You could do a quick Google search and find a laundry list of cold shower benefits. For me, it just feels good, after. There is often a little self talk prior to stepping in a 40 degree shower. And of course there are times, just when you are feeling like you have conquered the cold, and it will sucker-punch you in the kisser and you’ll think, why do I like this? But after the shower is over I feel great! A cold shower can be a little way to easily give your body back the ability to adjust/adapt/respond to environmental stimulus.
Are you a Hofamaniac? Take This Test and Find Out
Wim Hof disciples are a different breed. Here’s a test to find out if you are one. You are in the shower. You turn on the water. You discover the switch from tub to shower has already been engaged. No time to turn it off, what do you do? The answer separates Hofamaniacs from the rest of the world.
I’ll tell you what I’ve done for the past 3 decades – jump back to get out of the spray range; and if the cool water grazed my toes, I’d let out a high pitched scream!
Hi, My Name is Rob and I’m a Hofamaniac
After that intro it is odd to say, I’ve been purposely taking cold showers for over 2 months now. It’s probably even more odd if you know what I do to convert my 80 degree Fahrenheit “cold water” to actual cold water. My wife says it’s quite the production.
So what changed? I met Wim Hof.
If you are unfamiliar with Wim Hof
His earned nickname is “The ICE MAN.” He has an impressive resume with over 20 Guinness World Records. Some are: farthest swim under ice; longest ice bath; Fastest half marathon barefoot on ice/snow; running a full marathon above the Arctic circle wearing only a pair of shorts; reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in his shorts within two days; the list goes on and on.
Wim was hosting a one day seminar
I mentioned to my wife that it’d be neat to listen to him in person. So for my birthday my father-in-law bought himself and me tickets to the seminar. The itinerary for the seminar was: lecture, breathing exercises, break, ice bath, Q & A. I’ll admit, I was rather intimidated by the ice bath. But I was curious to hear what he had to say.
My expectations for the seminar
- tryout/practice Wim’s style of breathing
- listen for some nuggets of knowledge
- try and snap a selfie with Wim
- not look like a sissy in front of my father in law in the ice bath.
But we got more than we expected.
After the breathing, both my father in law & I felt amazing. Even stranger, after the ice bath, we felt amazing! So amazing that when we got the offer for a bonus round in the ice -we took it! We even jumped in a 3rd time when there was extra room in the pool!
Time to Always Get Better, Stronger
After the seminar we both signed up for Wim’s 10 week online class. In the class you practice breathing, practice push-ups with your breath held, progressively build up your cold exposure (via cold showers leading up to ice baths), and there are other exercises/meditation sprinkled in.
I started the class, and enjoyed it, but
I knew I wasn’t getting the most out of it because where I live, I don’t have cold water. It literally comes out of the cold tap at 78-81 degrees Fahrenheit. Determined, I bought a camping shower and starting experimenting with different mixtures of ice, tap water, and refrigerated water.. Here’s a video of what I did:
The cooler solution worked well for the first 4 weeks.
But in week 5, we jumped our shower time up to 10 minutes. That requires a lot more water. I had to upgrade my efforts.
So why do it?
When we were at the seminar, we met some folks that said they do their breathing and cold showers to help them with things like: PTSD, inflammatory diseases, depression, boost immune system, etc. Those are all serious things and they told us the cold and breathing helped them a lot.
Speaking of breathing.
The breathing practice is a big part of the Wim Hof Method. It can be easy to discount the breathing. But practicing it, it feels good too. You practice cycles of breathing and then holding your breath. At the end of your daily practice you do some push-ups holding your breath. It’s fun to watch the progress of: the retention time, and doing push-ups while holding your breath. Beyond feeling revitalized, I think it helps my have greater patience. Which is critical with a 2 year old.
I am not done with the online course. I am currently in the beginning of week seven of ten. I’m a little sad it is almost over, but excited to see how the last few weeks shape up.