Its great that recently in the performance world emphasis has been put on recovery. In the last decade alone there has been a large increase in athletes participating in performance based nutrition and recovery tactics outside of training. However as with anything, there are negative effects with over use.

Ice baths have efficacy in certain scenarios and can be very helpful. However SuppVersity shows us how they can hurt your training adaptation as well.

They review three different studies that come to a unanimous conclusion. Frequent use of ice baths post training blunt training adaptation. The adaptations that were blunted included: muscular endurance, maximal strength, and vascular changes in the affected muscle groups.

"individuals who use strength training to improve athletic performance, recover from injury or maintain their health should therefore reconsider whether to use cold water immersion as an adjuvant to their training" (Roberts. 2015) 

Catabolism is a critical part of the training and recovery process. Training is a catabolic activity that causes stress and raises levels of glucocorticoids. In most scenarios this is something you would avoid however this is the driving mechanism behind your training adaptations. Your body internally regulates this stress and recovers from it. The autonomics behind the cold bath may be contributing to its inhibition of adaptation. Your body responding to the training induced stress is what creates adaptation, broken down muscles get built up slightly larger etc. The cold bath is doing its job by inhibiting stress, but it is being used at the wrong time. There are plenty of more effective ways to manage stress throughout the training week. Read the full article for a more in-depth discussion on the research.

There are plenty of intra and post workout supplements you can use to help facilitate recovery and even improve your adaptations to training!

Header image courtesy of the original article on