T Nation

shower temp

Hey all. Does the temperature of your after workout shower affect anything ?
What i see is warm will relax the muscles, but cold will stimulate blood flow.
I see many athletes have a ICE bath after training.
Your thoughts ??? what do you do ?

I have read that a cold shower following a workout is ideal. The reason being, it will cool the body down, helping to stop catabolism. Also it will reduce the swelling caused by inflammation, and this is a very good thing

To Sebbastian25

This has nothing to do with the post but did you attend an Ian King Boot Camp in Toronto two years ago?

What is great with cold is that it reduces the metabolism of cells (this is why we put food in the refrigerator). By puting ice, you slow down the metabolism of the cells so they need less nutrients to survive and do what they have to do. It’s the same principle with muscle cells or fibers. Among other reasons why we put ice on an injury like doing vasoconstriction, it is the reason why we put ice on an injury. When there is an injury, there is a lot of swelling wich puts pressure on the blood vessels or, there is an internal or external hemoragy. These situations reduce the amount of blood to the cells situated at the injury site or nearby. Blood is full of nutrients and hormones that are essential for the cells. Ice reduces the metabolism of cells. My theory is that,we could (I don’t dare say should) take advantage of this situation because it might be easier to satisfy our muscle cells needs.

Here’s my two cents, and that’s about all it’s worth. After a workout, you probably have raised your core temperature, so a cool shower will help bring it down. Also, we are warm blooded creatures, meaning we regulate our temperature to a constant set point (98.6 avg) so cooling should actually INCREASE your metabolism, since a live cell wants to be at the normal temperature and will expend more or less resting energy appropriate to your internal temperature. On the other hand, back when I was an athletic trainer, we learned that intense cold causes vasoconstriction (blood vessels constrict) to help retain heat, hence cold REDUCES bloodflow. The reason you want reduced bloodflow with an injury is to reduce hemorrhaging and hence reduce bruising and swelling. If you did really intense workouts you might need an ice bath to prevent micro-injuries from hemorrhaging.

ive heard both sides and the jury is still out imo. poliquin said of contrast showers (real hot to real cold) that its a no go, i think because of the cold temps increasing noradrenaline, a catabolic hormone. not the response you want right after a workout.

Cool REDUCES the metabolism of cells. The steak that you have in your refrigerator was once a cow that is hot blood animal. Another example is that if a person is unconscious under water, the person who is in cool water has more chances to survive than the one in warm water. Even if this person is in hypothermia.

I don’t think the comparison between a dead cow in the refrigerator and a cool shower is quite appropriate. The operative word is dead. The dead cow has NO metabolism. I think you’re confusing metabolism with spoilage or decomposition, which is caused by bacteria attacking the meat. Bacteria are temperature sensitive and do slow down with temperature. Whether the cold increases or decreases metabolism is probably a moot point, since we were talking about typical shower temperatures. You need to get core body temp below 95 (reference: Mayo Clinic web site) before the effects of hypothermia and reduced metabolism take effect.

So, did we ever get a good answer to the warm vs. cool shower temp question?

Ok, maybe you are right on the fact that my steak example wasn’t very accurate but,my exemple of the person who is unconscious underwater is the one that my teacher has used to explain me that the metabolism of cells reduces in cold. I’m just telling you what I am learning at school.

maybe a soapbox that I am currently on, but here is my take. Extreme anything provides negligible results at best. This applies to contrast baths, set programs, limping, etc. extremes in nutrition, " I am 12.3175% body fat and I am wondering if I should have 1.28% of my lean bodymass in protein in a 60/40 split with whey and whey isolates/casein with ultra low glycemic carbs at 10 degrees below current rectal temperature. I eat 6x per day and periodize my meals according to my biorythyms. I do triple super duper drop sets in a 6.25/4/1.5/x tempo for posterior chain, while avoiding exceeding my eccentric with my concentric on alt days for my extensors. Makes my head dizzy, makes me hurl when at the gym and I cant get to a rack or a weight because some free lancers with a “secret program” are spending more time analyzing than lifting because they are bitten by the evangelics of something they read by someone they don’t know, whose credentials cannot be verified. Heaven forbid they take the results obtained by some lab coat geeks, interpreted by another book worm, and put on paper or on the net. Now programs are better than winging it, but if your routine involves a stopwatch, a calculator, a scale accurate to the 10,000th of a gram, wraps and straps, oddball accessories, a weather vane and a magic 8 ball, you’ve taken the fun out of it. The great majority of us do it as a hobby. Watch and read and look for what is in today to be out tomorrow and for it to make it back in vogue in a few years or decades.

The metabolism of a cell may decrease as you cool it down, but overall body metabolism (and ‘most’ cells ) will increase. BEcasue the body tries to maintain core temperture.

Warning No Science to Follow. Here’s what I know. Hot showers feel a lot better because they are relaxing. BUT in my Xcountry days after doing doubles for about 15 miles a day I wouldn’t have been able to go back out the next day if it weren’t for ice baths (fill up the tub, dump in all the ice from the freezer, bite a towel, and sit down FAST) they are like magic for stopping soreness. I have no clue why.

As far as I know, external temperatures do not penetrate significantly into the body anyway, not even through the skin most of the time. To actually warm up the muscle, ultrasound would have to be used; so, until I hear different from an expert on the subject, I subscribe to the theory that a cold temperature on the skin will cause the veins on the skin to constrict (so as not to lose too much heat), therefore dialating the “core” vessels and, perhaps, increasing blood flow to the muscle. On a side note, due to work, I usually don’t have time to shower after my workouts - however, last time I drove home with the windows down wearing my tank top in North Dakota (it’s getting pretty chilly up here). I wonder if this could have a similar effect.

No Al, never seen Canada except on a map.

Who pissed in Jay’s cornflakes?