood flow so that the temperature of your internal organs doesn’t drop. As a result, your heart rate increases to pump blood where it needs to go, and your lungs breathe powerfully and deeply. The result is a boost to your sympathetically controlled cardiovascular system and an overall improved recovery process.
I personally use some form of cryotherapy nearly every day, particularly in the form of a morning and an evening cold shower, a daily dip in the cold pool behind my house, and a long history of many swims in frigid lakes, rivers and seas, which I consider to be a muscular and nervous system “reboot.”
One way to maximize the effects of cold exposure and heat exposure is to use hot-cold contrast therapy. Hot-cold contrast therapy is alternating exposure to hot and cold water or temperatures. Once a week, regardless of my training load or recovery status, I personally do a hot-cold contrast session in which I swim, tread or move in my Aquatic Fitness pool, which I keep at 55~60˚F, for 8 minutes, soak in my hot tub, which I keep at 104˚F, for 2 minutes, then repeat this cycle for a total of 30 minutes.
You can simulate this session by taking a 5-minute shower and alternating between 20 seconds of cold water and 10 seconds of hot water 10 times through, sitting in a sauna for 5 to 10 minutes then jumping into a cold shower for 2 minutes and repeating for 20 to 30 minutes, or taking a 20-minute hot magnesium salt bath followed by a 5-minute ice-cold shower. The simplest solution? Just take a quick 1- to 2-minute cold shower at the beginning and end of each day.
When it comes to recovery and cryotherapy, this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ If you want to learn more, I’ve got plenty for you to read below—including an article that teaches you, step by step, how to make your own cold tub setup at home:
- How You Can Use Cold Thermogenesis To Perform Like Lance Armstrong And Michael Phelps.
- Tips For Burning More Fat With Cold Thermogenesis (And Why Icing Really Does Work).
- The Unfrozen Caveman Runner: How To Get A “Free” Endurance Workout & Blast Sprints On A Norepinephrine High From Cold Water Exposure.
- Cool New Research On Cold Thermogenesis.
- How To Burn More Fat With Cold (And Bump Up Your Metabolism by 301%).
- The Ultimate Guide To DIY Cold Thermogenesis: The Cold Tub Secrets Of Some Of The Top Biohackers On The Planet & How To Make Your Own Cold Tub Setup.