Sports massage: Yes it hurts, yes it works

Matthew Jenkin grits his teeth and wishes for scented candles and whale music for a painful, but essential, sports massage during his Olympic body challenge

Sports massage: Yes it hurts, yes it works
21 June 2012

If your idea of a massage is scented candles, whale music and an hour’s kip, it might be wise to give the sports variety a fairly wide berth.

Make no mistake, there is nothing, I repeat, nothing relaxing about sports massage.

It was a truth which professional masseur Darryl Carty was quick to point out before I lay down and braced myself for the worst.

‘You are behaving quite well,’ he said as he began to dig into my back muscles and I felt an uncomfortable pressure on my back. ‘Most of my clients scream and swear at me.’

‘Thanks,’ I replied before uttering the following famous last words: ‘Well, it’s really not that bad.’

When he reached my shoulders, which I have repeatedly strained and pulled during my three-month challenge to achieve the body of an athlete before the London 2012 Olympics, I yelped, grit my teeth and thought of Matthew Mitcham naked covered in whipped cream to take my mind off the excrutiating agony.

With the help of Maximuscle, the UK and Europe’s number one sports nutrition brand, I have been manscaping by body into the ripped and defined figure which is most gay men’s wet dream.

But while it’s true that beauty is suffering, it’s a necessary pain in order to maintain healthy muscles.

‘With a sports massage you are talking about getting deeper into the muscle fibers,’ Carty explained.

‘The biggest aim is to get more blood flow to your muscles so they get more nutrients. Also you help them to rid the body of lactic acid.

‘When your muscles are very tight, they act as a sponge and squeezes the blood back out, so your tissues are not getting the nutrients they need, so your lymphatic system is running really slowly.

‘With sports massage you are also helping to stretch your muscles in both directions, which obviously you cannot do with any normal sort of stretching and that is very important because you need that range of motion.

‘It is painful because when you have imbalances with your muscle, your nervous system is aggravated. But it’s helpful because it helps to realign everything.’

He adds that while sports massage may not be able to help if you have a serious injury, it can help prevent one.

Although, he adds, it can aid rehabilitation, including reducing scar tissue.

But having shirt tearing biceps and button popping pecs may not, necessarily be a sign of health.

He said: ‘I know the difference between what healthy muscle feels like and what it doesn’t feel like.

‘People seem to have this idea that rock hard muscle is the ideal, but it’s actually very unhealthy. Healthy muscle should be soft to the touch.

‘So people who do work out a lot, their muscle isn’t healthy. They look big and strong but it is very tight, which means they’re not going to get much motion.
‘Sports massage is about getting your muscle back to the way it should feel, getting blood flow back to the tissue and getting rid of waste products.’

Despite how uncomfortable it felt, and the soreness continued the next day, my shoulders did feel relief and I noticed a lot more mobility.

So while sports massage may not be a blissful chill-out, it remains essential for any athlete or gym fanatic who is serious about taking care of their body.

Along with a healthy diet plan recommended by Maximuscle nutritionist Gareth Nicholas, I have been working out three or four times a week, including taking the Maximuscle Promax Cyclone shake, Maximuscle meal bar and Thermobol supplement.

Follow my Olympic body challenge progress on Twitter @matthewjenkin




No thumbnail available

Argentina celebrates four years of gay marriage with over 9,000 unions

In July 2009, Argentina became the first country in Latin America, the second-biggest in the Americas and tenth in the world legalize same-sex marriage
No thumbnail available

Olly Murs squeezes into Kylie Minogue's infamous gold hotpants

Former X Factor UK runner up tweets photo of himself dressed as Minogue as a thank you to Robbie Williams inviting him on tour
No thumbnail available

Gay couples 'should be given IVF on NHS'

Health experts in UK recommend giving same-sex couples fertility treatment on the National Health Service
No thumbnail available

Video of 'beaten and raped' gay man in Russia surfaces online

Clips of anti-gay attack appear on social media tool WhatsApp
No thumbnail available

Exporting brand Copenhagen

Denmark’s capital continues to show the world how to live
No thumbnail available

Adoption victory for gay mothers in Netherlands

Over 20 same-sex female couples rejoiced as a court formally recognized they could be named as parents to a child
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

40% of straight women have had a gay experience

Around one in 10 women surveyed said they had fantasies about sex with another woman, but had not acted upon them
No thumbnail available

Lesbian TV personality Jane Velez-Mitchell talks to GSN about the year in LGBT equality

'When we get to see those changes before our eyes, it really is energizing'
No thumbnail available

Homophobia rife in refugee camps in Thailand, Burmese migrants say

Burmese migrants speak of persecution of LGBT residents in camps in Thai refugee camps