Using Thermoregulation to Train Harder
and why it's an ocean of opportunity
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Using Thermoregulation to Train Harder
Cold exposure and ice baths were mainly popularized by Wim Hof — AKA The Iceman — but have also been used and endorsed by public figures on social media like Joe Rogan, David Goggins, Tim Ferriss, and several others due to their benefits for health and wellness.
Cold showers or ice baths have proved to activate and release the catecholamines in your body.
These hormones — dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine — improve your mood, alertness, energy, and focus during the hours following the proper cold exposure protocol.
In addition, cold exposure is also helpful for recovery by reducing muscle inflammation after high-intensity or endurance training for athletes.
Professional athletes from football, basketball, soccer, and other high-contact sports engage in it right after performing to recover faster.
Unless training for hypertrophy — where inflammation breaks down muscle tissue to regenerate and grow back stronger (i.e., adapt) — cold exposure helps athletes be ready to engage in physical activity quicker.
Both for recovery and for the dopamine system, the use of cold exposure has been growing in popularity.
However, real-time performance improvement is an area of opportunity with massive potential through the aid of thermoregulation.
Due to their lack of hair stem cells, three areas of our bodies can work as radiators or portals with the capacity to regulate temperature quicker in our bodies:
The palms of our hands
The bottoms of our feet
The upper part of our face
In his latest appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast, Dr. Andrew Huberman explains that “Muscular failure happens because the muscle gets too hot when working out. If we lower the core body temperature through one of those radiators, people can preserve the training effect and keep their muscles going without failure. In short, athletes can train harder for longer by maintaining core temperature low.”
So far, biology Professors Craig Heller and Dennis Grahn have led innovation in inter-workout cooling as they’ve discovered the potential of thermoregulation in performance.
Their company, CoolMitt, currently competes with a few others, such as AVA Cooling Technology and CoreTX — but neither has a clear dominance in the market.
Due to the proven benefits of in-training cold exposure and the size of the performance and training market, inter-workout cooling is a blue ocean of opportunity.
While market adoption has primarily included professional teams and athletes, I can only think of the millions of gyms and fitness studios that will eventually have them.
I imagine a station in any local gym that you will be able to use in between sets to cool your body on demand and keep your workouts going.
I also envision gloves or shoes with cooling features that athletes in the NFL or NBA will wear during time-outs to help them perform better in games.
Some reviews for the different products available claim the current alternatives are far from perfect — suggesting we’re still early and that the sector needs both human and financial capital assistance to accelerate its growth exponentially.
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