Sauna and bodybuilding: Does it make sense?
Tight, well-rounded muscles that stand out under your shirt and on which the veins are clearly visible are part of your beauty image. To achieve this, you are willing to do quite a bit: You are regularly seen in the gym or in the Crossfit box, and you follow a strict diet plan.
And with your body you can really be seen: You are regularly followed by the looks of the girls and the guys in the outdoor pool, on the beach and in the studio. Again and again you read how healthy and beneficial sauna is. Is this option also suitable for bodybuilders? Or do you even hinder muscle growth with it?
Warmth, tranquility, and serenity – that’s what sauna time stands for. Sauna is one of the best things you can do for your relaxation, and regular sauna visits pay off. Sauna is the opposite of bodybuilding: here you let go of everything and take things easy.
Sauna regenerates and relaxes muscles
In the sauna, there are high temperatures, which ensure that the muscles relax. In addition, the hot air in the sauna stimulates blood flow to the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, and throat. Metabolism is boosted, especially if you take an ice-cold shower or jump into the plunge pool after each sauna session. The immune system is also strengthened, and you are less likely to get sick.
Benefits of sauna for bodybuilders:
- Reduces inflammation in the body
- Prevents sore muscles
- Relaxes the muscles
- Strengthens the immune system
- Improves the appearance of the skin
Especially if you have given everything during your workout today, it pays off to take a sauna afterward. In this way you prevent sore muscles, ensure relaxed muscles and promote muscle regeneration. The faster the muscles regenerate, the faster your performance is restored. Especially those who train regularly at a high level and want to exceed limits should coordinate regeneration phases and training well.
Is sauna good for muscle building?
Okay, sauna is good for relaxation and well-being. But does it also promote muscle building? Numerous fitness studios offer their customers a sauna, but some do not.
This is how sauna works: The heat increases the body temperature and stimulates metabolic activity. Through this effect, cell renewal runs at full speed. In addition, the increased sweat secretion flushes out waste products: amino acids, urea, electrolytes, and water. The application of heat by the sauna leads to increased blood flow to muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage, thus ensuring rapid recovery of the stressed systems. The replenishment of glycogen stores is also optimized by a sauna session.
Important aspects of sauna for bodybuilders:
- Hydration: During sauna sessions, the body loses a considerable amount of fluid through sweating. For this reason, it is essential to drink enough water before and after the sauna session to maintain water balance and avoid dehydration.
- Duration and intensity: The duration and intensity of sauna bathing should be chosen appropriately. Too long or too frequent sauna sessions can lead to exhaustion or overtraining. Be aware of your limits and do not overdo it.
- Nutrients: A balanced diet rich in protein and nutrients is essential for bodybuilders. The increased metabolic activity and fluid loss during sauna sessions can affect the body’s needs. A targeted nutrition strategy before and after sauna use can be helpful in maintaining energy and nutrient balance.
- Individual preferences and adaptations: Everyone’s body responds differently to sauna sessions. Some bodybuilders find that regular sauna visits actually improve their recovery and performance, while others find less positive effects. The key here is to consider personal experience and make individual adjustments as needed.
- Additional measures for regeneration: In addition to the sauna, other measures for regeneration can also be considered, e.g. massages, stretching, yoga or targeted breathing exercises. Combining different regeneration methods can have synergistic effects and maximize the overall effect on muscle growth and performance.
- Risks and precautions: Individuals with certain health conditions, such as heart problems, low blood pressure or other chronic diseases, should consult a physician before intensive sauna use. Too much heat can be counterproductive or even dangerous in such cases. Excessive sauna use can lead to exhaustion and increase the risk of injury. Pay attention to your own body signals and take adequate breaks between sauna sessions.
- Holistic approach: a holistic approach to fitness and health should also consider mental health. The sauna can promote not only physical relaxation, but also mental relaxation, which in turn can contribute to overall regeneration.
Conclusion: a sauna session promotes the regeneration of muscles and other functional systems and quickly restores your performance. By taking a sauna after a workout, you’ll prevent sore muscles and be able to return to full training the next day or even increase your workout load.