Athletes and gym goers have been using ice to cool and help heal muscles before and after intense workouts for decades. More often than not, the average person uses ice baths, ice dips using freezing water or by sitting on the couch with an ice pack covered in a paper towel. As fun as that sounds, people are never eager to partake in the practice.That is where Cryotherapy comes into play. Three minutes AND it’s dry? Sign me up!

A couple times a week, clients usually ask, “Is it better to do Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) before or after I work out?” The answer is always, “It depends on your physiology as every person is different. You will benefit from doing it at either time and are welcome to do it before and after. Play around and see what works best for your body.” Blanket answer, right? 

Upon doing some serious research it has been concluded that the answer is not too far off. Bottom line: there are pros of doing WBC before and after a workout.

An article recently published by Frontiers of Physiology concluded that ““Whole-body cryotherapy has generally been used within a recovery setting after competition or strenuous training for athletes, and in clinical settings for the general population. However, the acute hormonal, anti-inflammatory, perceptual and psychological responses yielded by a single, or repeated, bouts of WBC indicate that this practice could enhance an athlete’s competition readiness when used alongside traditional elements of active warm-ups in the hours before competition in addition to aiding recovery in the hours after.”

Pros of Whole Body Cryotherapy Before Your Workout

Can you believe doing WBC prior to a workout can help get your muscles moving and give you the energy to go that extra mile and take on even the toughest leg day?

Studies show cryotherapy before a workout is often used to help increase flexibility, range of motion and the flow of blood and oxygen through your body. An article published by a  cryotherapy clinic in Texas has reported that after cryotherapy sessions, they feel looser, more flexible, have higher performing workouts and that their joints feel far less stiff. 

A review published in Sports Medicine concluded that “positive effects by pre-cooling can most likely be expected with endurance exercise.” This is likely due to the positive correlation between the increased flow of oxygen you get from the cryotherapy and the increased aerobic and anaerobic processes that are required for endurance related exercises. Therefore, exercises such as running and cycling are best to do on days you choose to do a pre-workout WBC session.

Pros of Whole Body Cryotherapy After Your Workout

If your goal is to get back to the gym at full capacity as quickly as humanly possible with minimum downtime and reduced soreness, doing WBC after a workout is the way to go.

The top reason active people get into doing WBC post-workout is because of its ability to speed up muscle recovery and quicken soft tissue healing. That same study conducted by researchers in Switzerland and Belgium also concluded that “cooling is superior compared to passive recovery strategies after various exhaustive or muscle-damaging exercise protocols,” and can reduce the symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) by 96 hours when compared to simply waiting it out. 

Joanna Fryben, CEO of KryoLife told Daily Burn, “Muscle recovery is much faster [after cryotherapy] because of increased blood flow and reduced inflammation.” That reduced inflammation stems from doing cryotherapy after a workout which decreases the number of white blood cells allowed to enter damaged muscles areas, thus decreasing the chemical reactions responsible for soreness.

All said and done, it is safe to say that whenever you choose to do WBC, it will always be beneficial.