Cold

Over seven months ago in my post Breathe, I devoted to give the Wim Hof Method a try for six months. The Wim Hof Method involves breathing, cold shock, and his take on yoga. For over six months, I have habitually been practicing the breathing and cold shocks, and minimally incorporating the stretching.

According to my one month report, it was in early April that I stopped using hot water in my shower altogether. Then, in Owning My Day, I described the morning routine that also involves the 15-20 minutes of breathing. While I have not cheated on the shower, I have skipped my meditative breathing from time to time. After all, it does appear odd to an outsider watching someone Wim Hof breathing without knowing what is going on.

To keep it up, I use a mantra each morning that I borrow from Wim Hof himself: “If you don’t have time to breathe, you don’t have time for life!”

Before sitting down to write this post this evening, I drove out to the Governor’s Mansion to run the trails in the 35-37 ℉ drizzling weather wearing my running shorts, short sleeve shirt, and five finger Vibrams. On Saturday morning, Erin and I suited up for a long day of biking in rainy 45-50 ℉ temperatures, me in my bike sandals, bike shorts, and long sleeve bike shirt.

Soaking wet and cold, a Bloody Mary sampler warmed me up for the continued torture.

Surprisingly, only a minimal amount of time is spent assessing my condition. I think to myself, “I’m wet, cold, and uncomfortable,” before a big shit-eating grin engulfs my face as I know I could endure so much more. This was nowhere near my limit. Although I feel accomplished breaking new ground for myself and developing a more “calloused mind”, stories of Navy Seals like David Goggins and Jocko Willink come to mind, and immediately put me in my place.

While I don’t have aspirations of becoming a Navy Seal, or pushing myself anywhere near that limit, I do intend to continue cold exposure habits and pushing myself in the way I described above. Next up… the off-road 10K at Living History Farms on Saturday, November 23rd.

The Benefits

Breath

The breathing each morning is meditative and stress reducing. It improves my recovery time after anaerobic exercise such as jiu jitsu. It is also a challenge each morning as with more rounds I try and hold a negative breath for more than 3 minutes.

Not as noticeable in the short term are the benefits my body is getting from the oxygen levels it has been getting. Our bodies are equipped to receive and process a lot more oxygen then we humans regularly give it. Check out some of the other benefits on Wim Hof’s website.

Cold

The cold exposure has shown me the most obvious advancement in my physical well being. Cold, in general, is no longer threatening and painful. All of the cold showers each morning and the other activities in the cold has helped develop the “calloused mind” necessary to become one with the cold.

This “calloused mind” is worth it enough to me to continue this madness into the foreseeable future.

For Fun

The coldest showers of 2019 so far have been in

  • Alaska
  • Iceland
  • Scotland

The showers in these three were possibly the coldest a shower can possibly get without the pipes freezing.

The warmest showers of 2019 were during the Cottonwood 200, when I had to take a shower at a high school and simply push a button. It was warm and disappointing. The other one was in a specific shower stall at Genesis, the new health club of which I am now a member. In this shower stall, the faucet is opposite of what it says. You have to turn it to hot for cold and turn it to cold for hot. Another disappointingly warm shower until I figured it out.

4 thoughts on “Cold

  1. “The calloused mind”–that’s a great turn of phrase. I’m revisiting Stoicism via Ward Farnsworth’s *The Practicing Stoic*, and a lot of what you’re advocating aligns nicely with Stoic principles.

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  2. Enjoyed the read, son. I’ve been taking cooler showers since you told me about this earlier. I can shut the hot off for the last 5 secs of my shower. Of course, my phylosophy is ‘moderation’ in MOST things.

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