Fast Talk podcast, ep. 52: Enhancing recovery with NormaTec

Research has shown that the best methods for aiding recovery fall into the compression category, including massage and compression gear. We discuss the science.

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The VeloNews Fast Talk podcast is your source for the best training advice and most compelling insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Listen in as VeloNews managing editor Chris Case and our resident physiologist and coach, Trevor Connor, discuss a range of topics, including training, physiology, technology, nutrition, and more.

IF YOU’RE A LONGTIME LISTENER of Fast Talk, you’ve probably noticed a theme emerge time and time again: To maximize performance you need to be as intense in your recovery as you are in your training. Put another way, the more you want to train, the better your recovery needs to be.

Of course, proper recovery requires good sleep, good nutrition, and good rest. Many athletes look for ways to aid or enhance that process. This has led some to take up pain-relieving approaches that may actually interfere with recovery.

The science on recovery has changed significantly in recent years. For a time almost purely focused on reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS), now the science recognizes that inflammation and some discomfort is a necessary part of recovery, and the best recovery tools aid this process.

The tools that seem to do this best are within the compression categories of recovery, including massage, cold water therapy, and compression gear.

Today, we’re sitting down with two guests from our sponsor NormaTec to discuss recovery in depth. NormaTec is a medical devices company that also crafts inflatable compression wear for athletes. Are they Space legs? Moon boots? You’ve probably seen them on the legs of cyclist friends or pros. Research has shown this type of recovery enhancement can have significant impacts on a host of factors, both molecular and circulatory. We’ll get to that in a bit.

In episode 52 we’ll cover:

  1. The current research on recovery: how it’s changing and why getting out of the way of our bodies and letting them do their thing is often best.
  2. We’ll also touch upon those areas where the body doesn’t always do a great job and may need some help. This includes venous return, edema, and excess inflammation.
  3. We’ll zero in on compression therapies which have been showing benefits and explain these sophisticated tools called external pneumatic compression.
  4. Our guests will talk specifically about NormaTec: how the founder, a doctor, was looking to help her patients with vascular issues when she hatched the plan to create the company and the device; we’ll also discuss some promising recent studies.
  5. And we’ll warn you now, we’ll go a little deep in the weeds about NormaTec’s effects on inflammation, and whether they’re beneficial or inhibitory.
  6. Finally, if you decide to give the recovery boots a try, we’ll give some tips on when, where, and how to do so.

Our primary guests today are two members of the NormaTec team: John Aquadro is NormaTec’s VP of Technology and Operations. He is an MIT trained molecular biologist who left the lab bench to help NormaTec develop its technology and systems. Also joining us is Matt Curbeau, NormaTec’s accounting wizard, who is a former professional triathlete and currently competes at the elite amateur level in road racing and cyclocross.

In addition we’ll hear from Frank Overton, the owner of FastCat coaching here in Boulder, Colorado. Frank and Trevor had a conversation about recovery modalities and compression gear. Frank definitely enjoys what he likes to call his “space legs” — he keeps a pair at his center for his athletes.

We’ll also share part of a discussion that Trevor had with Dr. Andrew Peterson, associate professor of pediatrics and the director of primary care sports medicine at the University of Iowa. Dr. Peterson wrote a review covering the most common recovery modalities and how effective they appear to be.

Lastly, we’ll hear from NormaTec devotee Toms Skujins of the Trek-Segafredo WorldTour team.

So, sit back, zip up your space legs, select your compression level, feel the pulses coursing through your body… Let’s make you fast!

Fast Talk is available on all your favorite podcast services, including iTunesStitcherGoogle Play, and Soundcloud. If you enjoy the podcast, please take a moment to rate and comment on iTunes after listening. Also, check out the VeloNews Cycling Podcast, our weekly discussion of the sport’s hottest topics, trends, and controversies.


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