I took my first Ice-bath yesterday.
As with most of my short (but intense) enthusiasms, I decided to immediately expose myself to the full brunt of the experience. No easing myself in with cold showers and meditative breathing exercises.
I watched Atomic Blonde this weekend. Despite the weak plot I (strangely) enjoyed this movie. It had a great soundtrack and the fight scenes were filmed as long, continuous shots (I appreciate this difficult form of choreography). After a short opening scene the protagonist (Charlize Theron) emerges from an Ice-bath that she has completely submerged herself in.
This got Joeys hamster on its wheel. Hmmmm…
Depending on how I feel when I wake up I might do 5km. So usually three or four times a week. Its exactly two and a half kilometers up to the water tower near my house and then two and a half kilometers back down. I’ve recently begun adding sandbags into my backpack to add some intensity to my workout. (currently two 3kg bags of sand) Then I usually stop and pick up coffee on the way back.
Yesterday morning I added two big bags of ice from the freezer along with my Grande Caps. If there was anyone around at 5am it might have been amusing to see someone trundling down the street struggling under the weight of two sandbags and 44lbs of ice.
Filled my bath up with cold water. And then dumped the ice in.
Initially I just sat there. Hyperventilating.
Eventually after my feet had gone numb and my testicles had retracted further then I thought was absolutely safe, I decided I needed to do a full body immersion. More hyperventilating. I lasted another two minutes…maybe, before I gingerly exited myself from the ice.
By this stage I was shivering uncontrollably and I was numb all over. Tried to dry myself with a towel, which is challenging when your movement are suddenly all leaden and spastic.
There are supposed to be all these benefits to cold (water) exposure. I’m not going to list them. I’ve recently become interested in my health, nutrition and leading a more ancestral lifestyle. So I’ve been devouring books like Unconventional Medicine by Chris Kresser and his other Paleo book (whose name I forget now). I’ve also been reading some Proffessor Tim Noakes, which has been harder for me, because on some level we just don’t click. I’m not sure why that is, I guess my lego is different from his lego. That’s not to say he doesn’t have some really good ideas. But I have to get over my personal biases first.
Our bodies are constantly preparing for a winter that never comes. I’m paraphrasing. And I can’t remember which author theorized this. But it made sense to me. I am never cold. I am sometimes mildly inconvenienced by the weather. But our modern lifestyle means we never have to endure cold anymore. If I’m cold I turn up the AC or put on my Northface jacket. Besides I live in a very temperate climate, the days where I actually have to layer up number less than two dozen in a year. Food is always available and I never give my body a reason to burn fat.
The theory that sometimes we need to be cold somehow makes sense to me. Although its also possible that I have lost my tenuous grip on reality and am now in complete mental free-fall. However in defense of masochism at least I am trying something new.