If simply putting on some topical product before a workout could make someone faster or help them recover better, who wouldn’t be interested in using them?!
So I got a few bottles and did a one week trial of each product. As much as possible, I kept my workout structure and volume (~ 16 hours) the same: Mondays short strength workout and a VO2 bike interval session, Tuesdays were long run and some swim drills, Wednesdays were long outdoor rides, Thursdays were a key strength and fun fat bike recovery ride, Fridays were a shorter bike interval session with some swim drills, and Saturdays were threshhold efforts on the bike followed by a brick run. Sundays were family day (I don’t write “off” since I’m usually expending quite a bit of energy chasing around my boys!). My training was very bike-focused as I’m still coming off of my 1/2 marathon and marathon virtual races, and quite honestly, the running needed a bit of a break.
From my research, albeit limited, the two products are similar, but not mutually exclusive. For sake of simplicity, AmpHuman works to act as a PH buffer of lactic acid outside the cells (via sodium bicarbonate) and Lactigo attempts to buffer lactic within the cells (via carnosine). Both companies have at least some studies that are listed on their websites, which seem to demonstrate their efficacy. Also, both companies have been surprisingly open and communicative with me – I was quite impressed about how they each seemed eager to answer my questions and not just sell their stuff. Neither company knew that I was testing or comparing their products or would write anything, so from their perspective, I was just an everyday consumer.
So what were the results? Happily, I found that both products worked. Yep, I can say for me, they they both made noticeable differences. Here is a little chart which describes my experience:
|Ease of Application||Very easy; dries quickly||Requires a bit more time and massage to get it in and much thicker
|Does it help during efforts?||Yes. More on top end work and strength sessions.||Absolutely. Felt like it got deeper into the muscles and made a significant difference in longer threshold efforts. Less muscle burn.**|
|Does it stay on (what if I swim with it)?||Yes||Yes|
|Does it help with recovery?||I think so – the menthol gives it a really nice added benifit. Perhaps placebo but it has that cooling effect to make it feel like its doing something||A little harder to tell. Because its thicker, I didn’t like wearing it under clothes or pajamas as much|
|Would I buy it again?||Yes||Yes|
I think my plan going forward will actually to use both products, but not all the time. Although the companies address the question of whether you can use their product too much (both say no), I think there is still something to be said about letting your body work through stress and recovery without the use of any aids. I occasionally do fasted workouts and try to get in many of my sessions without ergonomic aids (well, coffee is pretty much a daily thing). But for key sessions and big training blocks, I plan to start using both Lactigo and AmpHuman. I will likely apply Lactigo the night before, and then 1-2 hours before my workout, I will put on AmpHuman PR lotion – and hopefully get the best of both. Each company has stated they are coming out with new products, so I am excited to see where they go from here. If you have any comments or experience with these products, let me know!
**The day after I wrote this post I set an ALL TIME 20 minute FTP test PR. Lactigo applied the night before and PR lotion applied 30 minutes before my ride.