(This is a sponsored review. I received these products for free, in return for my review after using them for a bit.)
My post-workout recovery approach is enough to make anyone cringe. Or at least my post-workout recovery before I had my son.
As a personal trainer, I knew the importance of it. As someone who studied enough body mechanics in school to earn a degree, I knew better.
However, when the workout session was done, I was done.
Regardless of how hard I hit it, or how heavy I moved it, my recovery never really needed it.
Sure, some days, there’d be some muscle soreness after, never to a point where I found myself desiring reaching for a foam roller, trigger point release stuff, or anything else. And the only time I’d ever experience soreness that was more than “a little”, was when my food habits had gone all to hell and my body wasn’t getting the fuel it needed to do what I was demanding of it to do.
My post-workout recovery did, and still does, hinge a LOT of what I put INTO my body than what was done to the outside.
Until I had my son.
After, I found my body, regardless of my nutrition, was not so fond of just “moving on” after a workout was done. Then, sometime late January of this year, the rubbing and kneading with my hands, the rolling a ball around on my legs or arms, just wasn’t cutting it anymore.
While my son was taking his bath one night, I started kneading my calves and thighs with my knuckles. When that wasn’t enough, I started rolling a shampoo bottle around on my legs. Then, I grabbed a rolling pin from the kitchen.
That’s right, a rolling pin.
I used what I had on hand (typical of my approach to pretty much everything in life, make do with what I’ve got).
My son thought it was hilarious, my husband looked at me oddly when he walked in and caught me, but I didn’t care – it felt wonderful.
The rolling pin was coming out more and more. And I started looking online at better options for muscle release than a, uh… rolling pin. Sure it worked, but there had to be something better. That worked even better.
A few weeks after I started using the rolling pin, and before I could determine what would be the best purchase for my post-workout recovery, Ashley Black and the fascia blaster came into my life.
It started with a message, asking me if I would be interested in receiving two fascia blaster products, for free, in return for a review.
I checked out the website, read reviews, and figured, what can this hurt? Even if the cellulite on my legs wasn’t reduced in appearance by this product, the blasters looked like they would be amazing on my muscles. Maybe even my back during a flare.
After I agreed, the products arrived on my doorstep, and not a moment too soon. I’d just finished a workout, and was ready to grab for that rolling pin – because it had been an intense leg day. One of those for reps kinds. You know, where your body goes on auto-pilot, and you just keep going… and going… and going… and after, you realize that maybe, just maybe, you did about 40 too many reps.
I put on some workout shorts, sat on my living room floor, grabbed the fascia blaster and the oil that came with the set sent, and went to work on my legs.
That’s how the relationship blossomed.
I received the fascia blaster and the face blaster, and although I haven’t used the face blaster on my face, as a tinier person, I have found it’s perfect for use on my arms, my butt, and my lower back. I have even used it one time on my cesarean scar (I regularly work on scar release to keep adhesion down to a minimum).
So back up, what exactly is a fascia blaster and what the heck is fascia?
The fascia blaster is a tool that (looks like those old school sink faucet handles), when used, works to break up the fascia under your skin.
The FasciaBlaster® from Ashley Black is promoted as a tool that can lead to pain reduction, improved flexibility, joint function, circulation, muscle definition and performance, nerve activity, and enhanced beauty including the reduction of cellulite.
From Breaking Muscle: Fascia is the basic term used to describe the connective tissues of the body. It’s the shiny stuff that covers and divides your new grass fed T-bone into those little compartments before you cook it. This tissue is an amazing creation of nature that fulfills many structural and chemical functions of mammals and is largely responsible for the huge freedom of movement possessed by human beings in particular. Collagen is the primary structural component of fascia. This resilient and ubiquitous protein has many functions as it travels uninterrupted through the body. Collagen protein is designed to primarily resist tensile stress and is the stuff of skin, tendons, and ligaments, as well as the coverings of muscle tissues and their different constituent parts.
This amazing material changes fiber density and arrangement based on structural stress, genetic make up, and tissue memory. That’s right, memory. Fibroblasts (cells that make collagen) actually exhibit the propensity to remember their function.
This dense tissue is arranged in a way that allows maximum distribution of load with minimal framework. As light as it is, collagen is proportionally stronger than steel cable. This is part of the reason “stretching” and “rolling” do not actually affect it.
In a healthy musculoskeletal system the fascia supports free movement of our muscles and bones through the huge variety of shapes that we see in sport, performance art, and life. When this tissue becomes dysfunctional it is a force to be reckoned with and can be a great cause of movement restriction and pain.
As someone whose primary workout focus is lifting weights, and lifting heavy weights, my fascia issues lie in dense areas of tissue
These prevent full expression of range of motion and keep neighboring tissues from sliding past one another. When dysfunctional these areas are often gristly, hard, and do not move well. But just because an area has dense tissue does not mean it’s dysfunctional. Squat often? Guess what? Your IT bands will be dense and stiff from transmitting force from your hips into the ground. Are you an athlete who has big-ass bread loaves living next to your spine? Yeah, that’s from doing work and it doesn’t mean you’re messed up. (Breaking Muscle)*
I read through the paperwork that came with both the face blaster and fascia blaster tools, and also did a little research on my own (hence the info from Breaking Muscle).
Videos from AB, and the information I gathered around, gave me a better understanding on how to use the products to be the best for what I was looking for.
When using the blaster, one of the key things I learned was: Burning sensation is OKAY. It’s actually good. The burning sensation is the chemical change taking place, and the beginning of the release. So it’s important to NOT stop when the burning starts.
While I do wish I’d taken before photos of what my thighs and my butt looked like the day I started, because I do have some cellulite there, I’ll be honest and I went into this more focused on my muscles, post-workout recovery, and help with my spinal disease flares and how they really tighten my back up. So cellulite, and any possible chance at reducing the appearance of it outside of my diet and workout out, was sort of an after thought.
BUT, I can say this: these tools are AMAZING. After each workout, I go to work on release, and that very same day (unless it was a late day workout, then it’s the following morning), my entire body just feels so much better than it ever has before. A refreshed feeling. I’ve also noticed that I’m not feeling as tight as I was feeling in my workouts – particularly my hamstring area with deadlifts, hamstring curls, and such. I’m a little looser in my yoga poses that require that hamstring stretching too.
Is the Ashley Black FasciaBlaster® worth it?
I can 100% say YES.
(*Breaking Muscle: Undertanding Myofascial Releaase)