“If we always choose comfort, we never learn the deepest capabilities of our body and mind.”
I take cold showers <insert obvious joke here>. No, seriously. It’s a thing. A growing body of research halos short bursts of cold exposure, in all its forms, as part of a healthy lifestyle. So, whether that’s a cold shower, a dip in a chilly swimming pool, or a cryotherapy session, dive in every single day to overcome disease, supercharge your immune system, ignite your metabolism, rock your weight loss, and reduce inflammation! Ready, set, go.
Oh, you’re not quite ready to take the arctic plunge? It took me a while to get onboard, so I don’t blame you.
“Feel inspired to push past your own perceived limits, to get past your comfort zone, try something new…What else are you looking for? People today are so caught up in their egos, in the chase for material gain or status that they lose sight of who they really are. You’re alive, man! Your soul is alive! Wake up!”
Says the dude who ran a full marathon on Mount Everest at an altitude of 15,000 feet in his bare feet for 8 hours. Just sayin.
What is this crazy talk, you ask? Get the full scoop from the “Ice Man” himself in The Wim Hof Method: Activate Your Full Human Potential. When the author of this book, Wim Hof, is not setting the Guiness Book of World Records for swimming under the ice, or submitting himself to research studies for cold endurance, he is climbing Mount Everest in his shorts. Pretty sure Chuck Norris couldn’t do any better.
“Life is crazy and beautiful and full of opportunity, and everyday I seize it.”
I heard once that The Rock wakes up at 3 a.m. to workout. Um, no. Actors and athletes often have unsustainable workout practices, but I appreciate the universality of Hof’s message; he believes EVERYONE is capable of doing the same exceptional things that he does. So, the guy with 26 world records, including one for sitting in ice for almost two hours, says his skills can be learned. That’s why he developed the Wim Hof Method—a combination of breathing exercises, cold therapy and mind set shifting—to give you the tools that he uses to control his body.
“Your fears are the consequence of a conditioned mind, and they are nothing but a burden.”
In this book, Hof makes remarkable claims that his pupils have reversed diabetes and relieved symptoms for a host of illnesses like Parkinon’s, Lupus, and Multiple Sclerosis. In fact, Hof believes that our cozy modern conveniences and lifestyles have weakened us and made us more susceptible to stress and physical illness. He insists that a specific breathwork pattern will boost your energy, detox your body and improve your immune responses. Meanwhile, cold exposure, he says, activates your vascular system, burns fat and releases the “feel good” chemicals in your body. I can’t even begin to explain the science of it all, but this video nails it.
“It’s time to move beyond your fear or whatever else is holding you back from living fully, because that’s the way nature intended you to be.”
What is my experience with all this, you might be asking? How does a beach girl, who hibernates during the winter months, end up taking advice from a guy who sat packed in ice for 72 minutes on Times Square to set the record for cold endurance? What fascinates me most about his story is that he is able to raise his body temperature with thought alone. In fact, during the Times Square experiment, his body temperature dropped 10 degrees, to a level that would be fatal to most people, but he willed it to raise 6 degrees. That’s like magic to me!
After I committed to a practice of approximately 4-5 days a week, my most noticeable shift is being a little more of a badass. Relatively speaking, of course. I mean I’m not signing up for Navy Seal training, but I am pluckier than I used to be. For instance, one very chilly October morning, as I started my walk, I almost chickened out and turned back to the door. Then I thought, “the first three minutes of your shower yesterday were colder than this. Suck it up, buttercup.” And I did, and I am better for it.
“To me, performance is life itself. If you live your life, feel well, and follow your passion from the heart, then who can stop you? If you don’t do things with passion, with your heart, and with your emotions, then you are just running on adrenaline. You will burn out.”
Over time for me, all of this has translated into a willingness to have a thicker skin for other challenges in my life. Has that been advantageous? Absolutely! Is that all due to cold showers and breathwork? Not exclusively, but it has helped. Give Wim Hof Method a shot, and let me know what you think in the comments below.