Need something to aid post-ride recovery? Muc-Off’s Amino Recovery Balm could help you. Tested during two ache-inducing weeks of alpine riding.
The Background on Balm
As a cyclist, you often prioritize taking care of your bike over everything else. Your bike is always cleaned and oiled after you get home from a ride, but you rarely give thought to aching muscles. Post-ride pain is just part and parcel of mountain biking, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be, apparently.
Did you think Muc-Off only did lube and pink cleaning spray? Prepare to be blown away. Now, not only can you oil up your bike with Muc-Off, but now you can oil up yourself with them too!
This is because Muc-Off have just launched their Athlete Protection range, which,in addition to the Recovery Balm, includes a Luxury Warm Up Cream, Ultra Endurance Cream and Explosive Power Cream. All specially formulated to help you recover, endure (or enduro?), warm up or explode.
So, whilst preparing for two weeks of mountain biking in Morzine, I wondered what to pack. The daily plan would include cleaning the bikes and lubing them up each evening, but what about keeping my poor body a rideable condition? Protein powder, snacks and energy gels aside, I was still going to be aching at the end of the day, struggling to walk and popping ibuprofen between runs as if they were M&Ms. I wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of that again.
To help post-ride recovery this time, I looked into some of the most cutting edge, scientific sporting technology available. Fortunately, it happened to be sitting by the counter at the local bike shop…so I threw some Muc-Off Amino Recovery Balm into my basket.
The back of the box said it’s designed to aid recovery through the use of amino acids. It couldn’t hurt to try it, could it? Definitely sounds…scientific?
Testing the Recovery Balm
So, over the next two weeks in the Alps the plan was to become a guinea pig. I’d be rubbing down my aching muscles day after day, putting the science to the test and seeing if it actually helped recovery.
Flash forward to the end of day one, post ride. The aches are setting in. After hitting the Chavannes runs all afternoon my shoulders ached and my thighs felt as stiff as a boards. Hobbling out of the shower and rifling through a kit bag, I grabbed the Amino Recovery Balm. Directions of Use: apply after showering. Perfect. Now to test it…
Squirting the balm into my hands I realised it’s not a cream; It’s a balm. It’s in the name, but the consistency was a little runnier than I expected and a big splooge went straight onto the floor. With the amount that I caught, I proceeded to rub it into my arms, thighs, shoulders and neck.
The recovery balm was initially soothing as the cool, slightly more viscous than cream absorbed into my skin. After a few seconds I felt a tingling sensation, then waves of warmth rippled across me. Think of a strong calming warmth with a cedar wood scent – like being spooned by Tom Selleck’s moustache, on a fur rug, in a log cabin.
The warmth lasted about 25 minutes so I reapplied before bed and felt pretty relaxed as I nodded off to sleep.
Come morning I was still pretty knackered, but, I definitely could still walk and stretch. Still aching a little,but less than I did the previous year.
Shower, rinse and repeat over the course of the next 14 days and I have to say, my bedsheets smelt pretty cedar-y and I wasn’t a hobbling wreck of a human. I think it worked.
A word of warning: if you’re thinking a warming massage balm might be good for other “activities”… it definitely isn’t. Trust me. So keep it out of your eyes and mouth. Even though the formula is non-toxic, it tastes really bad.
How it Works | The Amino Patch Science
According to the scientists at Muc-Off, the amino glutamine in the Recovery Balm increases glycogen storage and hydrates your muscle cells. Which is good for you, apparently. Through this absorption action, protein synthesis and energy metabolism is also boosted, helping to improve your body’s natural regeneration process in the affected muscle areas.
Here’s a video by Muc-Off with people rubbing it into themselves as blue lines envelop their limbs:
The balm itself felt great, it was relaxing and soothing – just like a wood scented deep-heat on the affected muscle areas. After a hard day’s riding it was a welcome sensation as you feel as if you’re in a hot-tub with waves of warmth pulsing through your muscles which is great just before bed. I’d recommend it just for this. Try it for yourself.