Bill Starr Saunas / Stress Recovery / Adaptation Bill Starr Saunas / Stress Recovery / Adaptation

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Thread: Bill Starr Saunas / Stress Recovery / Adaptation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    Default Bill Starr Saunas / Stress Recovery / Adaptation

    • wichita falls texas february 2021 seminar
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    One of the many brilliances of Starting Strength is its focus on basics and irreducible, indisputable phenomenologies. It amazes me that so many column inches and cyberspace in the strength and fitness industry is devoted to tertiary micro-details.

    I’d love to hear you talk even more about recovery in terms of what works, what doesn’t, what myths / silly bullshit currently pervade and why they are thus etc. I came across this in a Marty Gallagher article in 2019:

    “I read a Bill Starr column where he explained the sauna strategy: open the pores with dry heat and scalding steam, squeeze the toxins out of the pores with an ice-cold shower that snaps the pores shut. Repeat three times. I always felt this procedure helped tremendously.”

    I really enjoy Marty’s writings, they have a real feelgood factor about them as well as a solid grounding in time-honoured basics, tried and trusted. He is one of the greats in my opinion. As an advanced lifter, I’m very consistent with my training, eating and general lifestyle. Last year I devoted six months to trying saunas. Given that saunas are essentially a stressor (as are hot and cold therapies in general), they got me “net negative” on recovery in terms of training performance despite them feeling mentally great. This trade off was unacceptable. As soon as I stopped the saunas, weight on the bar went back up after the first week. It seems to me that Hans Selye yet again wins. The current mainstream obsession with saunas as a “must” in terms of recovery for strength athletes focus on their micro-effects (eg. “Heat shock proteins” - what the fuck does that even really mean anyway? - testosterone increase etc) rather observing their systemic effect ie. training performance i.e. weight on the bar. Not saying Marty is wrong because he is a strength mastodon and I’m a nobody, I just find my experience of something touted to aid recovery is in direct contrast.

    One of my good friends is an elite international rugby player Ignacio Mieres who is struggling with the current trend in international rugby coaching making players do hot and cold therapy. He swears that this causes a degradation in his gym performances and is always very annoyed that he can’t sandbag a sauna or cryotherapy session because the coaches are observing with stop watches. They all site the scientific studies to him despite his very alpha, South American arm-waving protests that his personal experiences are that they fuck up his performance in the gym. His club and international strength coaches cling to the science papers rather than the phenomenological experiences of one of their elite players - the sports science literature appear to know better than the athlete and his own body about his own experiences. Even if the other players report benefiting from this practice, why the hell won’t they allow him to sit out the sauna and cryotherapy sessions? Pathetic.

    Question: in your personal experience and in training your clients, have you found sauna to be a generally useful aid in accruing strength or not?

    Great Texan Cafe episode by the way, another testament to simple high-performing basics without fluff or ceremony. So much more gratifying watching delicious simple food being prepared in an old school no-nonsense manner than some Michelin starred chef verbally masturbating into his foie gras in a cravat.

    Best,

    Robin

  2. #2
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    First, the idea that "toxins" in the pores of your skin need to be "flushed" through some mechanism that is better than a shower is a persistent myth that apparently originated in the 80s with the scribblings of Harvey and Marilyn Diamond in their fad diet book Fit for Life, and other alternative medicine types. Toxins and poisons were the problem, you see, and these build up if you eat incorrectly. The chemistry was not discussed. It is a short leap from dietary toxins and poisons to the Scandinavian sauna/cold plunge custom, as long as we don't discuss the chemistry.

    I tried it, since I tried everything, and I'm with you: feels good, but it is a significant stressor that must be recovered from, definitely not a recovery aid. Recovery aids are sleep, food, and anabolic hormones. The rest is bullshit.

  3. #3
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    Thanks again for your time Rip, very much appreciated.

  4. #4
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    All the toxins in my body were consumed voluntarily and for a purpose.

  5. #5
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    May 2019
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    The only toxins that saunas are good for is hangovers, for which they're quite effective. But a workout is good for that too.

    I learned the art of the sauna from my Finn wife. There is nothing quite like a dip in a 50 degree lake, or a roll in the snow after taking a long sauna. But I agree it's not useful for recovery purposes.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2019
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    Fuck. Just fuck. I go to the sauna 3-4 times a week and have suspected it’s hurting my lifts. I love it so much, though, that I’ve been sticking my head in the sand. I read this thread hoping to see an opposite opinion of mine. Fuck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Recovery aids are sleep, food, and anabolic hormones. The rest is bullshit.
    How about massage? Even if there is no direct effect, could there be an indirect effect, like allowing a person who is stressed to relax and sleep/recover better?

  8. #8
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    Jul 2007
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    starting strength coach development program
    Fine with me, if you like paying for a massage.

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