The first product that caught my was the Body-Warming Sportbalm. I was intrigued by the fact that it was made to be used both before and after working out. I decided to take it for a spin on the West Side Highway running path following work one day.
Before slipping on my sweat-wicking shirt, I started by spot-applying some balm to my elbows, knees, and shoulders. First positive sign: The stuff goes on smooth and totally non-greasy. For the first few minutes it’s like any other high-quality body lotion. Then, just as I started to have that moment of “does this even do anything?,” it kicked into action. Unlike waxier and heavier pain relieving rubs, the sensation of this one is gradual and definitely more warm than hot. It made me more aware of my muscle movements, but really loosened me up at the same time, like I’d just walked out of a 30-minute sauna session (minus the fatigue). Off I went into the brisk night. The best description of that run I can give is that it felt like I had a force field surrounding my body. Remember that scene in The Matrix when Neo just starts stopping bullets dead in their tracks? It was like that, except replace the bullets with cold air. It was glorious.
My run complete, I returned to my apartment and decided to try a post-workout re-application. Almost paradoxically, the warming sensation helped ease my tired legs back into a static and relaxed “cooled-down” state. The entire experience was unlike anything I’d felt before, which says a lot coming from a guy who tries out about 15 lotions a week.
Photo: Warner Bros.