Recently, a friend of mine (yes, that’s her info on the poster above–had to give her a shout-out!) started getting into the whole essential oils thing. Although at first my endurance-athlete centered brain dismissed her claims of better sleep through Lavender and greater healing through “Thieves” (there’s a backstory, apparently), I have to admit I have become a convert. There’s really only one reason for that: “Chiropractor in a Bottle” AKA Valor. After finding that these tiny, scent-packed droplets actually work, it was just a short time before I was hooked. So, at the risk of starting to sound like a sales pitch, here are a few ways you can integrate essential oils into your training and recovery plan.
Most of these oils boost your body post-workout. And every cyclist or triathlete knows that recovery is key to a strong training session the following day–rest days are vital to continued progress. Better sleep, more calming relaxation, and relief from sore muscles (although feeling soreness can sometimes be a sign of overtraining, so be careful not to push harder than the magic 10% per week increase in your training plan) can all play a role in getting us to our well-earned goals. If you’re ready to take the plunge–er . . . well . . . mist I guess–here are a few oils that I use regularly.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita):
OK this one might surprise you. Drinking a single drop of this oil in 16 ounces of water about an hour before your workout can increase your stamina by over 20%. For reals. It’s science. According to a peer-reviewed (and that’s important verbiage) article published in the Journal of the International Study of Sport’s Nutrition, peppermint aids your respiratory system and allows you to swim, ride, or run, harder and for longer. Of all of the other oils I’ve tried, peppermint sits well atop the crowd for immediate impact. All I can say is that you’ve got to try this one!
This oil is supposed to help with muscle recovery–working to rebuild your body after a long day on the bike. Not only does it seem to aid in repairing muscle, it also can soothe aches and pains–especially feet tired from all those miles. I’m prone to tension headaches, and this one seems to melt them away without my usual dose of Ibuprofen. Use it before a workout to help prevent injury, or after for (and this is merely a claim, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if the science supports this) up to an 80% increase in muscle recovery.
Ortho Sport Massage Oil:
Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have a massage every evening (or even occasionally), Ortho Sport Massage Oil is designed for athletes. It provides warmth to help soothe muscle while providing anti-inflammatory agents to ease angry ligaments and such. This one has everything in it from Peppermint to Eucalyptus, so there’s bound to be something in there that works for you.
A roll-on applicator specifically for sore muscles, Deep Relief is a blend of Lemon and Peppermint to provide a break from a headache or inflamed areas of the body. Spread it on your temples for some serious headache help. This is great for pinpointing and relaxing away pain where you really feel it.
Of course, there are a great many more essential oils that we cyclists and triathletes can benefit from–Motivation, Lemongrass, and En-R-Gee are highly recommended blends that I have yet to try. If you’re still a skeptic, that’s OK. If you do test them out, comment to let me know what you think! Did they work for you?
Ready to try them out? I couldn’t thank my friend for hooking me up with all these great products without giving you a link to her page. Click here (make sure to select “retail customer”) and choose an oil or two to try. She’s also pretty great at answering questions about which oils can help you the most to reach your training goals.