Using iHealth Sauna to prep for World Ironman Championships

By

Alex Tyson

iHealth Saunas are proud to sponsor Triathlete Stuart Harsley in the lead up to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii – October 14th. Stuart uses his sauna not just for recovery but also to acclimatise his body to the heat he will be enduring when competing. As Stuart along with the broader fitness community continually look for a competitive edge, athletes now agree that recovery is the next frontier of fitness where the most gains can be made. Let’s find out how.

Through continual sauna use, Stuart’s body has increased its red blood cell plasma volume; therefore it can now move more oxygen than before. From an exercise standpoint this is big news. By moving more oxygen, our muscles can work more efficiently and at a higher rate of work too. The body is an amazing piece of kit, and adapts more quickly to the conditions than our minds can. We explain more about this in a previous article.

In one study, athletes, who used an infrared sauna twice a week for 30 minutes were shown to run 30% longer before exhaustion compared with those who didn’t sauna. Sauna use also optimises heat shock proteins in the body which can improve protein synthesis and if not regularly optimised and replaced,  heat shock proteins can result in cells not performing efficiently which in the fitness world = less physical efficiency = not good.

Other fitness modalities such as CrossFit are now starting to implement infrared sauna as vital tool in recovery. You may have seen us at the 2017 & 2018 CrossFit Regional event or the recent 2018 CrossFit Master League competition where we offered free 15 minute post workout recovery sessions to help the athletes improve their recovery in time for their next workout.

After a tough workout, our body needs time to rejuvenate and repair. When we use infrared sauna, we increase our circulation without using our muscles. This increased blood flow brings vital nutrients to the muscle’s cells that need it most. It also clears our unwanted lactic acid from the muscles. Restorative muscle fibres are also more easily deployed with the increased circulation during and infrared sauna session.

Many of our clients like to use their sauna right after a workout. Depending on their fitness level, it can be used anywhere from 20 – 40 minutes and between 40 -50 degrees. The key is to treat this sauna session as a rest and to not work the body too hard. If you are counting down the time, then you are going too hot/too long for a restorative sauna session.

Stuart implements sauna into his weekly workout schedule and says it plays a key role in preparing him for Kona. On top of sauna, Start also bikes 3-4 per week, runs 3-4 times per week and swims 2 – 3 times per week. My question is when does he have time to eat?

Find Stuart @love_to_tri and check out his training progress at https://iron-dreams.com/

To learn more about how an infrared sauna may benefit your training routine:
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