Seek Cold Instead of Heat?

Accountability Be Accountable Self-improvement Thought leadership

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Key Point: Disruption is all around us and intentionally getting uncomfortable, perhaps “cold,” seems to be a gateway to personal and organizational transformation. My son Garrett, yup the same guy that co-authors, edits and publishes this blog, switched me on to Wim Hof. He claims I could be the only person in the informed world that may not have heard of the “Ice Man.” As I looked into Wim, it is clear this man is more than a freak of nature. He is a serious student of the body/mind and is scientifically challenging assumptions about our immune system and more.

This following was originally published in AskMen UK

“Hof: I discovered that I was able to influence my chemistry and make my body alkaline, which means having a positive pH. I could then stay a whole night outside in shorts in winter. Many years have passed since, but once you get a control like that, you don’t feel normal boundaries, you have a different mindset. You begin to believe you can do so much more.

Today,
I have 26 world records. They range from the longest ice bath – one hour, 53 minutes and 42 seconds – to a marathon around the Arctic Circle in a pair of shorts. Climbing until Everest’s deathzone was easy [he turned back because of a injury he got doing a half marathon barefoot in freezing temperatures a couple of months before]. It was! I found myself at 6,000 meters in a blizzard and I had to find my own way. I was alone for hours and hours, but it was probably my greatest experience. 
Any mountain is possible, you just have to calculate the weather. Don’t go into Mount Everest when storm clouds come up, just look at the weather forecast – it’s not so difficult…I love a hot shower – yes sir! If you experience a really hot shower after being in the cold, you appreciate it so much more. It makes life worth living.”

In late Jan. 2014, Hof climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with 25 others. In only 48 hours, 24 of the 26 expedition members reached the summit, an achievement that, until then, was thought impossible. A striking detail was that a number of the members of the group suffered from a variety of diseases, such as MS, rheumatism or cancer. 

The following is a Hof review, from a cynic by the name of Scott Carney, who in Jan. 2017 published a book entitled, What Doesn’t Kill Us

“A few years ago I heard about a Dutch fitness guru named Wim Hof who claimed to be able to give people what sounded like superpowers–consciously controlling their body temperature, their immune systems and oxygen consumption. I had just written a book and given a Tedx talk about another guru making similarly outlandish claims in the deserts of Arizona. That story ended in tragedy, with a man dying on his search for enlightenment. I thought Wim Hof was just another charlatan, so I got a commission from Playboy to set out to prove he was a fake.

Obviously, I was more than a little bit skeptical when I met Hof at his training center in Poland. However, within a few days, he completely changed my mind. I ended up meditating on the banks of a snowy river, melting the snow around me with my body heat. I learned to hold my breath for three minutes at a stretch and stand in the snow for hours at a time. At the end of the week I climbed a mountain in Poland wearing only a bathing suit while the temperature plummeted to 4 degrees…

I know that a lot of this sounds crazy. I thought so too. But as I learned more, I began to see results for myself. I learned to control my body temperature to such an extent that last January, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro without a shirt–at a pace that was three times faster than almost anyone ever attempts–making it to the rim of the volcano in just 28 hours. There’s a lot more to say, of course, a ton of peer-reviewed science that I’ve barely touched on here.”

For those of you intrigued like I am, below is the high level framework Hof applies: 

 

“COLD THERAPY

The cold is your warm friend. Exposing your body to it in the right way starts a cascade of health benefits, including the buildup of brown adipose tissue and subsequent fat loss, reduced inflammation to facilitate a fortified immune system, balanced hormone levels, improved sleep quality, and the production of endorphins— the feel-good chemicals in the brain that naturally elevate your mood.

BREATHING

We’re always breathing, yet we’re mostly unaware of its tremendous potential. Heightened oxygen levels hold a treasure trove of benefits, and the specialized breathing technique of the Wim Hof Method unearths them all: more energy, reduced stress levels, and an augmented immune response to swiftly deal with pathogens.

COMMITMENT

The third pillar is the foundation of the other two: both cold exposure and conscious breathing require patience and dedication in order to be fully mastered. Armed with focus and determination you are ready to explore and eventually master your own body and mind.”

Character Moves:

  1. This is what I mean when I say, “Seek Heat.” In Hof’s case “seeking heat” involves seeking the cold and being self-aware enough to ingest rich learning from it. (P.S. lots of transformative people like Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss are applying Hof’s methods).
  1. Consider exploring, if not embracing Hof’s principles as noted above.
  1. Darn… It seems like hard work and discipline is involved. Why would it be easy? Greatness always involves dedication, sacrifice and grit! And a mindset to seek heat or perhaps cold! 

Cold shower in The Triangle,

Lorne 

One Millennial View: After a very quick tutorial, I woke up this morning and tried Hof’s very simple pre-cold shower breathing method while still lying in bed. At the end of a warm shower, I turned the water cold and stood underneath frigid water for about 30 seconds. I’ve been forced to take cold showers before (which I’ve loathed), but this time it was tolerable and I left the house with pep in my step. I’ll try it again tomorrow. I told a few co-workers, who seemed less intrigued and gave more of a “if I don’t have to, why would I?” response. Fair. And I don’t have an answer. But, it certainly made my 4 a.m. wake up way more invigorating; I’ll start from there.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis