“The lion wants to be there, the antelope does not”
Crossfit games champions, philosophers and the best entrepreneurs in the world have a couple of things in common - mental resilience and extreme temperatures are two of them.
Almost everyone reading this wouldn’t consider taking a cold shower, let alone an ice bath
Whenever we do ice-baths, we always start hyperventilating in the beginning. It is essentially you going into a sympathetic response (fight or flight) - What you want is to control your breathing rate and relax as much as possible while nose breathing… thats where the magic happens:
💥Increased metabolic rate- Your body starts burning brown fat as a form of heat generation… fat loss
💥Strength- Increases testosterone up to 490%
💥Lowers inflammation - Inhibits inflammatory cytokines
💥Depression- Increases dopamine up to 530%
💥Sleep- Resets circadian rhythm and sleep quality improves dramatically
The number one benefit is the mental aspect. You can’t buy the mental edge that doing ice-baths or cold showers on a weekly basis gives you - It is an uncanny ability that few humans have.. thats probably why they are crushing their sports, their business and life in general.
This is a small compiled list of the benefits of hyperthermic conditioning (sauna). Imagine how much better you would be if you could only have 1 benefit of the following…Can you perceive how much better you would be if you were able to have all these benefits:
💥 Increased plasma volume and blood flow - Lower resting heart rates
💥 Reduced core temperature during workouts - It will get very hot in a couple of weeks… overheating is a thing, specially in Florida
💥 Delay glucose (your fuel!!!) depletion by 50%
💥 Delay time to exhaustion by 32%
💥 Reduced insulin sensitivity
💥 Increased lactate threshold aka, hold higher paces in all your workouts
💥 5x growth hormone…Ever heard of IGF-1?
💥 Increased focus and faster brain function
💥 Injury - Muscle fibers regrowth by 30%
You would be an exponentially better human if you had access to all of those things - It’s almost cheating
How to saunas
Dry saunas are the gold standard in my opinion. Most of the research is done at 180+ degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure your sauna is set at that number, at least.
Every piece I’ve read so far has different test measurements. Some do some type of hyperthermic conditioning, some do a single set duration inside the sauna.
What Ive learned is to stay inside the sauna as long as possible and listen to my body. Once I can feel that Ive placed a strong stimulus in my body, I get out. Sometimes is 15 minutes, sometimes is 30 minutes , It really depends on my training volume, mood, sleep quality, etc, for that given day.
I dont have access to a sauna at my place, I use the local globo gym that does have one - What Ive found is that most globe gyms have less than optimal dry saunas (they suck!)…I just stand next to the heater, that seems to do the trick.
10 to 30 minute sauna sessions, 1 to 3 times a week, at 180 degrees is a good place to start.
How to cold showers
Pretty simple. Before going to bed. Get a cold shower in. Whatever “cold” means to you. Ideally, you want it as cold as possible. You will gain adaptation in time, and you will be able to stay longer and colder.
Cold showers are ideal before incorporating ice-baths on a weekly basis. I like to tell people to start incorporating cold showers on a daily basis, at least 4 weeks before starting ice-baths.
I bought a thermometer when I started, I started at 20 degrees celsius on my first week and went down a couple of degrees each week until I was ready to start fighting the ice!
Please go to our Instagram @iamfitten to see how to prep an ice bath and how to do it, we posted a 5 minute video on what to expect from the cold and how to handle it. Its in our IGtv.
Let us know how the cold and hot goes for you.
The material on this blog is for informational purposes only. As each individual situation is unique, you should use proper discretion, in consultation with a health care practitioner, before undertaking the protocols, diet, exercises, techniques, training methods, or otherwise described herein. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained herein.
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Podstawski, Robert et al. “Sauna-induced body mass loss in young sedentary women and men” TheScientificWorldJournal vol. 2014 (2014): 307421.
van der Wall, E E. “Sauna bathing: a warm heart proves beneficial” Netherlands heart journal : monthly journal of the Netherlands Society of Cardiology and the Netherlands Heart Foundation vol. 23,5 (2015): 247-8.
Kox M, van Eijk LT, Zwaag J, et al. Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014;111(20):7379-84.
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