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  1. #1
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    Sauna vs Steam Room?

    What are the pros and cons of both? Which should I be using? How long should I stay in?

    Right now when I go to the gym, I go straight to the sauna for 5 min to warm my body up and do lite stretching. After that I lift for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Then 20 min of cardio. Drink my post protein shake (2 Cups milk, 2 egg whites, 10 grams whey protein, table spoon natural peanut butter). Then into the sauna for 2, 10 min sessions with a 5 min break in between.

    Is this benifitting me? How? Should I change anything?
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  2. #2
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    First lets get the myths out of the way. Saunas and steam rooms don't magically make u burn fat. They make u sweat a lot, which you then need to replenish. There's not much weight loss from them.

    The good

    They both create a fake fever which may makes you more in tune to weather changes, thus saving you from getting pesky colds.

    Good for the skin

    Good for the joints and muscle relaxation (the big important one imo)

    Steam room: Extremely good on your lungs and throat for clearing congestion. For me this is the absolute winner between the two due to this.

    Sauna: Because it's dry heat you can pump the heat a LOT higher. For example while I can handle say 200 degrees in a sauna, if you were in a steam room you would be dead quite fast. Wet heat is a lot harder to take, so you can only bring it to around 110 degrees max. The norm is anywhere from 95-105 degrees.

    I have a steam room in my house and it's prevented many colds and chest congestions. Anything that can keep me more consistent is the clear winner here.
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    Not sure I agree with any of the benfits listed above... I don't necessarily refute them either, but this question (which I think gets asked oddly often around here) is trying to tie two unrelated items together.

    I would have the same reaction if someone asked if playing the guitar after a hard workout was helpful. I just don't think there is enough compelling evidence to support any statement above and beyond the rather subjective idea that it "relaxes you." There is all kinds of quasi 5th grade science project studies to claim benefits of music (and sauna's) but the validity to these studies just isn't there.

    I like a good sauna or steam room, but I also know it is just "for fun" and that it's ok that not everything I do in this world has a relevant impact on my weight training.
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  4. #4
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    Originally Posted by CookAndrewB View Post
    Not sure I agree with any of the benfits listed above... I don't necessarily refute them either, but this question (which I think gets asked oddly often around here) is trying to tie two unrelated items together.

    I would have the same reaction if someone asked if playing the guitar after a hard workout was helpful. I just don't think there is enough compelling evidence to support any statement above and beyond the rather subjective idea that it "relaxes you." There is all kinds of quasi 5th grade science project studies to claim benefits of music (and sauna's) but the validity to these studies just isn't there.

    I like a good sauna or steam room, but I also know it is just "for fun" and that it's ok that not everything I do in this world has a relevant impact on my weight training.
    Well there's certain things that can't be refuted, though I do agree with you to some extent. If there's one study we know to be true it's heats affects on the body. Plus the heat does in fact make your heart rate go much higher than resting, thus giving you a fake sickness or some kind of stress on the body. Lastly, steam is known to break up congestion. Hence all the steam products for sinuses, etc.

    I do agree that no evidence is 100% on either but we at least know those.
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    As a person whose sinuses qualify for FEMA assistance, the steam room has really been a help in managing my nasal passages. The relaxation has also been a pleasant side effect.
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  6. #6
    Fitness Proprietor SageFit's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by senor_mortgage View Post
    As a person whose sinuses qualify for FEMA assistance, the steam room has really been a help in managing my nasal passages. The relaxation has also been a pleasant side effect.
    #1 reason to use it for me. The moment I feel congestion I hop in and pump it to 105 and roast for 30 min (another thing, you can stay in steam rooms longer due to lower temp). When I get out I feel like a new person breathing wise.
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  7. #7
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    Originally Posted by SageFit View Post
    Well there's certain things that can't be refuted, though I do agree with you to some extent. If there's one study we know to be true it's heats affects on the body. Plus the heat does in fact make your heart rate go much higher than resting, thus giving you a fake sickness or some kind of stress on the body. Lastly, steam is known to break up congestion. Hence all the steam products for sinuses, etc.

    I do agree that no evidence is 100% on either but we at least know those.
    I would argue that overheating your body, or making it cope with an increased demand for cooling, is NOT equal to having a fever.

    Steam is nice when you are sick and breaking up phlegm, but that is not related to muscle building or strength in any way (again, the idea that it is "nice, but not related").

    Either way, I enjoy it, but I understand that the real benefits stop right there. I've enjoyed my time, maybe mentally I've shed a little stress. That is as valid a reason as any to do it. I would just caution against any idea that it goes much further than that.

    I'm very curious why people feel the need to even draw these kinds of conclusions.
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by CookAndrewB View Post
    I would argue that overheating your body, or making it cope with an increased demand for cooling, is NOT equal to having a fever.

    Steam is nice when you are sick and breaking up phlegm, but that is not related to muscle building or strength in any way (again, the idea that it is "nice, but not related").

    Either way, I enjoy it, but I understand that the real benefits stop right there. I've enjoyed my time, maybe mentally I've shed a little stress. That is as valid a reason as any to do it. I would just caution against any idea that it goes much further than that.

    I'm very curious why people feel the need to even draw these kinds of conclusions.
    No one said anything about strength.
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    Originally Posted by CookAndrewB View Post
    I'm very curious why people feel the need to even draw these kinds of conclusions.
    Well for people who enjoy the sauna/steam room its nice to know the benefits (or relative lack there of). Given that the BB community is so highly scientific I think its more than legitimate to ask about the differences between them.
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    Originally Posted by scottclymer View Post
    What are the pros and cons of both? Which should I be using? How long should I stay in?

    Right now when I go to the gym, I go straight to the sauna for 5 min to warm my body up and do lite stretching. After that I lift for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Then 20 min of cardio. Drink my post protein shake (2 Cups milk, 2 egg whites, 10 grams whey protein, table spoon natural peanut butter). Then into the sauna for 2, 10 min sessions with a 5 min break in between.

    Is this benifitting me? How? Should I change anything?
    ^^^^^
    Originally Posted by SageFit View Post
    No one said anything about strength.
    I could be off base here, but when a question about the use of a sauna or steam room involves the recounting of an individual's workout and nutrition, I clearly see that they are trying to draw the line between recovery/performance (strength inclusive)/body comp and the sauna or steam room.

    Something about that whole initial post doesn't say "Can someone tell me what is good for my sinuses?"
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by senor_mortgage View Post
    Well for people who enjoy the sauna/steam room its nice to know the benefits (or relative lack there of). Given that the BB community is so highly scientific I think its more than legitimate to ask about the differences between them.
    Thanks for the laugh. The bodybuilding community is founded on quasi-science and blatant mythology and old wive's tales.
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    Originally Posted by scottclymer View Post
    What are the pros and cons of both? Which should I be using? How long should I stay in?

    Right now when I go to the gym, I go straight to the sauna for 5 min to warm my body up and do lite stretching. After that I lift for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Then 20 min of cardio. Drink my post protein shake (2 Cups milk, 2 egg whites, 10 grams whey protein, table spoon natural peanut butter). Then into the sauna for 2, 10 min sessions with a 5 min break in between.

    Is this benifitting me? How? Should I change anything?
    In what way do you mean benefit? I don't get the connection to how this benefits muscle gain or strength. Soon as I am done from the gym I head straight home, knocking over people as I go because I am in such a hurry to stuff my face as fast and start recovery. The idea that the steam room/sauna is good for bodybuilding or strength seems a bit silly.

    Additionally I don't get the need for all that stuff in your protein. Simple Carbohydrates first to get into your body quickly, I take chocolate. Protein second - i take whey.... protein isapparantly absorbed into the blood stream and into cells more efficiently when isulin is higher, thus carbs first to increase insulin levels. And fluid. Even simpler would be to just eat a round meal.

    All this is meaningless though if your workout is ****.
    Last edited by NIguy; 12-22-2009 at 04:08 PM.
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    Originally Posted by NIguy View Post
    In what way do you mean benefit? I don't get the connection to how this benefits muscle gain or strength. Soon as I am done from the gym I head straight home, knocking over people as I go because I am in such a hurry to stuff my face as fast and start recovery. The idea that the steam room/sauna is good for bodybuilding or strength seems a bit silly.

    Additionally I don't get the need for all that stuff in your protein. Simple Carbohydrates first to get into your body quickly, I take chocolate. Protein second - i take whey.... protein isapparantly absorbed into the blood stream and into cells more efficiently when isulin is higher, thus carbs first to increase insulin levels. And fluid. Even simpler would be to just eat a round meal.

    All this is meaningless though if your workout is ****.
    High temp means increased heart rate. Increased heart rate means increased blood flow. Increased blood flow provides more O2 and Protein to my muscle right? I thought that's what they needed to rebuild themselves.

    And what is all that stuff.... Milk? great for lactose (good fast acting carb) and Cassien protein which is slow to digest, about 2-3 hours. Egg whites have around 40 different proteins in them and digest a little faster. Olive oil has good fats and good carbs. Some thing by body needs. And I need not say anything about the Whey. So what exactly is the problem here? Or do you have no good input because you know nothing about it?
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    Originally Posted by scottclymer View Post
    High temp means increased heart rate. Increased heart rate means increased blood flow. Increased blood flow provides more O2 and Protein to my muscle right? I thought that's what they needed to rebuild themselves.
    If your body needs more O2 it prompts the body to increasing breathing subconciously, if your body needs more blood the brain sends a signal to the heart to beat more round the body, again this is subconciously... In other words you do not need to think how often should I be breathing or wonder if your heart is beating too fast, you are way way overcomplicating things. Sitting in a sauna/steam room for the guts of half an hour, where your body fights to keep cool by sweating is not going to help you grow muscle. Sorry - I don't know who told you that it was benefical, ask them to prove it... Have you ever thought that maybe they just like to be seen after they workout, and just like walking about with a pump letting everyone know, 'yeh, that's right, I just did the guns.' Alot of people go sit in a sauna after a workout, and they may suggest reasons otherwise but in my experience in nearly all cases it is vanity.

    Originally Posted by scottclymer View Post
    And what is all that stuff.... Milk? great for lactose (good fast acting carb) and Cassien protein which is slow to digest, about 2-3 hours. Egg whites have around 40 different proteins in them and digest a little faster. Olive oil has good fats and good carbs. Some thing by body needs. And I need not say anything about the Whey. So what exactly is the problem here? Or do you have no good input because you know nothing about it?
    Whilst this may all be true I have the sneaking feeling that you are focasing too much on the little things. Your protein mix is ridiciously complex and I think you miss the point of using a protein shake in the first place. It is not a meal replacement, it is a supplement used by many to quickly push the body out of catabolic physiological state towards a growth promoting anabolic one. And to do this effectively you need only two things 1-fast acting carbs and 2-protein that is going to be degraded fast and readily absorbed into the blood stream. Keep the shake simple, eat healthy meals and you'll be fine.

    You're overthinking things, all of the above is meaningless if you don't have an effective workout. I know people on x amount of supplements, with the most elaborate nutrition plan ever and who love nothing more than to talk about it, constantly dropping buzz words about how cool drop sets are, and supersets and all that jazz but don't know jack about training. Listen scottclymer, i was only trying to help in the first place, you dont want my advice don't take it I don't care. I'm trying to save you from finding out the answers the hard way. Weight lifting is much more simple than you are making it, set a goal, workout towards that goal and eat well. These are the priorities, the sauna/steam room and even the protein shake are after thoughts. That is all.
    Last edited by NIguy; 12-24-2009 at 05:31 AM.
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    *shrugs*

    I just enjoy a good sweat. Who knows if it excretes toxins? It certainly helps me stretch post-workout, and if I've been retaining water it gets rid of that uncomfortable bloat.

    I doubt very much that it hurts, let's put it that way.
    Well, Art is Art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.
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  16. #16
    Spartan Pitbull Ninja Wiz thouomega's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by scottclymer View Post
    What are the pros and cons of both? Which should I be using? How long should I stay in?

    Right now when I go to the gym, I go straight to the sauna for 5 min to warm my body up and do lite stretching. After that I lift for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Then 20 min of cardio. Drink my post protein shake (2 Cups milk, 2 egg whites, 10 grams whey protein, table spoon natural peanut butter). Then into the sauna for 2, 10 min sessions with a 5 min break in between.

    Is this benifitting me? How? Should I change anything?
    Raw egg whites= face palm

    1) Raw egg is harder to digest (less of the
    Protein is received)
    2) your consuming over 2 hour old egg raw
    3) your wasting the yolk.
    And 4) your weightlifting 2 hours + 20 min cardio

    Are you rocky now? I suppose you think steel cut oats are more
    Beneficial then rolled, too... Are we stuck
    In the 80s?

    I am saying this because I find this to be way
    More worth discussing then sweating.
    Gains brah, gains.

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    http://www.youtube.com/user/GDBodybuilding?feature=mhee
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