That’s right, burn fat and speed up your recovery in the shower.
Contrast showers or as I like to refer to them, muscle recovery showers, are perfect for anyone as they have countless general health benefits; however, the real results are reaped by those that regularly exercise and the more intense the training, the more beneficial the shower will be.
So… what is a contrast shower? Simple, the “contrast” refers to the change in temperature, from hot to cold. You see, the hot water will dilate your blood vessels and increase blood circulation, and the cold-water constricts your blood vessels, decreasing blood flow and driving the blood inwards to warm and protect your internal organs from the cold. Essentially, you are flushing fresh oxygen and nutrient rich blood in and out of the muscles that can aid muscle recovery and promote healthy lean muscle growth.
The temperature contrast can stimulate your circularity system, nervous system and of-course your nervous system. Increased lymphatic circulation can help to normalise and strengthen your immune system which again will allow you train harder, for longer, speed up recovery and reduce the risk of illness.
This simple but effective practice that dates back to Roman times is said to reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) by reducing the amount of lactate in the blood and inflammation. Contrast showers are also very effective at detoxifying the body and improving your organ performance due to the blood that is forced into them during the cold showering phase; remember, your organs play an important part in hormone production, so healthy organs can improve the effectiveness of hormones that regulate the bodies growth and metabolism, essential for lean muscle growth, recovery and fat loss.
In order to maximise your contrast showers, you ideally want to work to a 3-1 ratio, for example, 3 minutes of hot water followed by 1 minute of cold water and repeat 3-5 times; there should be as greater difference in hot to cold temperature as possible. You also always want to end on a cold shower. Ideally you want to take a contrast shower immediately post-workout, although they are also effective in the morning and throughout the day. Combine your post-workout muscle recovery shower with a nutrient dense protein shake such as my “8 WEEK WORKOUT blueberry smoothie” and you can flush all the essential macro and micronutrients into the body that will promote lean muscle growth, repair, recovery and decrease inflammation, the perfect compliment to aid the effectiveness of your contrast shower. Some gyms often have ice cold plunge pools located right next to the showers and these are perfect for contrast showers as you can submerge your entire body.
The cold part of the showering phase alone has countless health benefits which include:
- Increased circulation.
- Can relieve depression.
- Keeps skin and hair healthy.
- Increases testosterone.
- Increases fertility.
- Increases energy.
- Increases wellbeing.
- Burn body-fat.
That’s right, one of our bodies defence mechanisms as a result of being subject to sudden cold temperatures is to generate heat by burning fat. You see, we have two types of fat, and to keep it simple, brown fat is the (good fat) and white fat or adipose is the (bad fat); when we are subject to cold conditions, the brown fat generates heat by burning the white fat and as a result can result in fat loss.
The great thing about contrast showers is they can be so easily implemented into our day to day lives and I would encourage everyone to reap the countless health benefits each and every time they step into the shower.