I get it, some things are a harder sell than others.
If someone says that something is good then you might be inclined to try it yourself and see if it improves your life. Some new super juice, healthy food or exercise would all be things that I would consider a relatively easy sell as they have low barriers to entry.
So what about cold showers?
These are a hard sell!
I first read about taking cold showers in The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferris and it wasn’t until I tried it that I realised how tough it is. The idea is to take a normal shower and then at the end turn the water to cold and stand in the cold water for a certain amount of time. I am not going to lie, it is physically and mentally tough, but equally, it is also really rewarding. Like anything in life, if you only do the easy things then your life will be hard. If you do the hard things then life is easy.
There are the reasons why it has really worked for me:
It wakes me up
Taking a cold shower really wakes you up, and when I say really wakes you up, I mean like all of a sudden having your brain supercharged and switched on. I get out of the shower and my mind and body are fully primed for the day ahead and that is massive to me.
It also helps when you have had a bit too much wine the night before but I will leave that up to you to find out yourself.
I like achieving things and it’s an awesome feeling to know I have taken a cold shower every morning. Some mornings I don’t feel like it and have to force myself to turn that shower dial to the cold stream. Every day it’s difficult, every day I think ‘what the hell am I doing’, every day I finish the shower and feel amazing. It’s hardcore and I love it.
It also helps to burn body fat. Whoa, what did you just say, it helps with fat burning? Yep, this is one of the magic bonuses of cold exposure, even for a short while, is that it helps with burning fat. This is because the shivering that occurs helps with glucose uptake in muscle tissue and helps fat to burn fat. It also has an immune stimulating response that helps with immunity. For more details about this I would highly recommend reading The Four Hour Body and specifically, the chapter called “Ice Age: Mastering Temperature to Manipulate Weight”.
How to do it
This might sound obvious but there are still techniques for this and things to be aware of.
Build up slowly – I started at 20 seconds (which felt like a lifetime) and increase it by a few seconds every day. I am up to taking a 3-minute cold shower every morning after I have worked out and I love it.
Control your breathing – This is really important as I found that I would start to hyperventilate when first exposed to the cold water. Just be aware that this is going to happen and focus on breathing normally. If you are really struggling with your breathing then turn the shower off and warm yourself up.
Certain areas of the body are worst – I found the top of the back of my neck was the worst area so I would build up to this and I typically expose this part to the cold in the final minute when I am beginning to adjust to the cold. You might find other areas bad, trust me, you will know when you hit a sensitive area.
Don’t push yourself too hard – Cold exposure isn’t something to take lightly and if you feel like it is too much or you feel dizzy at all then get out and get yourself warm. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions then I would get yourself checked out by a doctor first to make sure that its ok to take cold showers. I wouldn’t recommend doing longer than 10 minutes in a cold shower.
Like some things I experiment with, they stop being an experiment and then become part of my routine. It’s cold showers all the way for me now.
If you have any questions about this then get in touch and I would be happy to share my experiences with you.