My revolutionary NASA workout

As I discussed in my first blog, I have been fighting through injuries for quite some time. My goal this training season was to get as fit and healthy as possible before the upcoming WNBA season (which is so close!). I have always had to get custom-fit orthotics made for my feet because my arches are so high and need so much support. The creator of all of my orthotics, Mark Silva, was working on a new pair for me when he mentioned a new type of training that he had an "in" with.

I was immediately intrigued when Mark said the training promoted healing, and had been designed by the person who introduced core cooling to professional athletes with the device currently known as Game Ready (I slept with a Game Ready ice machine hooked to my foot every night during the 2010 NCAA tournament). He told me the training took place at NASA headquarters ... yep, where all the astronauts hang out and research of space is done! I instantly jumped at the opportunity to participate in the training.

The first day I met Peter Wasowski, the inventor of the Vasper system, I knew I was in for a treat. He walked me through the science and reasoning behind this type of training and how I would benefit from it. I was already hooked -- I mean, I'm training next to astronauts, what could be cooler than that? Wasowski explained to me that Vasper Technology compresses a two-and-a-half hour workout into a 20-minute session, followed by 20 minutes of recovery.

Courtesy of Jayne Appel

In the recovery room, where Jayne Appel is hooked up to the Tesla generator while her spinal fluid is cooled even further.

Vasper compression involves placing chilled water-filled cuffs on your muscles while you work out. By keeping your body cool, the oxygen that normally is released in sweat stays in your body, tricking your mind into thinking you're working out for longer -- and, in the process, creating more hormones that allow for a stronger and more rehabilitative workout.

After my first workout I knew that my body was going to benefit from the workouts tremendously. There are two pieces of exercise equipment: one that is similar to an elliptical, and one sit-down machine that works your arms. At the beginning of the workout, you are set up with wraps placed snuggly around your biceps, quadriceps, torso and head. Each of these wraps compress around that body part, cooling your core body temperature roughly two degrees Fahrenheit. This safely slows down the blood flow in your body, enhancing the amount of lactic acid buildup in your muscles.

So, as you can imagine, the workout is TOUGH! Not only is your body cooling, but you are pushing yourself to the limit each time, trying to fight the lactic acid that is building up. Talk about a burn! But it's that lactic acid buildup that provides the great impact of this workout, and promotes the body to heal itself. It sends my pituitary gland into overdrive, making it as active as it was when I was a child. My brain is essentially tricked into thinking it needs to produce extra endogenous growth hormone to rebuild the muscles. A typical workout will enable my body to release 400-1,200 times the amount of growth hormone. that would typically be released.

After the workout, you go into the recovery room and lay down on cold mats that cool down your spinal fluid even more to promote the effects. During this time you are also hooked up to the Tesla generator, which pulses energy, promoting better osmosis between the cells in your body.

After the workout and recovery, you walk out of it feeling pumped and ready to go for the rest of the day. I normally do my Vasper workout in the morning, followed by my Sparta workout. You would think that my body would be exhausted going from one workout to the next, but I feel I usually have a great deal of energy after a Vasper workout. The great thing about it is that my own body is creating that energy as it heals itself.

In order to feel the full effects of the workout and receive the maximum benefit, I have to get a good night's sleep every night. That's when the second half of the growth hormone is produced (hence the phrase "sleeping like a baby"). I have been sleeping on a sheet given to me by NASA that works specifically with the Vasper system. It helps with the grounding effects of the science behind the training, aiding my body in the production of serotonin, the second half of that growth hormone. I have been sleeping 10 hours on this sheet almost every night!

Since starting this workout, I have noticed significant changes in the amount of pain that I feel. Last year, when I was hurt, I took anti-inflammatories every day. But I haven't taken them at all in the past couple of weeks and I've had no inflammation in any joints. I no longer notice much knee pain at all, or aches in my foot or ankle. This workout truly is helping my body to heal itself. Science is amazing, isn't it?

Related Content