For someone who loves pushing myself to my physical limit multiple days a week, I rarely take the time to properly stretch and allow my body to recover from the beat down I put it through. I guess you could say I’m more of a “tough love” kinda person when it comes to fitness.
The funny thing is, I know that tough love only goes so far, and that my body needs a little TLC on occasion to keep it in working order. There’s truly no good reason why I haven’t been better about embracing recovery – it’s not like this city doesn’t have a slew of options just waiting for the masses of tired, gym-tossed New Yorkers. We’ve got ROMWOD sessions, entire studios dedicated to meditation, floating sensory depravation pods, cryotherapy tanks, salt rooms, and massage services that come to your apartment.
But have you guys heard of compression boots? I hadn’t until Danielle Bogaty reached out to me with an invite to come try them at PHLEX studio in midtown. She said 30 minutes in those babies would give me “fresh legs faster.” I was intrigued. You mean I can bounce back after a long run or leg day in less time than it takes to commute across town?
Bring it on.
I made my way over to PHLEX, which is conveniently located just a short walk from Grand Central terminal.
It’s a gorgeous, gleaming fitness + recovery hub that offers one-on-one physical therapy, personal training, massage therapy, acupuncture, and more. They call themselves a “premier physical therapy and integrative care studio” with a holistic and patient-centric approach.
As if the space wasn’t nice enough, they also have beautifully appointed bathrooms (with showers!) and laundry service.
I’d love to go back and get a full assessment done with one of their experts – goodness knows my knees are prone to injury and I could use a body scan to see where I might need some extra focus.
But today I was there to try out the NormaTec compression boots with Danielle, who is a personal trainer with a specific focus on helping her clients with smart recovery.
She zipped me into the deflated boots, hooked the sleeves into a computerized system, and then told me to sit back and relax for the next 30 minutes. For someone who really doesn’t like to sit still for too long this was a big ask, but thankfully I was able to distract myself with checking work emails and chatting with Danielle about recovery tips.
So what the heck do these boots do? They have specific chambers that inflate and deflate with air, creating a pattern of compression around your feet, ankles, calves, knees, and thighs. The chambers fill and release throughout the 30 minute session, which feels like the most incredible full-leg massage.
The boots claim to help flush out your muscles after working out at the gym, running, or even just walking around NYC. They’re also good for increasing flexibility, helping circulation, and aiding overall recovery.
I had to say I was skeptical. These things look like they’re made for elite athletes and ultra runners, not “urban athletes” like myself. Would I really feel any benefit?
Truth be told, I did! After 30 minutes in the boots my legs felt lighter, fresher, and ready for my run the next day. Any soreness or aching from my morning workout was gone. Wait a minute – maybe it’s worth spending time on recovery after all?
While we were focusing on proper recovery, Danielle also walked me through a few stretches to compliment my session in the boots. I told her my hips and hip flexors were eternally tight from years of long distance running, and she gave me some pointers about how to eek out the kinks.
She then asked the dreaded question I was hoping to avoid: “How much time do you spend foam rolling after your workouts?”
Um. 30 seconds? You just flop yourself on there and roll back and forth real quick, right?
Not so much. Apparently there’s a whole science and technique behind properly getting into those knotty muscles. You have to roll slowly, focusing not only on rolling up and down on those knots but also left to right. Need a little extra bang for your buck? Try flexing your leg in an L shape to get into the muscle even more.
Interested in checking out the NormaTec boots for yourself? Danielle can meet you at your gym, come to your home, or you can pop by PHLEX for a session. Here’s her website. The price is less than $30 for 30 minutes, which in this city is a steal. And that’s coming from someone who really doesn’t like to spend lots of time or money on recovery.
All you runners training for the NYC marathon, and all you fitness fanatics like me – try it out and let me know what you think!