Kool 'N Fit Sport Conditioning Spray. Photo: Courtesy
by Josh Liberles
Kool ‘N Fit Sport is a liquid spray designed to help with muscle warm-up and recovery. Add “does laundry” and “cooks your recovery dinner” to its list of attributes and it would be every racer’s perfect mate. Seriously, product manufacturer Kool Fit recommends using their Sport product to improve warm-up, invigorate, avoid fatigue, prevent cramps, reduce next-day soreness, improve recovery, allow for better stretching, speed up healing from injuries, relieve general stress and generate a feeling of well-being.
To test the product, I followed the manufacturer’s recommendations and on several occasions applied the spray to one leg post-ride and left the other untreated. I’ve been doing lots of on-the-bike strength workouts lately, so there’s been plenty of muscle soreness to treat. Initially there’s a tingling, cooling sensation, which turns to a gentle warm feeling–on par with a mild to medium-level embrocation.
The mentholly smell is pleasant and invigorating–in fact Kool Fit recommends that competitors spray the liquid on their upper lips to open nasal passages and improve breathing. I find it a good way to pep-up and refocus during long workouts or events.
The difference in my Pepsi challenge test was clear; whichever leg I treated would quickly feel relief and diminished post-workout soreness and fatigue. The tingling / warming sensation goes away within an hour or so, but the muscle relief continues. I felt better both lounging at home post-ride and, although this is tougher to gauge, think that it improved my recovery for the next day’s workout.
Kool Fit claims that the Sport spray’s formulation “penetrates deeper than other analgesics to relax and soothe muscles better.” It acts as a vasodilator, widening the blood vessels and allowing for increased blood flow to the muscles. More blood flow means faster waste removal and more oxygen coming in: two keys to improving both performance and recovery.
I have to confess that I have mixed feelings about embrocations in general. I tend to use them more for post-ride recovery and, although I may occasionally apply them before a ride if I’m particularly sore, I never use them as a substitute for clothing. The danger with embrocations is that the vasodilation also brings more blood to the skin’s surface–which makes you feel warmer but in fact results in lowered body temperatures and can increase the chances of hypothermia.
As the Kool ‘N Fit name clearly recognizes, their Sport product will help keep your core temperature down during intense activity. That’s a performance advantage during hot weather, and I look forward to experimenting with it more both pre-ride and in-ride this summer. For now, it’s been plenty cold enough in Portland that I’ll stick to layering.
While the spray won’t actually generate body heat, it does make you more limber at the beginning of a ride. A proper warm-up for your muscles and aerobic system is still necessary, but it makes the process a little easier.
One decided bonus of Kool ‘N Fit Sport is its delivery system–it’s a spray that requires no rubbing in. That means that when you’re treating yourself before or after an event, you don’t end up with the solution all over your hands, which will inevitably lead towards inadvertently rubbing your eyes or other dire consequences in a porta-potty. Kool ‘N Fit Sport also comes in small, portable sizes–perfect for stowing in a jersey and pulling out mid-ride for a quick application.
Other innovative suggested product uses include pre-treating socks or the legs of cycling shorts the night before an event with the spray (I’d recommend staying away from the chamois area!). The alcohol in the spray will quickly evaporate, but when you start sweating during your race, the Sport spray will go to work.
While there’s no unusual new wonder-ingredient harvested from deep in the South American jungle or crafted in some overly-fluorescent-lit lab, there doesn’t need to be. The old-school formula, which company president Hubertus von der Beeck traces back to his ancestors in Germany circa 1880, works. The ingredients–mainly a mix of menthol, camphor, essential oils and alcohol–aren’t so different than those found in other balms and embrocations. But the combination found in Kool ‘N Fit Sport definitely does the trick for me. I encourage you to take the company up on their free sample offer.
Active Ingredients: Menthol, Camphor
Inactive Ingredients: SD-40 Alcohol, Deionized Water, Eucalyptus Oil, Juniperberry Oil, Peppermint Oil and other Essential Herbal Oils, Polysorbate 20.
Kool N’ Fit MSRP – 2oz: $8.99 (about 40 applications); 4oz: $14.99; 16oz: $39.99; Industrial Sizes also available
See the Kool ‘N Fit website for more information and a free sample.