About a month ago, in my post Breathe, I resolved to commit 6 months to meditative breathing and cold showers. Specifically, I’m following the Wim Hof Method as best as I can. I’m over a month into my experiment and I am feeling great.
In late February, I began ending each of my regular warm showers with a cold blast. It was such a painful shock I couldn’t last 30 seconds. This time maybe improved to a minute by mid March.
Then, while traveling to the southwest, I noticed the cold showers were not as cold. While on my Spring Break, I worked up to 3 minutes. When I got back home, I forced myself to last 3 minutes in our much colder shower. To my surprise, it wasn’t that difficult. I found that it is more of a mental game than anything.
Within the last week, to save time while showering, I have just started with cold and not bothered with a hot shower to start. This increases the exposure time to a little more than 3 minutes.
At this stage, I’m way beyond choking from the cold. While I still need to psych myself up for each shower, and it is still uncomfortable, I don’t fear that cold anymore. I know that by concentrating, breathing easy, and relaxing as best I can will get me through to the end and leave me invigorated.
My skin begins to turn red around 90 seconds and is glowing by 3 minutes. It becomes tacky with sweat, and the water beads. Not too long ago, after such a shower, my skin would be cold all over. While there are certain parts of the body that are colder than others even today (the extremities), most of my body is warm now immediately after.
Science suggests my BAT (brown adipose tissue) stores have increased. Whatever is happening, I like it. I’m more energetic and seem to take more control of my day. I recover faster from aerobic and anaerobic exercise. My sleep is more restful. Further, it has helped me get down to the 165 lb weight class that I signed up for in the Victory Grappling Championships this weekend.
As the semester winds down to a close, and I find more time in the summer, I will be researching how to take some of these methods to the next level. I will no doubt be working full immersion ice baths into my regimen.
I hope I have much more to tell you in another 5 months.