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MB #049 How To Make Cold Plunging Easy

mission briefing Feb 19, 2024

Read Time: ~3 Minutes

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Hey friend,

So, we're diving into the world of cold plunging today. Yes, that thing where you willingly dunk yourself into freezing water. Sounds like a special kind of torture? I thought so too, but hear me out.

The deal with cold plunging isn't just about proving you can do something wild. It's about the legit benefits: waking up faster than any coffee can manage, getting a mental clarity boost that cuts through fog like a hot knife through butter, and an immune system that's ready to fight off the office bug going around.

But here's the kicker: Most folks never get past the "You want me to do what?!" stage.

Because let's face it, it sounds kind of miserable. Other reasons people don't make it include:

  • Not really getting why it's worth it
  • Worrying you'll turn into a human popsicle
  • Trying to fit it into a morning routine that's already packed
  • Thinking you need some fancy setup

But don't worry, I've got your back. We're going to break it down so you can actually give this a shot without freezing up (pun intended).

Step 1: Start With Cold Showers

Jumping into an ice bath right away is like trying to run a marathon without training. Let's not. Start with cold showers. Turn the dial down for the last 30 seconds of your shower. It's all about baby steps.

Why bother? It's the gateway to getting used to the cold without overwhelming yourself. Plus, it's a rush that'll make your morning coffee jealous.

Research shows that people who end their shower with 30 seconds to 3 minutes of cold will on average take 30% fewer sick days per year.

Step 2: Breathing Matters

Ever notice how you automatically hold your breath when you step into cold water? That's what we want to avoid. Breathing right is half the battle.

Before you turn the water cold, take a few deep breaths. Think of it like bracing yourself to tell your boss you're not working this weekend. It's about getting in the right headspace. Then during the cold Inhale deeply through your nose, focusing on expanding your belly rather than your chest, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Force yourself to keep this approach/rhythm as it’ll help you adjust to the cold more quickly in the moment.

Step 3: Build Up Gradually

No one's asking you to be an ice cube on day one. Start with those 30-second cold showers and work your way up. It's not a race; it's more like leveling up in a game where the prize is feeling like a superhero.

This approach isn't just about surviving the cold; it's about finding a new way to kickstart your body and your day, and maybe even enjoying it. Who knows?

Step 4: When matters

Research shows that cold can blunt the hypertrophic (muscle-building) effects of exercise. Either choose to plunge well before your workout to give you time to warm back up before it. Or you can wait until at least 4 hours have passed since finishing your workout before jumping in. 

Diving Deeper: The Science and Setup

Curious about why cold plunging works wonders? It's all about the body's response to cold stress. Cold exposure activates these amazing little things called cold shock proteins. They promote wound healing, reduce inflammation, protect muscle mass, improve immune function, regulate glucose metabolism, and are shown to regulate a receptor that plays a critical role in controlling the amount of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the blood.

Getting yourself in cold water dramatically increases blood circulation, reduces inflammation, and releases endorphins, leading to that euphoric 'high' post-plunge.

Practical Plunge Tips:

Getting into cold plunging doesn't mean you need an ice lake on your doorstep or spend $5,000 getting the cold plunge tub for your deck (although you can!). Here's my simple setup that I use every day to get you started:

  • Buy a 100-gallon Rubbermaid stock tank - It's affordable, durable, and just the right size for plunging.
  • Use frozen water bottles to cool the water - This is a great trick for summer. Just freeze bottles of water and toss them in to chill the bath. Afterward, you can refreeze them for next time.
  • In winter, let nature do the work - If you're in a colder climate, simply leave the tank outside. Mother Nature will keep the temperature plunge-ready for you. This is what i do and my tub stays between 42 and 45 degrees. Burrrr.

So, there you have it. Cold plunging in a nutshell: shocking, a bit nuts, but surprisingly doable and very good for you.

Keep Forging Strength & Refining Soul,

Chris