Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with the idea of things like the Polar Bear Club and Polar Plunges. I could just never wrap my head around the videos of large groups of people in bathing suits, their breath condensing in the cold of winter, jumping into frozen lakes for “fun.”
These must just be a rare breed of folks who were in some way better equipped for this sort of thing than the general population. I mean, come on, I could barely walk from my car into work in November without a profound chill taking over my body.
Two things changed my relationship to the idea of cold.
- The Four Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide To Rapid Fast Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Tim Ferriss: This book introduced me to the idea of using cold showers and baths to stimulate Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT), or brown fat, for use in burning off some extra pounds.
- “The Iceman” Wim Hof, who has pioneered a the Wim Hof Method, a way to use cold exposure, breathing and stretching for overall wellness and well-being. A book that will be hitting my reading list very soon is What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength by Scott Carney, which details a sceptical investigative journalist’s adventures studying with Wim while, in part, trying to prove whether or not The Iceman is a charlatan.
Tim’s book was enough to get me to test the cold waters occasionally to aid in fat loss. I also used the information to inform my purchase and daily use of an ice vest, which I use for an hour each night to burn fat.
But it was Wim – watching him calmly slip himself into frozen streams and lakes, listening to him describe the science behind what this does to our physiology, and therefore how to use it in our daily wellness practice – that got me to fully immerse myself in the cold.
My taking long showers without even a hint of warm water – for reasons I detailed in this post – is thanks to the information I received from Wim. He also completely changed how I feel about those videos of people jumping into frozen lakes.
No longer does this seem like some undoable act participated in by a rare and special breed. I know, for sure, that I can participate, and have fun doing it. I just had to find an event.
As it turns out, if you’re actually serious about doing a Polar Plunge (I guess I hadn’t been in the past when I “looked” for one to do) they’re very easy to find. And as an added bonus, I learned that they’re charitable events benefiting Special Olympics, a worthy cause if ever there was one.
So I’m signed up, and I’ve roped some friends into it with me. We’ll be “Freezin’ for a Reason.” I’m still a little nervous, but so excited, and already pretty sure this is going to become an annual thing.
Check back in a couple of weeks for a follow-up of the event!