I am leading up to ice baths and winter outdoor dipping, somewhere really cold, I remember David Goggin's once saying "you have forgotten how to suffer, go find some water, real cold - now get in it". 🥶
I cheat, a bit.
Cold showers sound awful, don't they? Especially after getting out of a warm bed in the winter months. I can't remember when my routine with cold showers actually started but what I do remember, daily, is the benefits of having them.
Weird how the mind works.
When I started thinking about doing it, I grimaced. Why shouldn't I just be kind to myself and have a glorious hot shower in the morning like everyone else? I don't know 🤷🏼 maybe I was looking for that edge, something that enhances my ability to get into a flow state.
Fast forward a year, and I look forward to it. How odd is that?
This is what my general flow state routine looks like:
I make sure I bone breath before I sleep, more on that here:
I train before I work, more on how I do that here:
After hitting my flow state in the gym, I'll then shower before work. This is what works for me (I have a rain shower head):
I step in on lukewarm, usually a 7 on my shower, not overly uncomfortable but also reminding myself what is about to come.
I quickly wash hair etc under lukewarmth, enjoying it whilst it lasts...
I rinse off at about a 6, it's a bit of a wake-up.
I drop it down to 5, for about 30 seconds. I am wide-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Now down to 4, this is cold in my shower - like straight out of the cold water tap. It's paradoxical, I feel alert, awake, mindful, present, alive and massively uncomfortable all at the same time. 60 seconds 😬
On my bravest days, I'll drop it down to a 3 for the last 10-15 seconds, either way, when I step out of the shower I could literally get my gear on and sprint until I pass out. What I way to start the day!
Lot's of things feel different since doing this. Hair feels different, skin feels smoother, I feel more present during the day like my body has had a taste of something ancestral, and the weird thing is, I look forward to the next one 🙈
This post wouldn't be complete with a reference to Wim Hof
Here is the standard list from Wim Hof of the benefits of cold showers, I have experienced the first 4 but not the weight loss.
Reduced stress levels. Regularly taking cold showers imposes a small amount of stress on your body, which leads to a process called hardening. This means that your nervous system gradually gets used to handling moderate levels of stress. The hardening process helps you to keep a cool head, the next time you find yourself in a stressful situation.
A higher level of alertness. Cold showers wake your body up, inducing a higher state of alertness. The cold also stimulates you to take deeper breaths, decreasing the level of CO2 throughout the body, helping you concentrate. Cold showers thus keep you ready and focused throughout the day.
More robust immune response. Scientific studies have found that taking a cold shower increases the amount of white blood cells in your body. These blood cells protect your body against diseases. Researchers believe that this process is related to an increased metabolic rate, which stimulates the immune response.
Increased willpower. It takes a strong mind to endure the cold for extended periods of time. By incorporating cold showers into your daily routine, you are strengthening your willpower, which benefits many aspects of (your) daily life.
Weight loss. Research has shown that cold showers (and exposure to cold in general), in addition to increasing metabolic rate directly, stimulate the generation of brown fat. Brown fat is a specific type of fat tissue that in turn generates energy by burning calories. Cold showers, then, are an effective tool for people who are looking to lose a few pounds.