We’ve recently heard talk of a lot of alternative ways to recover from workouts. Cryotherapy, a well-known recovery technique in Europe, made its way into the workout routines of mainstream athletes and fit individuals in Chicago. We tried it back in January and revisited it again this week after sitting down with Brian and Gabby Galivan, owners of Advanced CryoTherapy and Fitness.
We’d always heard of using cryotherapy only for recovery post-workout. But right off the bat, Brian said he also recommends using cryotherapy beforehand for his clients.
Those clients? Collegiate and professional hockey players. Brian holds training camps for players from all over the midwest during the summer in Chicago, based out of his personal training facility located on 1018 N. Larrabee St.
A dose of cryotherapy pre-workout, Brian and Gabby say, goes a long way – especially for athletes where just a sliver of improvement in efficiency in a workout can mean making timed trials or not.
Being the self proclaimed semi-professional athletes that we are, we figured it was time to give this cryotherapy-and-workout combo a shot. Gabby instructed us on what to do during the session (which you can also read about here) and right after stepping out of the cryo chamber we hopped on a bike to get the blood flowing again.
While on the bike I asked Gabby to describe what was actually happening during cryotherapy.
“Your blood flow goes away from your extremities and into your core because its basically signaling to your brain, ‘this person’s going into hypothermia, quick – let’s work overtime,'” she said.
My eyes widened with alarm. Hypothermia?
“That’s just what your body and your mind is thinking,” she reassured me. “This triggers your metabolism to spike up. That’s where you can shed anywhere from 400-600 calories a session. And then your natural filtration system kicks in and starts removing inflammatory properties, removing toxins, flushing them away naturally.”
I can’t say that I could feel those effects happening directly post-cryotherapy session, but spending three minutes in sub-freezing temps absolutely spiked my energy. I walked into the gym without any coffee in my system and by the time we did a dynamic warm-up, I was ready to take on whatever workout Brian threw at me.
We spent the next hour going through a sample workout Brian leads his hockey players through. Despite how different it was from what I’m used to, I felt strong and in control. I didn’t realize how difficult the workout actually was until the next day, and the next day … and the one after that. To be honest, I’m still a little sore.
We tested max weight back squats, explosive jump squats, isometric lunge holds with broad jumps, shoulder stabilization weighted exercises and plank mobility work (as the rest, obviously). It was an incredibly unique experience – both in the type of workout we did (something totally out of my comfort zone) and pairing it with cryotherapy beforehand.
Whether was because of the cryo or not, I worked harder than I normally do in strength training and felt the effects of it for days after. And if you’re not into freezing your tail off before a sweaty workout (I can’t fault you) – I’m still all for switching up the regular workouts on occasion to work muscles in a different way. You might surprise yourself with how strong you are.
And if you’d like to sample a little cryotherapy while you’re already at a workout, Gabby and Brian will be visiting us with their portable, localized cryotherapy wand at a number of upcoming #Sweatworking events.