This morning I got naked, turned the tap and paused.
I was about to take my first cold shower.
I stared at the falling water and questioned everything about it. I thought about walking out.
I pressed start on my iPhone’s timer, took a deep breath, and walked into the water.
Two things happened in that moment.
1. I discovered how hard it is to breathe in cold water, I swear I almost pulled a rib muscle.
2. I wondered where the hell my manhood went, I’m glad I was alone, it was not my most impressive moment.
Today is day 3 of my experiment with cold shower therapy (CST) and it sucked just as much as day one. I think it always will.
On this particular day I a managed a full 3 minutes in the shower. That’s 30 seconds more than yesterday.
My goal is to get to 5 minutes, for 30 days.
Now, let me answer some questions that may be running through your mind.
Why the fuck am I standing in a cold shower and what is cold shower therapy?
I first came across CST in the 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. I never tried it and forgot all about it.
Then, more recently, I read about it on a blog called ImpossibleHQ by Joel Runyon. Joel is such a big believer in CST that he has a guide dedicated to it, and an app! It’s also a cool blog and I recommend spending some time reading through his posts.
So, this time, I decided to do something about it.
Based on the physical benefits alone it seem worth it. I mean check them out:
- Improved fat loss (not much, but every little helps)
- Relief from symptoms of depression
- Improved skin and hair
- Energy increase ( I can vouch for this one, especially as I am off coffee at the moment)
- Improve your breathing
- Improve circulation
- Boost immune system
- Handle stress better
- Increase testosterone
- Increase fertility (men)
- Improve your lymphatic system
- Reduced inflammation/Improved recovery
I read that and thought, hell yeah, I’ll stand under cold water to get all that jazz.
I haven’t been doing it long enough to notice these benefits, but there are 2 benefits that I noticed from day one.
That’s what I would like to let you know about today.
Cold showers, the perfect metaphor for life.
The seconds as you build up to getting under the water, suck.
The first 30-45 seconds suck. A lot.
This was true on day 1, 2 and day 3. I can’t see this ever changing.
But after that, it gets easier, almost bearable.
Your body adapts and your mind has gotten over the initial fear. You’re just showering.
You’re still aware it’s cold, but the longer you’re in there, the more comfortable it is.
That got me thinking:
1. A lot of fear is only in our minds.
When we start a new weight loss program, act on a huge life goal, or step under cold water, we get scared.
We create scenarios in our heads.
What if I fail?
What if it’s hard work?
The longer you wait, the worse these thoughts become.
You’re paralysed, scared to act in case they come true. But these scenarios are often far worse in our heads than they ever are in reality.
When you finally build up the courage to take the first step, you look back and wonder what took you so long. The fear disappears.
Don’t tell me you haven’t stood on the side of a cold pool, for at least 10 minutes, before jumping in. We all have.
There’s a due that swims in the Artic, I’m sure our fear of a cold pool would amuse him.
Just remember, it’s just in your head.
2. Everything is shit at first.
When you start something new, it’s hard.
You’re not good at it and doing nothing is easier and more enjoyable.
When that cold water hit me for the first time and I lost my breath and I wanted out. Anything was more enjoyable than this.
It took a lot of mental effort, but I stuck in there.
All it took for me to last 3 minutes, was 30 seconds of discipline. The 30-second mark was a tipping point. After that, I needed less discipline and got more enjoyment from it.
Long term success requires short-term discipline.
Any habit, or behaviour, you’re trying to adopt requires hard work in the beginning. But the benefit of this hard work now, is less work later.
It’s a small price to pay.
Some tips to take away
1. Don’t be afraid to start small.
Even though my goal is to do 5 minutes for 30 days, I didn’t start with 5 minutes.
I chose something I thought I could do and started there. This made it a lot easier to start.
Now I will add 15-30s every day until I am at 5.
For example, if you’re trying to run 10K, start at 1k and build from there. If the task seems too easy, you’re doing it right.
2. Accept that it will be tough when you start out.
What’s the hardest part of going to the gym in the morning? For a lot of people, it’s getting out of bed.
The same people will tell you how much better they feel when they get out of bed and train.
The 2 seconds of discipline it takes to get out of bed, benefits you for the whole day.
It may not be 2 seconds. It may take you a day, week or month, it doesn’t matter. If what you’re doing will make you better, it’s worth the investment.
At least I hope it is, or I’m not sure why you’re doing it.
Want to join me in the shower?
Accountability and support are crucial to achieving goals. So how about we do this together?
If you want to join me to do CST for 5 minutes for 30 days straight, click on this link and put your name in the comments.
You don’t have to start at the same time as everyone else, it’s just 30 days. We will all support you, motivate you, keep you accountable and share the experience.
As always, thanks for reading.