When people ask me how my symptoms are nowadays I don’t really describe what I’m experiencing as they are very minimal on a day-to-day basis. The only thing I deal with daily are symptoms coming on when I overheat. This usually happens when I exercise intensely through circuit training or raise my heart rate on a run or take a hot shower or bath. The National MS Society describes the sensitivity here.
I’ve been blessed to be sent an array of cooling items by TechNiche International including two cooling vests that I can use while training in the gym and this summer during training & races. By keeping my core temperature cool I’m able to work out & push my disease/disorder/sidekick to the limits so I don’t experience symptoms when overheated. If I keep my core temp low then I don’t overheat the exposed nerves in my C spine where the myelin is gone. Thus I don’t give them a chance to freak out and have trouble communicating with my body.
The first vest (blue, grey & white one on the left) is very lightweight and I can wear it during my workouts easily. It’s called the HyperKewl Cooling Ultra Sport Vest. This vest is worn by cyclist Alberto Contador (2-time winner of the Tour de France), the Dutch National Football Team and now Robyn Baldwin Alpha Female 🙂
They also sent me a Cooling Cap, Wrist Wraps, Neckband & Towel (pictured in my photo and the one above) which will definitely come in handy during summer training and I can’t wait to try them out on my fitness retreat in the Dominican at the end of the month.
For the Cooling Ultra Vest, I ordered a men’s small but as you can see in the picture it’s a bit big on me for workouts and especially races. I’m going to get one for summer races that fit a bit smaller but so far this vest is amazing for workouts at Alpha Obstacle Training. One of the most intense workouts at Alpha is put on by Alvin (pictured below) had me sweating buckets but I only got slightly dizzy with minimal hand tremors.
The technology behind this vest is very cool. All I have to do is wet this under tap water, roll up in a towel to remove the extra water and the blue portion of the vest retains a chill against my body. It’s not ice cold but it keeps my core temperature cool. It’s easy to hand wash after a workout and hang to dry.
The other vest is under their KewlFit brand. I tried it on below and look like I’m wearing a bulletproof vest. This vest has ice pack inserts that I keep in the freezer or in my car (since it’s ridiculously cold in Canada right now). I’ve worn this for a few workouts at Alpha as well but it definitely has a bit more weight so I won’t be able to race in this one. It weighs around 3 lbs. I like to think I’m getting the cooling & weighted bonus during training. This will make me that much more epic.
It was explained to me that I should wear the black KewlFit vest before & after workouts. It has four removable inserts that I can stick in the freezer. These maintain a 14C temperature. The research out of Stanford about athletes pre-cooling their core temperature is fascinating from a purely athletic standpoint in addition to helping me manage my MS.
Here is a video from Dr. Sims an Exercise Physiologist who specializes in thermoregulation out of Stanford University. She explains that since the vest doesn’t actually use ice it ensures that your body actually isn’t shooting hot blood to the core as it does when shocked with ice.
You can see several research stats below showing improved athletic performance of 10 – 20% and run time increased by 17% with pre-cooling.
I’ll definitely be lugging this bad boy to summer races in the insulated carrying bag! I’m beyond grateful to TechNiche for taking care of me. My workouts this month have been amazing. I’m able to perform well, keep up with the rest of the class and feel stronger than I did before my diagnosis. I’m not letting this slow me down one bit!