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Ice/Cold post exercise - Blunts Adaptations

Discussion in 'Optimal Fitness' started by Barry, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. Barry

    Barry New Member

    Paleomom



    They were not cold adapted., very few athletes are ! But perhaps that could make a difference. We have no research on this as far as I know do it's complete speculation for now .., like most things ;-)
     
  2. SimonM

    SimonM New Member


    Thanks Barry,



    I appreciate you opening up this line of inquiry. The thing that most worries me about all this research is that, with a few exceptions, the scientists are carrying out research on different things, but don't seem to be bothered by that fact. Some are studying the effects of cold water, some ice water. They are studying different time periods of application. They are studying the effects in everyone from untrained to highly-trained elites. They study the effects after widely different forms of physical activity, some of which bear no relation to what athletes do in training. And then along come the meta-analysers claiming to have definitive conclusions after selecting studies that fit their own personal criteria. :)



    One thing we CAN say for sure is that no one is studying the application of ice or CT as we are experimenting with thanks to Jack.



    For example, I was stunned to realise that in the latest meta-analysis by Leeder et al, nowhere in the paper do they define what they are reviewing - "Cold Water Immersion". The Leeder review focused on 14 studies, but the criteria for inclusion didn’t include water temperature nor time under cold; and nowhere in the full-text article do they define what "Cold Water Immersion" actually is - neither in terms of a temperature range or duration of exposure.



    In that meta-analysis they also don't specifically identify the 14 studies (and, indeed in some of their tables, have included many more than 14 studies), but looking at a couple of the article's references at random, you'll find Cold water immersion defined as

    "seated immersion in an ice bath (plunge pool) (9.2°C ± 0.2°C) to a level of the iliac crest for 9 min followed by 1 min seated at room air temperature" and in another study as "15min in a dedicated bath...continuously immersed in water temperatures of 10 C" (50 degrees F).



    The previous most up to date systematic review (2009) from the University of Ulster included 16 studies, but only those using cold water (wards, compared to the control group. So in the second go-round, they would maybe show some biochemical markers of that. I don't agree that finding lower markers in the control group means they had in some way adapted...the only way you can see who's adapted or not is by the scoreboard. Ie, I'[d want to see a real-life performance measure before jumping to any conclusions.



    Finally, (phew! I know, sorry about the length, but I did say this was important to me :) ), in terms of adaptation and timing and what-not...Ned Kock writes:




    I've often wondered about the strength of this "timing" thing with regard to the so-called nutrition "window". We are told that to optimise recovery we should eat protein and carbs ASAP after finishing training - I've heard it put down to 20 minutes after. But when do you start the clock? After squeezing out the last rep on the weight stack or on the track? Or after you've finished your cool-down? Or after you've finished walking home form the gym or the track? So.. similar question now crops up: if you do a proper ice bath immediately after your training session, the body "probably" perceives it as just another part of the training session and proceeds to adapt to it. I often have a 15-minute swim after a treadmill run... not quite the same stress...but you see the point.



    Done.

    Thanks Barry for bearing with the endless questioning of everything. And apologies to any other Krusers who are not quite as nerdy as us!!!!
     
  3. PaleoMom

    PaleoMom New Member

    Great post Simon, thank you!
     
  4. Barry

    Barry New Member

    Simon



    Thanks for the reply, you've been doing your homework I see ;-)



    1. What constitutes "ice baths "



    I agree, the studies vary quite a bit. I do think the standard is between 10-15min and 10C. Even Dr K's outdoor CT protocol is 10-20mins. Not much more we can say here other than yes I agree, the meta-analysis does not review consistent "ice bath" treatments.



    2. Subjects, Training Type etc



    Again, I agree, it's all about context. So not much to argue here either



    3. Inflammation and Adaptation



    This is what I am questioning !



    Your synopsis doesn't tie in with what happened. Both groups ran the same distance/speed/gradient. The "ice bath" group had more DOMS and myoglobin than the non ice bath group. This was the observation, wish I had the paper to share.



    I agree, the Kruse CT protocol does differ from the standard 10min @ 10C. Maybe 60min in ice would be different. We just don't know. The timing issue you mentioned I'm not too sure about. I don't think there is a "body thinking it is another part of the training" affect... it has to be more physiologically defined than that I think. What I mean, to go back to my whole initial argument, is whether "icing" reduces the inflammatory response which then causes a blunting of the adaptation response.



    Here is a study done on the Italian rugby team, not sure of the time/temp of cryotherapy though



    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030645650800106X



    So they showed a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines. The question is: is this a bad thing ? In terms of training adaptation, the general consensus would be that yes it is ?



    I know there are lots of variables and you did a good job at pointing them all out. My focus though is purely on the effect CT has on training adaptation though. There is now plenty of evidence to show that training adaptations are induced by acute inflammation. Therefore, "if" CT reduces inflammation and reduces the pro-inflammatory markers, particularly if it is done on a repeated basis (i.e. after every training session), is it blocking adaptation ????



    question everything ;-)
     
  5. finnite@dccnet.com

    finnite@dccnet.com New Member


    elsewhere on the blog and in the forum when asked he has indicated that 50-55F is the ideal temp for full immersion for 45 minutes
     
  6. hellojtm

    hellojtm New Member

    Here is the thing I don't get from a systems perspective. Supposedly the micro-trauma is what drives the need to adapt to exercise. So we lift some weights and we make little damages on our muscles and the body comes in, gets inflamed, autophages the torn up tissue, replaces it with more new tissue (more , meaning in excess of before). So if we are going to say that some form of CT (as Simon and Barry agree it's not well defined) blunts adaptation, what happens to that process? Where does it stop, would you just adapt more slowly or would you end up with scar tissue instead of new muscle...?



    thanks,

    jesse
     
  7. SimonM

    SimonM New Member


    Thanks for the correction Colleen... I was reading too quickly. Also I have been figuring that to get skin temp to 50-55, the water temp would need to be lower than 50. Glad if I am wrong about that :)
     
  8. SimonM

    SimonM New Member


    Hey Barry,



    Thanks for the response... I'll cut to the chase. I'll ignore (for now) the study you know about but isn't published yet, as it's becoming obvious I can't make any intelligent comments about it. So the question remains: does CT and/or ice bathing (in any of its many variations) blunt adaptation? I still think this is unproven. Here's my reasoning so far:



    1. Recovery and adaptation are linked - and I *think* we agree that CT/ice does help recovery. (You're saying - at the expense of adaptation.)

    2. Adaptation and recovery occur as a result as a massive “switching on” of specific genes. I don't think exposure to cold is going to stop this. I may be wrong.

    3. Part of the immediate response to intense exercise is switching on of mechanisms designed to quench free radicals and inflammation. There is acute inflammation going on DURING exercise. Once exercise stops, biochemically it is all hands to the pumps to STOP inflammation - or at least to tone it down to reasonable levels so that it does not interfere with healing. CT/ice helps that process.



    4. Part of the training/adaptation response is an upregulation of defences against inflammation - specifically against free radicals and other pro-inflammatory signals. CT/ice exposure helps that. In fact exercise has been proposed as a treatment for chronic inflammation.



    5. As far as I can see from what's published, this immediate post-exercise boost of natural anti-inflammatory mechanisms does not affect the adaptation to training; in fact it seems to be an adaptation itself. Adaptations to training are complex and involve a lot of different areas of the body, so right now I'm not convinced that inflammation is even necessary for adaptations in skeletal muscles.



    So, is a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines - shown in the rugby study - a bad thing? No, it isn't. And having done a bit more "homework", it is clear that there is another consensus that this is just what we want to happen... the overall effect of the acute inflammatory response generated by exercise is a net anti-inflammatory response.



    Here are a couple of relevant references showing that first, one of the key adaptations to exercise is an increased anti-inflammatory response (therefore, as above, damping inflammation with ice baths or whatever is going to help, not hinder). And, secondly, research showing that people exercising the most, and the most intensely, have LOWER markers of inflammation. Again - an enhanced anti-inflammatory response (aided by ice/cold, to go on and on about it) - is itself an adaptation to training.



    1: “Regular exercise causes adaptation of the antioxidant and repair systems, which could result in a decreased base level of oxidative damage and increased resistance to oxidative stress.”

    Radak Z et al, Adaptation to exercise-induced oxidative stress: from muscle to brain. Exerc Immunol Rev. 2001;7:90-107.



    2. “Overall, data from observational studies show that the greater the volume of physical activity, the lower the risk of elevated levels of inflammatory biomarkers.” and

    "The well-known activation of inflammatory pathways invoked by a single bout of exercise makes it almost counterintuitive that regular physical activity would serve to reduce chronic inflammation. However, it is now evident that an acute inflammatory response plays a major role in the training adaptations observed in exercised muscles. Contracting skeletal muscle produces and secretes several cytokines (myokines), most notably IL-6, which mediate metabolic changes during exercise (8). IL-6 release from muscle increases up to 100-fold during contractile exercise and its production results in increased anti-inflammatory cytokines...(SNIP)....Thus, acute exercise activates an immune response, but the effects are primarily anti-inflammatory and serve to enhance lipid and glucose metabolism. In turn, regular/chronic exercise not only leads to lower levels of circulating inflammatory markers, but also reduces the inflammatory response to acute exercise."

    Barbara J. Nicklas, Ph.D. and Tina E. Brinkley, PhD. Exercise Training as a Treatment for Chronic Inflammation in the Elderly. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2009 October; 37(4): 165–170.



    So, I'm still with Plan A. And, still "question everything" - agreed :)
     
  9. SimonM

    SimonM New Member

    Oh and just to complicate matters further :) I was just reading a blog by Steven Magness (runner and ex.phys) where he says that in a lab he knows they have just shown that antioxidants (taken at the wrong time) suppress PGC-1a, which is a pathway that leads to increases in miotchondria - one of the adaptations we train for.



    Steve repeats the idea that free radicals and oxidation occurring during endurance training are signals for adaptation - and act on that PGC-1a pathway (but note, he says "during", not "after"). So I was "homeworking" on that and just found that PGC-1a "is strongly induced by cold exposure".



    That statement is in this paper: Liang and Ward, PGC-1α: a key regulator of energy metabolism,

    Adv Physiol Educ December 2006 vol. 30 no. 4 145-151
     
  10. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    Barry I am well aware of what you are talking about but I wonder if you realize why they are positioning themselves this way? I do . Only a few elite athletes are marrying the cell membrane needs to the training for signaling. So, what I think youre asking is the their a problem in a mismatch of cT and post training yes......not because CT, per say, but because they are not eating to support their optimal EFA ratio's How do we know this? The Russians have done this work on their Olympic athletes and it has leaked out to some of the super elite world athletes. Those athletes are using much different sessions and ideas that you bring up here. I think your point is very valid but the real issue for the super elite for performance is all about marrying CM biochemistry with the possible performance. I have personal knowledge of only six elite athletes that are marrying these two issues together. One in particular has seen massive gains and performance changes that has translated to their bottom line. The other five are trying to regain an edge after an injury or increase a falling performance due to age. What they are doing is quiet but the fact that they are marrying CT with their diet congruently is not. I think the training in high performance athletes is evolving tremendously these days. Old Russian coaches are being paid 7 figures by some top level athletes for data they have.
     
  11. Barry

    Barry New Member

    SimonM;16064 wrote: Hey Barry,



    Thanks for the response... I'll cut to the chase. I'll ignore (for now) the study you know about but isn't published yet, as it's becoming obvious I can't make any intelligent comments about it. So the question remains: does CT and/or ice bathing (in any of its many variations) blunt adaptation? I still think this is unproven. Here's my reasoning so far:



    1. Recovery and adaptation are linked - and I *think* we agree that CT/ice does help recovery. (You're saying - at the expense of adaptation.)

    2. Adaptation and recovery occur as a result as a massive “switching onâ€￾ of specific genes. I don't think exposure to cold is going to stop this. I may be wrong.

    3. Part of the immediate response to intense exercise is switching on of mechanisms designed to quench free radicals and inflammation. There is acute inflammation going on DURING exercise. Once exercise stops, biochemically it is all hands to the pumps to STOP inflammation - or at least to tone it down to reasonable levels so that it does not interfere with healing. CT/ice helps that process.



    4. Part of the training/adaptation response is an upregulation of defences against inflammation - specifically against free radicals and other pro-inflammatory signals. CT/ice exposure helps that. In fact exercise has been proposed as a treatment for chronic inflammation.



    5. As far as I can see from what's published, this immediate post-exercise boost of natural anti-inflammatory mechanisms does not affect the adaptation to training; in fact it seems to be an adaptation itself. Adaptations to training are complex and involve a lot of different areas of the body, so right now I'm not convinced that inflammation is even necessary for adaptations in skeletal muscles.



    So, is a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines - shown in the rugby study - a bad thing? No, it isn't. And having done a bit more "homework", it is clear that there is another consensus that this is just what we want to happen... the overall effect of the acute inflammatory response generated by exercise is a net anti-inflammatory response.



    Here are a couple of relevant references showing that first, one of the key adaptations to exercise is an increased anti-inflammatory response (therefore, as above, damping inflammation with ice baths or whatever is going to help, not hinder). And, secondly, research showing that people exercising the most, and the most intensely, have LOWER markers of inflammation. Again - an enhanced anti-inflammatory response (aided by ice/cold, to go on and on about it) - is itself an adaptation to training.



    1: “Regular exercise causes adaptation of the antioxidant and repair systems, which could result in a decreased base level of oxidative damage and increased resistance to oxidative stress.â€￾

    Radak Z et al, Adaptation to exercise-induced oxidative stress: from muscle to brain. Exerc Immunol Rev. 2001;7:90-107.



    2. “Overall, data from observational studies show that the greater the volume of physical activity, the lower the risk of elevated levels of inflammatory biomarkers.â€￾ and

    "The well-known activation of inflammatory pathways invoked by a single bout of exercise makes it almost counterintuitive that regular physical activity would serve to reduce chronic inflammation. However, it is now evident that an acute inflammatory response plays a major role in the training adaptations observed in exercised muscles. Contracting skeletal muscle produces and secretes several cytokines (myokines), most notably IL-6, which mediate metabolic changes during exercise (8). IL-6 release from muscle increases up to 100-fold during contractile exercise and its production results in increased anti-inflammatory cytokines...(SNIP)....Thus, acute exercise activates an immune response, but the effects are primarily anti-inflammatory and serve to enhance lipid and glucose metabolism. In turn, regular/chronic exercise not only leads to lower levels of circulating inflammatory markers, but also reduces the inflammatory response to acute exercise."

    Barbara J. Nicklas, Ph.D. and Tina E. Brinkley, PhD. Exercise Training as a Treatment for Chronic Inflammation in the Elderly. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2009 October; 37(4): 165–170.



    So, I'm still with Plan A. And, still "question everything" - agreed :)


    Simon,



    great info. thanks.



    I'm going to stick to my whole adaptation argument. Yes, I agree, the adaptation from exercise results in lower oxidative damage, more anti-inflammation and upregulation of endogenous antioxidants. I'm not debating that at all. My debate, and I know I am repeating myself here, is whether suppressing the inflammation (and the magnitude by which it is supressed) can inhibit the adaptation process.



    You started it now, so I'm going to get a bit Geeky too, so for the Geeks:



    one of the main pathways needed for skeletal muscle adaptation is the NF-kB pathway,. This comprises a family of several transcription factors (p65, p52. p50, c-Rel). ROS promotes the NF-kB pathway and this triggers the gene expression. Pro-inflammatory cytokines cause ROS production. Therefore, if we inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines, is it possible that we are not activating the NF-kB pathway and thus gene expression ? Of even if CT only partially reduces it, isn't it still "not optimal" in the bigger picture ??



    And since you mentioned the PGC-1 (another can of worms!)... this can be blunted by quenching ROS through antioxidant supplementation. Interesting the potential switching on of PGC-1 through CT, need to look at that paper again. But it still raises the question as to whether we are actually blunting adaptation in the bigger scheme of things.



    By that I mean, serious athletes. Your references are 1. for average exercisers and 2. the elderly. But really what I am referring to here is full time/elite athletes or even those amatuers that train like the pro's. So am and pm sessions, endurance/intervals/S&C etc, 6 days a week, all year round. You know the type I mean. Does constant CT/ice therapy cause inhibition of the training adaptations on a long term basis ????



    A great read for you here in relation to the geeky stuff, bit of a head melter but good stuff



    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/expphysiol.2009.050526/full
     
  12. Barry

    Barry New Member


    Jack, I think they need to pay me 7 figures ;-) But my question to you in relation to the above is this : I assume you are saying the CT helps with adaptations if omega 3/6 ratio is optimal and cell membrane integrity is optimal in order for cell signalling to properly occur ? In other words, are you saying that unless this is optimal, then CT post exercise can actually blunt adaptations ?? But CT is not really the culprit ??
     
  13. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    precisely.....optimal performance requires the diet to be congruent to get the proper performance. if the CM signaling is off you won't get it......and this is why trainers today are clueless.......but that is rapidly changing.
     
  14. Danco3636

    Danco3636 Silver

    I've been taking 10+ cold shower and then some ice packs post lifting workout. Good or not?



    Feels good when I do it..... Refreshing and energizing.



    Also I sit in the sauna to warm up pre-workout for 5-10 to warm up for workout. Thoughts? Should I be doing cold shower before instead?



    Thanks!



    - Dan
     
  15. Barry

    Barry New Member

    You need to get you omega3/6 tested in order to see if you can CT always post workout .



    Re sauna: debatable , there is another thread on this I think. Maybe put this in the "ask jack" section
     
  16. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    I do not believe we lose any adaptation with cold exposure after training. Sustained chronic cold increase depletion of glycogen at muscles while we lose WAT and gain BAT. This combo of events depletes intramuscular glycogen which also increases testosterone and growth hormone secretion in a pulsatile fashion to a great degree. This increases adaptation and does not decrease it. This is not well studied in humans but I know people are doing these studies now because there are many reports in the professional sports leagues where performance increases after cold. In fact one of my blogs will talk about this very issue.
     
  17. Barry

    Barry New Member

    Jack,



    I know of other ways to deplete glycogen and promote BAT etc .. But If cold suppresses HPA-axis , how can this be good for adaptation ??



    As you said , there are very few human studies on this . It's not new though . Cold baths and cryotherapy have been used by teams and athletes for years. Yes, acute use is good i.e once a week after a game or during competition - I'm fine with that. It's chronic everyday use which I question . What we know now about the acute inflammatory response in terms of training adaptations doesn't correlate with chronic ice therapy. And it's all about context of course - I'm talking about athletes, those which already have many of the attributes you referred to like BAT, up regulated GH, UCP-3 etc . Lots of athletes already have this. So why ice after every workout if it can inhibit the acute inflammatory response which they need ???
     
  18. shah78

    shah78 Gold

    Hi barry, why do you keep insisting you need the "acute inflammatory response". As a recovering adrenal deranged ironman triathlete, I can surely state: "F ck the acute inflammatory response".:) I have eliminated almost all DOMS with this CT. WOW! Performance maybe? But you (me) have to be able to function to complete the next workout. Perhaps you've lived a charmed athletic life and don't need to recover, but I sure as hell do! Adaption at age 56 is not as important to me as just being able to do the workout.All the ability to" adapt" is not worth a thing if I'm lying on the couch in Pain dreaming of my "next" workout. All the best. Keep on moving/thinking/writing.
     
  19. shah78

    shah78 Gold

    Old football players (32 years old!) state similar things. They use the cold tubs way more than the younger guys. Like 10 x more! It gets them on the field.They don't need to get any "better". They need to stay on the field....... Why do you feel you need to get "better" at your "advanced" age.:) You're in the top 1%(for your fitness level) of all human beings whatever age. How much more adaption do you need?You my friend ,just need to stay on the field for the next 40 years. What am I missing?
     
  20. Barry

    Barry New Member


    Shah78,



    you just highlighted two things for me



    1. Context - yes, I agree, if you simply want to "get through" your training, then constant ice baths work. They help DOMS and also psychologically numb the pain. But that's not what I or many other athletes just want from our training. We want to get better and not just "get through" the session. We want to adapt !



    2. Individual v Team Sport - so in team sports its about getting ready for the next game, you are already talented, so adaptation per se is not top of the agenda. However, as you know, with individual sports its different. Every second counts. And in order to improve you need to adapt and constantly hit the switches, upregulate x, y and z, express this and express that. Excuse my words, I'm just making simple without going into the deep biochemistry ! Anyways, this is why acute phase inflammation is key and inhibiting it is counter productive.



    Inflammation is your friend, if its managed correctly ;-)
     

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