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Enhancing Your Recovery with NormaTec

Recovering from a big ride can be helped by NormaTec, a medical device company, that crafts inflatable compression wear for athletes. Research has shown this type of recovery enhancement can have significant impacts on a host of factors, both molecular and circulatory.

Normatec recovery boots

If you’re a long-time listener of Fast Talk, you’ve probably noticed a theme emerge time and time again: To maximize performance you need to be as intense in your recovery as you are in your training. Put another way, the more you want to train, the better your recovery needs to be.

Of course, proper recovery requires good sleep, good nutrition, and good rest. Many athletes look for ways to aid or enhance that process. This has led some to take up pain-relieving approaches that may actually interfere with recovery.

The science on recovery has changed significantly in recent years. For a time almost purely focused on reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS), now the science recognizes that inflammation and some discomfort is a necessary part of recovery, and the best recovery tools aid this process.

The tools that seem to do this best are within the compression categories of recovery, including massage, cold water therapy, and compression gear.

Today, we’re sitting down with two guests from our sponsor NormaTec to discuss recovery in depth. NormaTec is a medical devices company that also crafts inflatable compression wear for athletes. Are they Space legs? Moon boots? You’ve probably seen them on the legs of cyclist friends or pros. Research has shown this type of recovery enhancement can have significant impacts on a host of factors, both molecular and circulatory. We’ll get to that in a bit.

In episode 52 we’ll cover:

  1. The current research on recovery: how it’s changing and why getting out of the way of our bodies and letting them do their thing is often best.
  2. We’ll also touch upon those areas where the body doesn’t always do a great job and may need some help. This includes venous return, edema, and excess inflammation.
  3. We’ll zero in on compression therapies which have been showing benefits and explain these sophisticated tools called external pneumatic compression.
  4. Our guests will talk specifically about NormaTec: how the founder, a doctor, was looking to help her patients with vascular issues when she hatched the plan to create the company and the device; we’ll also discuss some promising recent studies.
  5. And we’ll warn you now, we’ll go a little deep in the weeds about NormaTec’s effects on inflammation, and whether they’re beneficial or inhibitory.
  6. Finally, if you decide to give the recovery boots a try, we’ll give some tips on when, where, and how to do so.

Our primary guests today are two members of the NormaTec team: John Aquadro is NormaTec’s VP of Technology and Operations. He is an MIT trained molecular biologist who left the lab bench to help NormaTec develop its technology and systems. Also joining us is Matt Curbeau, NormaTec’s accounting wizard, who is a former professional triathlete and currently competes at the elite amateur level in road racing and cyclocross.

In addition we’ll hear from Frank Overton, the owner of FastCat coaching. Frank and Trevor had a conversation about recovery modalities and compression gear. Frank definitely enjoys what he likes to call his “space legs” — he keeps a pair at his center for his athletes.

We’ll also share part of a discussion that Trevor had with Dr. Andrew Peterson, associate professor of pediatrics and the director of primary care sports medicine at the University of Iowa. Dr. Peterson wrote a review covering the most common recovery modalities and how effective they appear to be.

Lastly, we’ll hear from NormaTec devotee Toms Skujins of the Trek-Segafredo WorldTour team.

So, sit back, zip up your space legs, select your compression level, feel the pulses coursing through your body… Let’s make you fast!

Primary Guests
John Aquadro: VP of Technology and Operations at NormaTec
Matt Curbeau: NormaTec staff and a professional triathlete

Episode Transcript



Welcome to fast talk the Vela news podcast and everything you need to know to ride and compress.


Chris Case  00:10

Hello and welcome to fast talk. I’m Chris case managing editor of velonews joined by my very rested, very relaxed co host coach Connor. If you’re a longtime listener of fast talk, you’ve probably noticed a theme emerged time and time again on the show. To maximize performance you need to be as intense in your recovery as you are in your training. Put another way, the more you want to train, the better your recovery needs to be. Of course, proper recovery requires good sleep, good nutrition, and good rest. Many athletes look for ways to aid or enhance that process. This has led some of them to take up pain relieving approaches that may actually interfere with recovery. The science on recovery has changed significantly in recent years, for a time almost purely focused on reducing delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. Now the science recognizes that inflammation and some discomfort is a necessary part of recovery. And the best recovery tools aid this process. The tools that seem to do this best are within the compression categories of recovery, including massage, cold water therapy and compression gear. Today, we’re sitting down with two guests from our sponsor NormaTec to discuss recovery in depth. NormaTec is a medical devices company that also crafts inflatable compression wear for athletes, or the space legs, Moon boots, you’ve probably seen them on the legs of cyclists, friends and pros. Well, research has shown this type of recovery enhancement can have significant impacts on a host of factors, both molecular and circulatory. We’ll get to in a bit. In Episode 52, we’ll cover first the current research on recovery, how it’s changing and why getting out of the way of our bodies and letting them do their thing is often best. Part Two. We’ll also touch upon those areas where the body doesn’t always do a great job and may need some help. These include venous return Edema and excess inflammation. Three will zero in on compression therapies which have been showing benefits and explained the sophisticated tools called External Pneumatic Compression. Four our guests will talk specifically about NormaTec how the founder “a doctor” was looking to help her patients with vascular issues when she hatched the plan to create the company and the device, we will also discuss some promising recent studies and will warn you now we’ll go a little deep in the woods about NormaTec’s effects on inflammation and whether they’re beneficial or detrimental. Finally, if you decide to give the recovery boots a try, we’ll give some tips on when where and how to do so. Our primary guests today are two members of the NormaTec team. John Aquadro is NormaTec’s VP of technology and operations. He’s an MIT trained molecular biologist to left the lab bench to help NormaTec develop its technology and systems. Also joining us is Matt Curbeau NormaTec’s accounting wizard who’s a former professional triathlete and currently competes at the elite amateur level in road racing and cyclocross. In addition, we’ll hear from Frank Overton, a regular on the show and the owner of fast cat coaching here in Boulder, Colorado. Frank and Trevor had a conversation about recovery modalities and compression gear. Frank definitely enjoys what he likes to call his space legs. He keeps a pair at a center for his athletes will also share part of a discussion that Trevor had with Dr. Andrew Peterson, sociate, professor of pediatrics and the director of primary care Sports Medicine at the University of Iowa, Dr. Peterson wrote a review covering the most common recovery modalities and how effective they appear to be. Lastly, we’ll hear from NormaTec devotee, Toms Skujins of Trek Segafredo World Tour team. So sit back, zip up your space legs, select your compression level, feel the pulses coursing through your body. Let’s make you fast.


Trevor Connor  03:59

Okay, so before we go into this, I think we need to give a disclaimer because this is actually our first podcast where we have brought a sponsor in to talk with us something that’s really important to Chris and I and if you want evidence of this, I think go back to our episodes It was either May or June but we basically had a month without any advertising on the podcast that is not for lack of people trying to advertise on the podcast, something that’s been really important to us since the beginning is we don’t put anybody on this show that we don’t believe in and we have gotten some interesting ones my all time favorite is I can’t remember the name of it and they appreciate me not naming it. But it was a drink mix that contained lactic acid because if you drink lactic acid, you teach your body to buffer it. Needless to say, we didn’t put that on the show. So we are talking with the sponsor today but please understand they are a sponsor because we have been reaching out to them and it is a product that we believe in and we’re gonna talk today about recovery and really talk about the research which is heading in the direction of what their product is offering.


Background of NormaTec

Chris Case  05:08
So joining us today are John Aquadro and Matt Curbeau of NormaTec guys, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and your roles at NormaTec.


Matt Curbeau  05:16

So this is Matt Curbeau, my former pro triathlete, I’ve known NormaTec for a bunch of years, going through the ranks with them. And currently, I’m a cat, one cyclist that’s focusing on doing elite amateur cycling. And I’m an accountant as well. So that’s how they brought me into the office full of things.


Chris Case  05:35

And john, awesome. So


John Aquadro  05:37

I’m John Aquadro, and I’ve been at NormaTec for about nine years. Originally, I was molecular biologists doing actually drug development research, but I was looking for change. And I came across really interesting product, which was this pneumatic compression device for patients for medical problems, and they were small companies, there’s a lot of opportunity to apply my science background to more than just science, it was fascinating. So fast forward nine years, and I got to do everything from programming to marketing to what I’m doing now is overseeing the technology and the operations side of the business, and rolling out our technology for athletes, which has been just a phenomenal experience to see what a medical product can do to a whole new demographic of individuals.


Chris Case  06:20

And I think that’s one of the interesting things is that NormaTec began as a more of a medical devices company and has as expanded into the sort of sports and performance side of things.


Trevor Connor  06:32

Absolutely. And you have a pretty huge list of people who are using the product. I was going through that and I gotta say, you got Drake as a Toronto boy. Got our boy, so I’m all behind you.


Matt Curbeau  06:45

Yeah, we have people I think like LeBron was a super early adopter that the owner G was in touch with so now you’re getting on his Instagram or his Twitter account, at no really expenditure other than some units was pretty awesome.


John Aquatro  07:01

What’s been fascinating is to see the adoption, you know, we’re not going out chasing down the pro teams and everything. This is folks on every level, identifying empirically the benefit of the device and bringing it in to the point where you know, the capitals and the Golden Knights both have NormaTec’s everybody in the Football League, and soccer and baseball, all are using NormaTec Olympic organizations are using NormaTec. There’s military usage, there’s a huge PT tyre application. So basically, everywhere elite athletics is happening right now. NormaTec is present. And we’ve been very blessed. Because it’s been mostly word of mouth. People have used it, they’ve seen results. They’ve talked to their peers.


Matt Curbeau  07:42

So we’re excited to delve back into the cycling world. I guess, team BMC has been with us for six, eight years. So they were fully outfitted. Every team member had them, even their mountain bikers.


Chris Case  07:55

What about


Chris Case  07:56

Toms Skujins? Does he walk around in the NormaTecs at night as well?


Matt Curbeau  08:01

I cannot confirm or deny that. We’re excited because Tom’s cleans. But Tom’s reached out to us after seeing our product when he was at the tour California this year. Really excited to just talk with him because I’ve seen his his race exploits all throughout the years coming up from the development team to Cannondale to trek now. So we made sure that we got him a set ASAP. And he took it over to the tour with him. And I think we all saw how well he did and how


John Aquatro  08:31

well he loved it if


John Aquatro  08:32

you check out his Instagram feed. Oh,



yeah. So nice. So we’re pretty psyched to see him, you know, have great results. Obviously, he was using it every day. We’re really psyched, because you know, he was psyched about the product, and we wanted to help him out. So it was it was cool to get these boots over and then have some immediate results with some athletes that are doing great things.


Chris Case  08:53

Well, yeah, it’s a it’s a great, it’s a great list of teams and individual athletes from a super diverse range of sports that that use this product. And that speaks well to the product. But I think as our listeners are familiar, they want to hear the science behind it and to what is underlying all of the benefits of a particular product or method. So maybe it’s time we we delve a little into the science of it. And I know, Trevor, you wrote an article several years ago back in November 2015. We’ll post that particular article that came out of the magazine bonus magazine on the website. why don’t you give us a little background on that article and talk a little bit about how the research in this particular field has evolved over the past few years.


Trevor Connor  09:49

Yeah, and let’s be clear, the primary purpose of this podcast is to talk about where the science of recovery is going. And we have two people here know a lot about recovery who are going to talk with us about the science, and we’ll certainly talk about where NormaTec fits in there. But let’s focus now on recovery. And the thing I’m going to say about my article is I’ve had a few articles that I’ve written where, after doing the research, I had to eat a lot of crow. And this was a big one in that respect. So I think pretty much everything I was telling my athletes to do. The research said, Yeah, not so much. And the things that I had been railing against the research was going, Yeah, you should be doing that. So it was surprising things that showed up as potentially not beneficial. And some of this, I still don’t quite believe. Some of it. I do, for example, icing doesn’t help recovery, there is some evidence against stretching, for example, it actually increases markers of muscle damage. One of the ones that was shocking to me was a cool down ride doesn’t seem to be that beneficial. In several studies, if they had riders finish a race and either immediately get off their bike or go for a 20 minute easy spin, the people immediately got off the bike were actually better recovered for an event the next day. Other ones that didn’t show up, which we’ll get into in a minute, our anti inflammatories and heat. The things that showed up and we’ll go into this in more detail in a minute. But I had actually worked at a biomechanics lab about 10 years ago, and we were asked to do a study on some compression socks. And our research basically said, No they don’t work, which was not the company that was paying us wasn’t very happy about that. Because this is one of their products, they wanted us to say something different to that I had a bit of a negative view of compression. But surprisingly, all the research was saying that’s where you see some of the biggest benefits. And like I said, we’ll get into that in a minute. But you can see that article online. And yeah, I even I think I even said in the article, I’ve got to eat some crow on this one because I had railed against compression. What I found interesting, or fascinating when I was researching that article, that’s really the focus of what we’re going to talk about today is that the research on recovery modalities has changed. And it’s really important to when you’re talking about recovery, are you talking about trying to recover for a second event in three hours versus recovering to maximize adaptations? There’s also the question of his recovery about minimizing pain? Or again, is it about adaptation? And these weren’t questions that were asked very well, in some of the early research. So early research really just looked at lactate clearance. And DOMS delayed onset muscle soreness, which is almost non existent in cycling. And really weren’t good measures of whether you recovering well or not. So a lot of the older research wasn’t very effective. Then you just had a loved I read one study that was just silly, where they gave people massages, and then had them do a one hour time trial and said their their times didn’t improve. So massage does nothing. Literally


Chris Case  13:13

sound science. Yes.


Trevor Connor  13:16

So the research has changed. What they’ve been showing is that inflammation is a very important and necessary part of the recovery process. So when you do damage to your muscles, when you do hard work and some sort of damage occurs. It’s your immune system that repairs that damage. It’s also, you know, when we talk about adaptations, when you talk about super compensation, it’s basically the immune system coming in repairing the damage, if there’s enough damage, saying I’m not only going to repair what was damaged, I’m actually going to make you stronger so that you don’t get damaged like this again. But that requires immune system, which means you’re going to have an inflammatory effect. So old research that was looking at how do we reduce pain? How do we get rid of this inflammation might have made you feel better, but actually it was hindering the recovery process. It was hindering the adaptation process. And one of the great examples of that is icing or taking anti inflammatory drugs because something that’s very important in that flamatory process is something called cyclooxygenase two or Cox two. It helps with that rebuilding. When you go into the pharmacy and you buy a Tylenol or a lot of these over the counter anti inflammatory drugs. They are Cox two inhibitors. So if you go and do a hard ride and you’re feeling a little inflamed, you’re feeling a little sore and you take an anti inflammatory drug, you’re actually blocking your muscles ability to repair and This has been showing that you see less adaptations if you take painkillers. Same thing with icing, there’s been research that shows icing slows that inflammatory process, that necessary inflammatory process. So you don’t actually see as effective repair and you can actually get scarring in the muscle, which is something you don’t want.


Chris Case  15:21

It’s worth emphasizing. And this is something that we talked about with in our podcast with Joe Friel not long ago is this difference between recovery and adaptation. And while one thing might help you feel and give you this mindset that you’re recovering and might actually prevent you from adapting as strongly as possible, if you will. And that ultimately should be an is the goal of training and workouts and things like that. So I think that’s worth emphasizing.


Trevor Connor  15:52

So if you had to summarize all this research, at least the research that I read in the reviews that I read, when I was doing that article and sense, basically, what they said is your body is very good at repairing itself, your body is very good at recovery, you don’t want to interfere with that process, actually, really what you want to do is for the most part, get out of the way, with kind of one addendum, which is there are places where the body isn’t very good at taking care of itself. And if you can aid in those areas, then you’re going to help the recovery process, the areas where the body needs some support are with venous return with Edema. And something that’s called systemic inflammatory response syndrome, which is excess inflammation. So why don’t we dive into those? Now? Can you guys talk a little bit about this venous return and edema?


John Aquadro  16:47

Yeah, of course.


John Aquadro  16:49

So Edema in layman’s terms is swelling. And swelling has a lot of benefits and a lot of negative effects. So you know, the body’s natural response. For example, if you were to sprained your ankle, there’s swelling, and there’s an inflammation response to that swelling actually helps to immobilize the injury a little bit, which is good, but the problem is getting rid of that swelling and getting flow of nutrients and the immune response into that injury and getting metabolites out. So the way the venous system works, and the lymph system works in very basic terms, you’re going to take fluid in an extremity. And it’s going to either enter the lymph system or the venous system, and it’s going to be pumped out of your leg or your arm, for example, every time you contract your muscles. And there are in the veins, there are one way valves so that when you’re pumping fluid out, it’s returning to your core, and it’s going to not fly back into the limb and pool. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong with that system, and it’s a low pressure system. So anything you can do to help move fluid through that system is a huge benefit to the body.


Trevor Connor  18:01

Yeah, what’s really important to understand there is your body moves your blood using pressure. So there’s a lot of pressure when it gets pumped out of your heart. But by the time that blood gets down to your feet, the the pressure difference from your feet to returning back to the heart is actually very, very small. It’s hard for your body when you’re standing against gravity to get that blood back up. So as you were saying, one of the things we use are these these one way valves when the blood moves a little bit, these valves open up, but then they close to prevent the blood from just going back down to your feet. And something that’s really important is if you ever see a massage therapist, that massages away from your heart, don’t see them again, because that damages the one way valves, and you don’t want that. But to understand just how bad our bodies are at this, if you were a World War II vet, one of the ways they were tortured was just to stand still. Because if you stand perfectly still, eventually your body’s going to fail at returning that blood to your heart, you’re going to pass out.


Chris Case  19:03

That sounds awful.


Matt Curbeau  19:05

I remember that was a big thing at Boise State growing up in New York where we had to do marching, and then we’d stand it attention at the end of it. And it was it was a comment to bend your knees like every five minutes to make sure nobody passed out. And sure enough, you know, one out of 200 kids would go down every year.


Trevor Connor  19:22

So that’s working your your muscle pumps, right,


John Aquatro  19:24

exactly. And when you work out and you generate muscle damage, and you get some swelling. The goal here is to help get that fluid out more quickly help reduce the interstitial or the pressure between all the cells in your leg so that all those fluids can flow more easily.


What is Muscle pump?

Chris Case  19:45

Could you define or not define but give a little bit more on what exactly a muscle pump is. I don’t know that people will be familiar with that.


John Aquatro  19:53

Great. So a muscle pump is actually pretty straightforward to understand. You can imagine The calf as a giant sponge, every time you take a step, you flex your calf or you squeeze that sponge, when you squeeze that sponge, what happens to all the fluid in that it’s squeezed out. So every time you step, you’re squeezing that sponge. And it’s essentially like your heart, it’s a, it’s a pump that moves circulatory fluid. And that’s what helps get venous return and limb return up from the lower leg into the court.


Trevor Connor  20:27

And this is part of the reason one of the most basic methods for helping people that have problems with venous return is to get them to walk because they just start using that muscle pump and get the fluids moving again.


Chris Case  20:39

Is this another reason why some people will say get your get your feet up, elevate your feet to help with return?


John Aquatro  20:46

Right? So elevating your feet is a very simple, direct way to counteract gravity. So when you’re not moving around, when you have mobility issues, getting the feet up, help the fluid get back to the core a little bit more easily. You’re not fighting gravity.


Chris Case  21:01



John Aquadro  21:02



Matt Curbeau  21:03

Yeah, I always, if I’m, you know, working in event or helping people understand what we do, I always thought that it was, we’re not creating something new for the body, we’re just helping it do what it does naturally faster.


Trevor Connor  21:14

And so the other thing to remember here, well, the reason we’re talking about compression, as we said, your body uses a pressure gradient. So your bloods going to flow from a high pressure area to a low pressure area, just like when you put your finger over the end of a hose. And compression garments are literally like that, putting your finger over the end of the hose a little bit to create pressure. So if you put highly compressive socks on your feet, you get more pressure down at your feet, and you’re gonna have better blood flow back, you’re gonna move that fluid better,


Chris Case  21:47

it seems like the research on that is that commonly those are not tight enough is that correct Trevor.


Trevor Connor  21:53

That’s what we found. That’s why we said there’s just, it’s not good enough. Most of the compression stuff that you buy in the stores, that’s non prescription grade, it’s just tight. Socks right. For the compression gear that really works. A you need three people to help you put it on B they’re extremely painful.


John Aquatro  22:10

And that’s what we see in the medical industry as well. Oftentimes, those static compression garments are prescription and they’re custom fit to individual and it’s not what you’re buying at your local sports store.


Chris Case  22:21

So they’re very, very tight to put it in loose terms. Okay, Trevor, you you also mentioned something about excess inflammation. Should we touch upon that quickly?


Trevor Connor  22:33

Yeah, so we actually talked about this on a podcast back in the fall about illness and cycling. And just to give you the the quick rundown or summary of what we talked about, yes, this inflammatory response is important for repair. But sometimes it can get excessive. When that happens, you can you can see that inflammation kind of spill out from the muscles into the the system. And you get something that actually I even read a review that basically said it’s sepsis, it looks a lot like sepsis and how you experience it is you feel like you’re sick,


Chris Case  23:10

and sepsis is for, for those that don’t know,


Trevor Connor  23:13

sepsis is just basically when you have excess inflammation throughout your body, and it can, when you have it from some sort of true illness, it can actually kill you. It’s not going to kill you from cycling, but it’s certainly going to make you feel miserable the next day. And there’s been plenty of research studies showing that as much as over 50% of the time when when high performing cyclists think they’re sick, they’re not actually sick, they just have out of control inflammation.


Chris Case  23:41

JOHN, is there anything you wanted to add to that?


John Aquatro  23:43

Yeah, the inflammatory response is really interesting, because on one hand, it’s extremely beneficial. And on the other hand, it can be extremely detrimental to the body’s ability to recover. And that’s something that we’ve always been really curious about here. Because, you know, when we talk about dynamic question, we’re thinking about fluid flow. But we know there’s more going on underneath. And when we actually started to look at compression for athletes, one of the things we really want to dive into is, well, what’s actually happening when you’re applying an external pulsating dynamic compression to a leg that’s worked out all day long. So we’ve been trying to find different investigators that are interested in that question, and we found a few. And they looked into the expression of the genes when people are working out and using a compression device. And so what we did is you have a shotgun of different markers, different indicators of different things happening in the muscles and the tissue in the leg. So this one marker might indicate that the body is trying to mitigate inflammation in this other marker might indicate adaptive muscle response and this other marker might indicate venous growth. So we came up with a panel of markers that were pretty representative of the things that could be going on in the legs during compression, and we’ve put people through A series of workouts and compression bouts, and we said, hey, what what’s happening? Long story short, a lot is happening. We saw markers that were upregulated, indicating that there’s a pathway that promotes adaptive response. And we’re affecting that pathway, we’re increasing the expression of that pathway in the legs. We also saw that there is an indicator that we reduced oxidative stress, and we reduced markers for muscle breakdown. All of that is very much related to helping the body mitigate this inflammation response. So it was really interesting to see not only do we know that we’re increasing fluid flow, but we know that we’re having a molecular effect on the body that’s beneficial for athletes when they’re trying to recover.


Trevor Connor  25:51

And that’s really important, because one of the things they’ve shown in this research about recovery and the inflammatory process is one of the the key molecules in that process. Well, it promotes the inflammation that you need for repair. It also promotes protein breakdown, basically, muscle tissue breakdown. And if it’s overstimulated, or hangs or basically hangs around for too long, you can actually get excess muscle breakdown. And that’s what you were talking about. Right? There’s this research was showing that you saw less protein breakdown.


John Aquatro  26:26

Correct. And we also saw, it’s nuanced as all these things are. But we also saw an interesting effect where when we’re compressing limbs that had not exercised, we’re actually generating a little bit of oxidative stress, we’re we’re simulating if you will a little bit of workout. And we’re training. Or we suppose you were training the body to get better at dealing with oxidative stress. And that means when you’re out cycling, you’re a little better at dealing with the muscle breakdown and the oxidative stress after your ride.


Chris Case  26:59

Can I jump in and ask one question to which just keeps coming up? And that is you mentioned the research that you are soliciting in a way or doing is this internal to NormaTec? Are you partnering with universities it this is slightly different I think for for people out there listening that with other products, they probably don’t do a lot of their own research. But NormaTec being a medical devices company and having a medical branch probably is doing a lot of its own research and investigation with partnerships at universities. Am I correct with that?


John Aquatro  27:38

Yeah, so we actually do research in a number of ways. We aren’t doing a lot of internal research, where we’re going to a review board and getting approval and executing the studies. We’re trying to focus on running the business of a pneumatic compression company. But we’re also really interested in the science. So we look for investigators in sports medicine programs, or even medical programs that want to know more about how dynamic compression affects the body, and are willing to do research, if we’re going to provide them with product or provide them a little advice and let them go. We’re happy with that. We’re not trying to dictate studies. The goal for us is to understand our product better when we found a number of different investigators that are very curious about these questions. And we’re happy to provide them with systems for their trials. And they’re out there just doing their thing.


Chris Case  28:31

I’m gonna go out on the limb and say, while it’s awesome that LeBron uses NormaTec, and our listeners are probably excited to know that LeBron uses NormaTec, they’re probably more excited to know the research that you do and the interest that you take in understanding the science behind your product even more. So that’s a shout out to all the nerds out there.


Trevor Connor  28:51

Yeah, and as usual, we’ll put a lot of these references up on the page for this podcast, if you’d like to check out some and there’s a lot of research,


John Aquatro  29:00

it’s very deep, but it’s very fascinating. If you take the time to try to understand it. And they do a pretty good job of explaining it. You might have to Google a few things, but it’s worth your time.


Trevor Connor  29:10

It’s gonna say there was even one fascinating one in French, which proved a really important point to me, which is I have forgotten all of my grades.


Chris Case  29:18

Wait a second your Canadian.


Trevor Connor  29:20

Grade 13.


Chris Case  29:22



Trevor Connor  29:22

We have great. Well, we used to have grade 13 up here in Canada, believe it


Chris Case  29:26

or not like a very unlucky year of super high school or whatever you want to call it.


Trevor Connor  29:32

These kids these days only 12 grades of high school. Yeah, just what’s coming?


Chris Case  29:38

Well, yes. What is it?


Dr. Andrew Peterson, what is recovery trying to accomplish?

Trevor Connor  29:40

For my 2015 article on recovery, I had a chance to interview Dr. Andrew Peterson and associate professor of pediatrics and the director of primary care Sports Medicine at the University of Iowa. He led a review of the five most common recovery modalities. He had some interesting thoughts on what recovery is trying to accomplish and where we should put our focus


Dr. Andrew Peterson  30:00

Anytime you exercise, you have some degree of muscle breakdown, you also have some degree of neurophysiologic fatigue as well, your brain just doesn’t control your muscles as well when you’re fatigued. And that’s something that’s dramatically improved my sleep. So getting good sleep faster after a hard workout definitely improved some of that neural physiologic control. And then the muscle breakdown is really mostly healed during sleep, as well. So we’re most anabolic during sleep. So we’re laying down protein, more sleep is better definitely in recovering. And it seems like at least the the inflammation that you get when you have muscle recovery. that’s beneficial, it’s not necessarily a good thing to try to block that inflammation. Is that correct? I would agree with you. But this is controversial. So a lot of recovery work, going back decades has been meant to try to decrease inflammation and inflammation gets blamed for a lot of the fatigue and delayed onset muscle soreness that people get kind of, rightly or wrongly. But inflammation is an important part of the recovery process. So inflammation stimulates all these proteins that are going to help come rebuild your muscles, it stimulates them to do their job. And so I would argue that inflammation, at least in moderation is a very good thing for recovery. But it’s still a controversial concept. So why would your body have this level of inflammation if it’s actually harmful to recovery? Right, exactly. That’s the point. Right? So the the argument that people who think like we do and this argue that, why would you develop this internal mechanism? If it wasn’t clearly beneficial? evolutionarily, it makes sense. What about non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs? Yeah, so we were intentionally leaving things like that out. There’s an awful lot of tools that people use and medications that people use. And we left that out a little bit. answers are really controversial. Right now, there’s some evidence that they do impair recovery. And there’s some evidence that they impair sealing of those bones and tendons. So there might be some real, real downsides for athletes using them on a regular basis. In fact, with our athletes at the university of Iowa, we got to try to limit their use a little bit. No, I don’t think anyone thinks they help with recovery. But I think the question is about the effect size here, because they’re definitely good analgesics and make you feel better. And so some people would argue that the benefits of making you feel better, clearly outweigh any detrimental effects that may or may not exist from a recovery standpoint. Yeah, I think compression garments after exercise make a lot of sense. And there’s more and more evidence that it decreases delayed onset muscle soreness might improve performance on subsequent felted activity in both strengths and endurance sports. So I think compression after exercise makes some sense. And I think you’re seeing that being taken up. in a lot of places, you know most football teams or players are getting into compression garments, right after practice, I think a lot of endurance athletes are picking up on this.


Summary of current research

Trevor Connor  32:50

Alright, let’s get back to the show. So let’s do kind of a quick sum up of where we’re at. And then we can we can take a deeper dive into these types of compression garments. The summary of the current research is, inflammation to a point is good, you need to let your body do its repair process. But there are places where you can aid the body, there are places where the body breaks down. And that’s the things like edema, which is that swelling, when it becomes excessive. That’s the venous return, your body has problems, getting the fluid to go back up towards your heart. And that’s also the excess inflammation when the inflammation gets to be too much. And what the more recent research and again, we’ll put these studies up on the website, what they said is, when you look at recovery in those terms, you’re seeing the most benefits and what they are calling this compression category of recovery, which is massage, water submersion and compression clothing and devices. That’s where you seem to see the most benefits because they help with these particular issues. So why don’t we take a bit of a deeper dive into this and talk about what exactly a NormaTec type devices and let me see if I can get this terminology, right. I’m sure I’m gonna mispronounce this, but it’s peristaltic external pneumatic compression is what it’s called.


John Aquadro  34:17

ya, we abbreviate a peristaltic pulse to make it a little simpler.


Trevor Connor  34:22

Right? So how is that different from just typical compression socks?


John Aquadro  34:29

Great. So compression, its most simple form is a compression sack that you’re going to pull on your limb. And that’s just going to imply static compression, same force the whole time. And that’s beneficial. It’s used in medicine. It’s used in sports and it has a role. If you go one step further, if you’ve ever had someone you know, that has had a surgery when in the hospital, they’re going to have an intermittent pneumatic compression device, maybe around their calf, and that’s going to pulse regularly and that’s going to prevent blood clots. And that’s really a low tech point. of what we’re ultimately doing, that’s been around forever. If you go up into the high tech end of compression, you have enhanced external counterpulsation pressure.


Trevor Connor  35:12

And that’s really high pressure devices, right?


John Aquatro  35:14

so it goes up to very high pressure, 300 millimeters of mercury, which is about three times what you’re going to see in a lower pressure compression device. But what’s really interesting, well, twofold here is it’s been pretty heavily studied and has a lot of great benefits. And it’s a huge device that you’ve got to go into hospital to use. And the way it works is it pulses in time with your heart. So when your heart is beating, there’s a moment of high pressure and there’s a moment of low pressure. And this is actually timed to that moment of low pressure to help mobilize fluid and assist the circulatory system and what it’s trying to do. It’s not accessible to most people. So there’s this third form of compression, and that’s intermittent pneumatic compression. And we’re a type of intermittent pneumatic compression, called peristaltic pulse. So intimate pneumatic compression goes up to 100 200 millimeters of mercury. But it’s really effective anywhere from 30 to 70, is very effective and comfortable. So what these devices do is, you know, the devices from the 70s would just fill up a sleeve on your leg, inflate and compress around your leg, and then relax and inflate and relax. Some more advanced versions, we’ll do it in a sequential fashion, so they will inflate around your ankle, and then they’ll inflate around your calf and then they’ll inflate around your thigh. And then they’ll do that again and again in a cyclical manner. And then what we do is what we call peristaltic pulse. And that’s similar to the sequential ones, it’s going to inflate in your foot and inflate in your calf and inflate your thigh. But it’s going to do a little more. So this actually goes back to the founder of our company who was an MD PhD rehab doctor who saw patients that had terrible swelling their legs, non healing wounds, women who had had breast cancer surgery and terrible swelling in their arms all the time. And she was their last line of defense. And she didn’t have a great way to help them deal with this circulatory compromise this swelling. So she actually went out, she talks to the companies that make these simple compression devices, and said, Hey, I have ideas to make this better. And long story short, for one reason or another rational or otherwise, they did didn’t want to engage. And she felt really strongly about this. So she quit her job as the chief of rehab. And she sold her house and started NormaTec. And she thought the body is trying to mobilize all this fluid out who is three main mechanics? How can I improve compression with biomimicry in mind to do it to help it do it better, she said, so the body does three things. It has a muscle pump in the calf, or it has a muscle pump in the arm. It has one way valves so that as it pushes fluids toward the core, it’s not flowing back. And it has this idea of peristalsis. Like when you swallow food, there is a moment of compression, and a moment of release compression and release compression and release to move fluid along a path. She said great. So let’s implement those ideas alongside compression, which is moderately effective and improve it. So she did just that. So the way that the peristaltic pulse works is it starts in the foot. And instead of just compressing and holding, it compresses and releases and compresses and releases, just like the regular compression of a muscle pump. Once it’s done working in the foot, it’s going to compress at a very high pressure higher than the pulsing pressure and start working in the calf. What that simulates is the one way valve. So as we’re pulsing compressing in that next cell, we’re not pushing fluid back down into the foot, we’re pushing it up towards the core. And it’s going to continue doing that then it’s going to hold tightly in the calf and pulse in the knee hold tightly in the thigh, all the way up the limb. The last bit was this idea of distal release. So while it’s working in the knee and the upper leg, it’s releasing pressure in the foot. So that’s simulating the peristalsis that’s giving the body while it’s working in the upper part of the limb a chance to degorge for that fluid to move back out into the channels and be ready to be mobilized the next time we come through the cycle.


Benefits from the use of these devices.

Chris Case  39:27

That was an excellent explanation of what’s going on in the different types of compression, where and devices. Now let’s talk a little bit about the benefits that that the research has shown takes place from the use of these devices.


John Aquadro  39:42

The research is really split in my head two ways. There’s research on the molecular side, which we’ve touched on a little bit, and there’s research on a bit of the more performance oriented factors. So what we’ve observed is that Dynamic compression, external compression on the legs, improves muscle soreness so you can feel less sore after you use dynamic compression versus not using it. We’ve also seen improvements in range of motion, and improvements in flexibility. And this has been done at a number of different places. So this has been studied by the USOC there is debate as to how much flexibility and muscle soreness is related to injury. But there is also consensus that it’s related. Finally, we’ve seen improvement in flow mediated dilation, which is essentially a marker for how healthy and how good your circulatory system is. And this is probably the best indicator of what dynamic external compression is doing. It’s a objective way to say, hey, applying this dynamic external compression is actually improving your ability to get venous fluid out to move lymph fluid, and ultimately to get oxygenated blood back into the Limb.


Matt Curbeau  41:10

Now,Chris, you said that you had tried some of the other competitors? before? I’m just curious if you had the Did you notice anything? You know, right off the bat?


Chris Case  41:20

Um, yeah. So previously, I have tried podium legs. And honestly, the experience is similar. And of course, with normatec, you can have it just be purely sequential, or you can have it do the pulse. And at first, I was like, wow, this is similar. But once it gets fully into its routine, and its rhythm, you notice the compress and release, compressing release, and the pattern to it, is different. So you know, I’m not here to knock anybody’s brand or anything like that. And I think it’s a initially a subtle difference. But yes, it’s great. You can, sit in the morning light.


John Aquatro  41:59

one thing that also bears mentioning probably, this is something that’s carried over from Dr. Jacobs. If you look at a lot of the early devices in the compression industry, and you look at their construction, it’s pretty interesting, because what they’ve essentially done is taken a coated piece of nylon, folded it over sealed cells into it that correspond to your leg or your arm, and they inflate them. But what happens when you do that is it inflates each cell but where it’s sealed, there’s a gap in compression. And this is extremely prominent, we’re talking about medical patient that has lymphedema, it’s present in athletes, it’s less obvious, but it’s present, what happens is you compress and we were talking about one way valves, and you push the fluid into the gaps between the cells that are compressing. So the way we dealt with that was to build each cell independently, and overlap them by about four inches. So if you were to pull up in the boot and look in, you’re going to see that there are flecks of overlaps between each cell. And that really, really is important and something that we feel very, very strongly about, we want to get the fluid from the leg to the core. We don’t want to get the fluid from the leg to the knee.


Trevor Connor  43:10

You brought up the fact that it reduces pain, which if you have an event in a few hours that might be beneficial. But we talked a little bit about that might not be the best indicator of recovery. When we’re talking about things in terms of adaptation. One of the questions I had for you because some of this research was a little bit contradictory and even questioned. Is this beneficial or not? Because One study found that the the normatec, actually, in the very short term, increased c reactive protein, which is an indicator of inflammation. Another study actually showed that it increased a lot of the markers of or anti inflammatory markers such as something called aisle 10, which I won’t go into. And that then said further research needs to be conducted to see if this is beneficial because we need inflammation for adaptation. So we don’t necessarily want it to be promoting anti inflammatory effects. What’s your feeling about this? And I know this research is all still very new and somewhat contradictory.


John Aquatro  44:15

Yeah, so that goes back to a little of what we were talking about earlier, specifically, when you look at the application of compression on folks that actually haven’t exercised, and the theory right now is that the boots are actually stimulating an adaptive response in the muscles ability to handle stress. So we’re actually causing damage, if you will, and causing the body to deal with muscle damage just by compressing and the body’s up regulating things like inflammation responses, but ultimately, we’re also seeing markers that show that our ability to deal with muscle damage and our adaptive response Are our body’s ability to adapt to muscle soreness is being upregulated?


Trevor Connor  45:05

Well, that’s interesting cuz they actually a lot of research on massage, they talked about that we have thrown a ton of terms of people, so maybe avoid this term, and I’m not sure how to pronounce it, it was something like mechanical chemo reception or something like that. But basically, there’s this concept that our muscles actually take in mechanical signals such as compression or force, and converts it into chemical signals. So they’ve shown in studies with massage that when you put that pressure on the muscle, you’re actually going to get a slightly different chemical response. And in the case of massage, what you saw was between that and improve blood flow, you saw almost an enhancement of the inflammation in the short run. But it was essentially just speeding up or aiding the process. So when we talked about inflammation being important in the adaptation process, step one is inflammation. Step two is actually an anti inflammatory signal. And in massage, you see that anti inflammatory signal being moved up sooner. So it’s basically speeding up the process, or an enhancement of the process. So it sounds like you’re saying that might be what you’re also seeing with this.


John Aquatro  46:22

Right? And one of the challenges with these studies is timeframes. I can only go in and biopsy a study participants like so often. So how do you pick the right times? And if we’re shifting how the body is responding to stress, we are shifting in our time points, what we see,


Trevor Connor  46:43

yeah, well, that actually makes sense about the whole time point, because actually, one of the studies I was mentioning that said you so increased inflammatory markers, was actually a study that they did damage with weightlifting. And then they studied the subjects over seven days using your device. And actually, that is what they they saw, I was just keeping that up my sleeve for a little bit that you saw the the heightened inflammation early on. But by days three or four, you saw the people who had been using normatec had returned to baseline much, much quicker, well, the people that were using a sham, we’re still seeing some of the inflammatory process,


Chris Case  47:25

I want to just jump in here and make sure I understand completely. You’re saying that, say you hadn’t gone for a long ride at all, or in days, and you use normatec. You’re sitting there, you’ve you’ve got the boots on. And you’re biasing people and you’re seeing that they’re experiencing some signs of oxidative stress and that over time, people are going to get their bodies are going to get better adapted at dealing with that. And that’s a good thing.


John Aquatro  47:59

so the study that we’re talking about is actually a relatively recent study, I think it’s probably worth mentioning or pointing out, it’s by Jeffrey Martin. It’s does external pneumatic compression treatment between bouts of overreaching resistance training sessions, exert differential effects on signaling. It talks about your question in great detail. And I think it’s worth taking a look at if you’re interested. But essentially, we’re looking at very nuanced sensitive markers. So this is gene expression for these various responses. So we’re not saying that you put a pair of Normatech boots on and your legs are all broken up. What we are saying is you put a pair of boots on and the proteins and the things in the cells that deal with muscle damage are changing. And they’re changing in a way that kind of looks like muscle damage. What happens when you do that, or what we’re supposing happens when you do that is that there are more of the tools the body has around to deal with muscle damage, to help you out when you actually generate significant muscle damage.


Trevor Connor  49:10

Right. So what they talked about in that study was greater mobilization, which makes sense, if you think about if you’re having poor blood flow, poor fluid flow, then all these markers of protein breakdown of inflammation, they’re just going to stay localized because they have nowhere to go. If you have something that’s improving that flow that’s getting the fluid going to the muscles and coming back, it actually looks like you You have heightened levels of these markers because they’re now moving and you can measure them.


John Aquatro  49:42

Right and that’s the split that I was trying to get at earlier. There’s the mechanical benefit of improving circulation. But there’s also this really interesting bio molecular upregulation deregulation of all these adaptations system is going on. So if we were to just forget all This fancy adaptation, you still have the benefit of circulation. And that’s interesting. And on top of it, the fact that we’re interacting with these inflammation systems and it’s it’s really fascinating.


Frank Overton, where recovery is headed.

Trevor Connor  50:13

I had a talk a few months ago with Frank Overton, the founder of fast cat coaching about recovery modalities. Frank brought up normatec, which he keeps at a center for his athletes. We also had a brief talk about the recent research and recovery and where it’s heading.


Frank Overton  50:27

Well, first of all, I have on my compression tights, as we speak, I did a recovery ride this morning. But I have been using the normatec brand space legs since 2010, when we opened up our Performance Center, we bought a pair of those to let our athletes use in our, you know, recovery lounge or so to speak. And I liked them, they’re there in the literature, they are reference, they do show statistically significant positive effects on reducing muscle inflammation, reducing foot fatigue. And I think so massage is kind of well recognized, not only in the racer community, but in the scientific community is kind of like the number one recovery technique, you know, you got to sleep, you got to eat, then the next thing is massage. And then a little bit below massage, is the space legs. That’s what I call them, it’s a peristaltic pulse, you put them on, you inflate them, they squeeze your legs, but they don’t like squeeze your legs uniformly, at least not the normatecs, the normatecs, squeeze first at your your feet and ankles. And then they hold that, that pressure around your leg, working its way up from the ankle to the shin to the knee, you know, to the quad and all the way up. And so what it’s doing, it’s squeezing your lymphatic system. And your it’s helping that metabolic waste move back up your lymphatic system into your core where it can be processed and removed. When you get out of them. They don’t feel as good a as you would if you’ve gotten a massage. But your legs feel better and refreshed. And what I do find with the normatecs is it’s way more convenient than a massage. So, you know, for the athletes that have them, you can use them every day. When you’re in them, you’re kind of like a snake that’s eaten a frog and they can’t move or anything until they swallow it. So you’re stuck. And so when before you get in your space legs, you need to get your phone over there, get your laptop, get your drink, do not need to go to the bathroom for at least the duration because you couldn’t if you needed to. So just be ready to stand still, which is actually really good for athletes, because a lot of athletes just need to just chill.


Trevor Connor  52:53

I will actually tell you, I wrote an article a couple years ago about recovery modalities. And it’s the angriest I’ve ever gotten researching an article because I had all my beliefs about what’s good recovery. And every single study I read pretty much anything that I thought was good. It was like yeah, no evidence whatsoever. And then all the things I’ve been saying, that’s a waste of your time, I was saying yeah, there’s actually we’re finding benefits to that one of them was compression, the you know, the $20 socks that you buy at a pharmacy that don’t really give that much compression don’t do any good. It’s either the really tight socks or or like the space legs that inflate to a point that you’re actually getting true compression.


Trevor Connor  53:40

There’s a really good meta analysis on frontiers of physiology, it’s 2018. And they look at the title of the article is an evidence based approach to choosing post exercise recovery techniques. They look at a stretching and massage massage plus stretching electrostimulation which as an aside had zero effect. So all those people that are asking about the compacts and the East m Zilch. And, yeah, they get compression garments in there. And then they look at cold water immersion, contrast, water therapy, cryo therapy and hyperbaric therapy. You know, it’s a legit study with a high number of subjects. And their number one conclusion was massage was the best recovery modality and then, you know, the reason why I came in tune with this is because we’ve been kind of looking into cryotherapy. And I was pleased to see that it you know, while the results were preliminary that the researchers called cryo therapy promising for a positive effect and they were looking at creatine kinase and aisle six and C reactive protein. So it was pretty, pretty cool to see that. Yeah, massage is by far what we’ve known all along, but yeah, Crowd therapy’s there and Eastham is you know don’t waste you don’t need to waste your time with it.


Frank Overton  55:04

And what did it say about compression?


Trevor Connor  55:06

Yeah, positive effect. Compression has a positive effect on C reactive protein. aisle six, and creatine kinase.


Trevor Connor  55:16

I hadn’t heard about that one yet. So that which is just this year, though, right?


Frank Overton  55:20

Yeah. is a good one. Is it good, you know, a meta analysis. So I don’t think they did any of the the actual benchmark themselves, but it is a compilation of everything. Good. Fantastic. No, I’m


Trevor Connor  55:33

looking forward to that. Because I, for the article, I interviewed a researcher who did a 2015 meta analysis. And what was interesting about his is he found no benefits whatsoever to massage. What Yeah, well, I asked him about that. And he said, the issue is, he said, I will still stand by massage is very beneficial. He said, The issue is how they’ve been conducting the research.


Trevor Connor  55:59



Trevor Connor  56:00

said they don’t get enough numbers. They don’t even you know, some of them are doing Swedish massage. Some of them are doing really bad forms of massage. He said, there’s no control. There’s not enough numbers. And so all the massage research is coming up. No evidence, but he said he felt that was more designed. Well, the other I wish I could remember his name. But the other interesting thing this researcher said is, he felt the benefits to massage was in its effects on the immune system. So the fact that you’re bringing up c reactive protein, you’re bringing up aisle six, you’re bringing up a lot of these immune mediators tells me that that’s where the research is headed. And he was right.



Yeah. Yeah. Isn’t that cool. It’s like getting into the immune system and all the benefits there. Yeah, not just like, anecdotal, I feel better type of results.


Final tips from the experts

Trevor Connor  56:56

Alright, let’s get back to the podcast. And here are our last few tips from our experts.


Chris Case  57:02

This also brings up the point that I bet that people ask you this all the time, should I just wear my normatecs? All day long? Every day? I would if I couldn’t do so comfortable.


Matt Curbeau  57:13

Yeah, me too.


Chris Case  57:16

But seriously, how much is is too much? Is there? What What is your recommended dose?


John Aquatro  57:22

so to speak? I’m gonna answer that question from the medical side. And then I think Matt should probably weigh in cyclists that depends on them. From the practical side, we have patients that their doctors prescribed them to where overnight, you literally cannot use them too much. You’re assisting the body in the circulatory system, and there’s not a detrimental effect.


Chris Case  57:42

And on the performance side, Matt, what would you say?


Matt Curbeau  57:44

Yeah, so I think it’s you can come at it from two different approaches. One the the everyday Joe, amateur cyclist, and that’s use it as much as you have free time for, you know, I work at the office five days a week, and then try to race you know, one or two times in the weekend, so, and I’m also married, and have to cook dinner with my wife, or she cooks dinner for me, or however we do it. So it might only be 30 minutes a night, 15 minutes a night, it’s just however much you can carve out, I personally try to do it after every long ride on the weekend or after every race on the weekend, you know, for 60 minutes if I can. So 30 or 60 minute sessions is perfect, but really is just about how much time you have to devote to it. Because once you’re in the boots, you’re sitting, so you can’t really you can’t be moving around. The second, you know, look at that as the professional, the professional cyclists, the professional NFL player, crossfitter, what have you. If I was them, and I had all the time in the world, I would sit in the boots for 30 minutes to 60 minutes before I went worked out or played my game that day. And then I would use it another hour to 90 minutes at night. If I have the time. That’s what I would do.


Chris Case  58:55

On the flip side, does your body’s natural systems get for lack of a better term weaker if you use them too much? So for example, you have your normal text and you use them somewhat religiously and do well at at what you’re what you’re describing Matt, but then all of a sudden, you either can’t use them for some reason does that is there a Is there a negative impact on you because your body is so used to having this supplemental device?


John Aquatro  59:21

So I think the short answer is easily addressed looking at the history of pneumatic compression devices. He’s been around for 50 years. And they’re literally just assisting your body and his circulatory system. And of course, this molecule stuff we talked about, do what it already does. And there’s absolutely no evidence to suggest in any way it’s decreasing your ability to move fluid out of your legs when you’re not wearing them.


Matt Curbeau  59:49

In my best layman terms guess of this is that you just can’t sit in on long enough to change something that’s happening in your body. So that’s not that’s me. That’s me. Just like No, but uh, you know, it’s not like you can be a nice all day, \


John Aquatro  1:00:03

the calf muscle is not going to atrophy, it’s gonna revert to the state that it was in. And that’s an interesting point, we see this in medicine, when a patient has an issue with their venous system or their lymph system, and they have a compression device to help with that. They’re not prescribed it for six months, they’re not prescribed it for a year. It’s a lifetime device. Because at the end of the day, what we’re doing is we’re helping the body supplement its circulatory capacity. But we’re not fixing the root cause of the problem.


Chris Case  1:00:33

I bet people go through psychological withdrawal of their normatecs if they can’t get them, especially those triathletes.


Trevor Connor  1:00:42

So the other night, Chris and I are doing some planning for the podcast, we’re on the phone together. And all of a sudden, Chris just goes, hold on a minute. Like, what’s up, he’s like, their policy, and I just want to enjoy. Like, damn you


Chris Case  1:00:55

was, it was my first time Yeah, I got them in the mail. It was great. My wife and I sat there took turns going back and forth for a while. So thank you.


Matt Curbeau  1:01:06

And if if I can spin this to, you know, really cycling in specific, I like to think of it we’re super portable. It’s it’s really a great device for athletes to take with them as they’re traveling around the road. So whether you’re cat five, cat one, a world tour athlete, these can be taken with you to be used at your leisure at your time, you don’t have to have a massage therapist appointment. It’s it’s just there. And that’s the message. I hope that from a domestic UCI team continental, the World Tour, or just the local team in your neighborhood. These are boots that can be taken with them on the road for races, they can be used at their houses, anytime at any point, my hope is that teams that can really use these will see the benefit. And we’re not talking about Team Sky with a budget of 40 million plus dollars, they probably have one therapist, massage therapist per rider at some of these races. But we’re talking about the UCI continental team.


Trevor Connor  1:02:04

And I love the fact that you brought up continental teams, local teams, I used to manage a semi pro team here in the US. And we didn’t fly places we got into a van and we would drive sometimes 2830 hours to an event. And if you want to talk about a demon blood pooling sit in the van for 30 hours. And we actually had an opportunity that fell through to get a set of the NormaTech’s to take with us to the races. And I always regretted that that fell through back then because to have had that in the van the benefits the guys would have had from that to prevent you get out of the van after 28 hours and you can barely walk your feet are so swollen.


Matt Curbeau  1:02:49

Yeah. And that’s I mean, honestly, that’s one of the biggest messages I want to get out to all the teams across the United States across Europe is that these things are low, you know, relatively low cost options to really enhance a team like that, where you could really benefit from these guys sitting there for hours at a time recovering when otherwise they’re just sitting there adding edema if you want to call it like that, but it’s an option that’s just there, and they can really make the most of a small budget.


Trevor Connor  1:03:20

Yeah, I will say I talked to Tom’s and he had mixed reviews. He said it was very hard to pedal.


Matt Curbeau  1:03:30

I was so happy for him. It was awesome.


Trevor Connor  1:03:33

Yeah, well, we had him on the podcast about a year ago. And he was telling us how he’s a classic this before he had done a grand tour. He’s like, I’m a classics writer, why they want me to do a grand tour. I don’t want to do this. He was all fretting about it. And then you see him wearing the polka dot jersey and you go Yeah, it was good choice. Yeah,


Matt Curbeau  1:03:51

I mean, the you know, he’s on a lot of podcasts and tends to get on the breakaway ones. But he’s just got a great mind and a great nose for being in the right moves. And especially in that first week of the tour when it’s all about being in the right move, you know, just like Finney and in what Nate Brown last year. If you get yourself in the right place that first week. It’s tremendous, not only personally but for the team in it really made the whole tour form. Yep. Yeah, it’s too bad. He didn’t actually win the stage so we can see another finish celebration though.


Trevor Connor  1:04:22

Speaking of Tom’s, the polka dot Jersey, where this year’s Tour de France shared with us some of his strategies for how to most effectively use the boots.


Toms Skujins  1:04:33

Well, hello, listeners, Tom squinch, here from Trek Segafredo where you guys were talking about Normatech and how pros use it. So I’ve been using normaTech’s on and off for a couple years now. And the first time I use them, they were kind of bulky, and I’m super stoked that they’ve really made the traveling with the boots a lot easier, but yeah, how do I use them? Usually, I do Do a 30 minute long session of the flush setting. And sometimes with the new boost function, I would boost the zone just above my knee, because that off my quad loosen a little bit even more. But the best way I found it to use is, say, one of the best things is after a travel day, when your legs are pretty sore and you’ve just arrived, you know you’re gonna, you might be able to go for ride, you might not be able to go for ride. But even if you are going for a ride, it’s nice to jump in the boots for 30 minutes, while maybe you’re planning out the route because you’re in a new place and you don’t know where to go. But you don’t want to go back and forth on the same road. But even if you arrive late, it’s nice. Nice to jump into boot just because the next day, you’ll be a little bit fresher. In stage races, or in like hard trained box, I definitely use it in the evenings, say pre post dinner, maybe while reading a book watching a TV show or whatever. Even if I’ve gotten a massage, say after the race, then after they’re not dinner, I’ll still jump in the boots with the same 30 minute session, just sit there and relax and maybe fall asleep. No, I haven’t fall asleep yet. But might I know some guys in the tour as well, where as soon as they got off the train or after the race cooling down, you take a shower, you jump on the boss and you jump in the boots because there’s a hour long or maybe more maybe a little bit less transferred to the next hotel. So you use that time wisely. Because if not, you’re just sitting on the bus and your legs are getting more sore and sore. So it’s another way if you use it before this massage, then the blood flow is a little bit higher already and like the legs are, maybe not as sore when the signer gets his hands on your thighs. And that’s about it.


Chris Case  1:07:04

Do you have some special opportunities for people to try them at the Colorado classic? Is that correct?


Matt Curbeau  1:07:10

We’re actually going to be at the Colorado classic myself and one or two others will be in full support of the athletes and the spectators and fans. So everybody can stop on by sit in the booth, try them out firsthand, as well as hopefully will be positioned by the big screen so you can watch the finish.


Chris Case  1:07:29

How are you going to get people once they’re in the booth out of them? Do you have a plan for that? We have struggle.


Matt Curbeau  1:07:36

We tend to stick it to about 10 or 15 minutes. And when that 10 and 15 minutes is up, they gotta get out.


Chris Case  1:07:42

All right, well, it might be a challenge. All right, Matt, let’s start with you. You’ve got one minute you’re on the clock. Give us your best tips for the listeners out there about recovery with compression and normatec.


Matt Curbeau  1:07:58

I think when the best tips with our device in particular I can give is its use for specific races that you’re going to. I was a professional triathlete before this cycling endeavor. So when you’re at a race, and you’re away from the family, and you’re in your hotel room, you can use these boots 20 to 30 minutes before the race, you can go do the race and get your PR win the sprint you come home, you sit down for another hour right after the race, and then do whatever you’re doing. And then you fly home the next day, you can sit in them another hour before you fly. And you’re getting all this time in the boots right around the race, which I think is super, super important.


Chris Case  1:08:39

JOHN, you’ve got one minute. What’s your take home message for the listeners out there?


John Aquatro  1:08:45

My take home message is that, like gear was at one point like nutrition was one point recovery is really important athletic performance. And it’s increasingly being recognized as crucially important to athletic performance. So take a minute look at what you’re doing. And consider recovery seriously. Consider where you’re spending your dollars considering where you’re spending your time and prioritize recovery. And if that’s being able to fit in a little bit more of anything we talked about on the show, and I’d love it to be compression, but anything, work it into your schedule.


Matt Curbeau  1:09:22

JOHN made a good point I should have said I really like the power meter of 1999.


Chris Case  1:09:28

You can’t no take backs. You can only


Matt Curbeau  1:09:33

Jesse Trevor said that in a podcast a couple years ago or a year ago that I was listening to and I was like that’s exactly what I thought.


Chris Case  1:09:40

Interesting. Trevor sometimes Trevor has good thoughts.


Trevor Connor  1:09:44

rarely, rarely. But people still listen to me. So


Chris Case  1:09:49

yeah, well, that’s good. That’s good.


Trevor Connor  1:09:52



Chris Case  1:09:52

I think my take home kind of echoes what John said. And it’s something that Trevor and I Creech honestly, on on the podcast, and that is, if you’re going to train hard, you have to rest as hard if not harder to get the full benefits of that training. And obviously, recovery is what we mean their recovery and rest and relaxation. And using the most appropriate and beneficial devices and and methods is a crucial element to getting faster, which is ultimately what we’re all trying to do or set prs or complete an event that is, you know, maybe a once in a lifetime thing, but this is a crucial component to that goal. Yeah, Trevor, what do you have to add


Trevor Connor  1:10:44

Chris, just still some of my thunder, because I was gonna say, that’s been one of our running themes, that recovery is where your you do your adaptation, it is critical. So I think what I’ll add to what Chris was saying is, when you are looking to enhance that recovery, remember that you want to aid your body with its natural processes, your body is very good at doing this. So find the techniques that help your body, good nutrition, rest. This is where these different types of compression come in, because they help that blood flow and a variety of other factors. Avoid the things that are just about pain reduction, or if they sound really crazy, they probably are really crazy. Don’t electrocute yourself. Don’t pop 3, 4, 5 Tylenol after every ride. That’s about reducing pain, but it’s not necessarily helping your body with its natural processes. That’s where you want to focus your energy.


Chris Case  1:11:46



Chris Case  1:11:48

Well, thank you. Thank you, John, and Matt, for joining us today. That was a I thought it was an excellent discussion on the topic and a lot of great information there.


John Aquatro  1:11:59

Thank you guys.


Chris Case  1:12:00

That was another episode of fast talk. As always, we love your feedback. Email us at Subscribe to fast talk on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play and be sure to leave us a rating and a comment. Become a fan of fast talk on facebook and on twitter Fast talk is joint production between velonews and Connor coaching thoughts and opinions expressed on fast talk are those of the individual for Trevor Connor coach Connor Jonna Aquadro Matt Curbeau, Frank Overton, Dr. Andrew Peterson, and Tom’s Skujins. I’m Chris Case. Thanks for listening.