With a Masters in Exercise Physiology, Adam Mills of Source Endurance tends to understand human biology better than most. We tasked him with helping answer some often asked questions about PR Lotion and how sodium bicarbonate helps regulate pH levels to improve performance and reduce post-workout soreness.
What is the basic process of acid production in the muscles during vigorous activity?
Muscle acidosis, along with nervous fatigue combine to provide a very powerful negative feedback loop which hinders muscle contraction. The “burn” you feel in a muscle is the result of elevated acidity, which hinders fiber contraction and impairs metabolic enzymes. Many studies support the theory that buffering the acid with specific training and something simple like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) diminishes the negative feedback loop and increases performance.
What’s the benefit of delivering sodium bicarbonate topically instead of orally?
The skin does a fantastic job of keeping things out of the body by forming a protective barrier, yet the key innovation of PR Lotion is its unique ability to cross this barrier. By finding a way around the gastrointestinal system, sodium bicarbonate can be delivered directly to the muscle via the skin. Previously, studies with sodium bicarbonate have involved consuming it. Sounds great and all, except ingesting an effective dose usually results in a horribly upset stomach and frequent trips to the bathroom.
How can athletes get the most out of PR Lotion?
The two best practical applications for PR Lotion are hard workouts and recovery. First, think about how it works. It’s an acid buffer. That means it’ll help the most when you’re training the hardest. An athlete really needs to produce muscle acidosis (lactic acid) at an unsustainable intensity before something like this will be at its best. Any type of intensity workout will lead to this. Also, any workouts with repeated efforts above 100% of anaerobic threshold (LT2) are extreme enough too.
The other practical application is to use PR Lotion for recovery purposes. That’s as simple as reapplying it after you've cleaned up following your workout. It helps to reduce soreness from that brutally intense workout you just did and prepare you for a hard workout the next day.