I take a cold shower every morning.
In truth, I take a regular hot shower for seven to ten minutes and then I turn the shower as cold as possible for three minutes.
I do this every single day.
Sometimes, when I’m having a bad day, I take two cold showers.
Not wanting to bury the lede here, my friends, cold showers suck.
You might be saying to yourself, “
Here is the dirty little secret about cold showers: they always suck.
Turning the water from steamy hot to cold as shit, sucks, every time.
I literally have to talk myself into turning the water to cold every damn day.
Every day, my mind screams, “WHAT THE [email protected]#$ ARE YOU THINKING, RYAN?!!!”
And honestly, most days I hesitate.
I stare at the temperature nozzle and question the decision I’m about to make.
Sensing weakness, my mind applies pressure, “You can miss one day? What is one day? No one will know. It’s just one day.”
I start to cave, “Of course no one will know. One day is no big deal. Everyone takes a day off now and then.”
“I will know.”
Because I am the only one that has to live with the shame of allowing my mind to win.
Then the rage comes.
“You chicken shit. Every day is day one. Be a man and take your medicine. The water is cold and that cold is the catalyst for a bum rush of endorphins and serotonin that will provide energy, strength, and mental focus for the rest of your day.”
And that is when I hit play on some gangster rap and crank the temperature dial to ICE [email protected]#$ING COLD.
There are tremendous health benefits to taking a three minute cold shower every day.
The health benefits aren’t the point.
The point, as David Goggins writes in his epic book, Can’t Hurt Me, is to “Callus my mind.”
My mind is weak. It seeks comfort and mediocrity. My mind, in all circumstances, prefers safety and comfort and easy.
Cold showers are a daily bitch slap for my mind.
WHY I TAKE COLD SHOWERS
There are two reasons I decided to start taking cold showers (more than a year ago now).
First, I work incredibly hard. I also am very committed to my family.
Those two things take energy, they take attention, they take mental focus. You want to be present in the moment when you’re doing the thing. And if you’re tired, if you’re achy, if you’re sore, if you’re foggy, you just, you can’t be present, you can’t be your best.
Whether it’s rolling around in the backyard playing with my kids or it’s at work banging out a blog post, speaking, working through a strategy problem, I can’t be at my best if my body and my mind aren’t in their peak state.
I’m always looking for things that can help me get an advantage.
Health is a competitive advantage.
Taking cold showers is one component of an overall belief system, an overall philosophy on reaching peak performance inside a lifestyle that I actually want to live.
Before I began taking cold showers, I wasn’t waking up with energy. I was waking up and it was taking me a while to get going. I didn’t like that.
In particular, my brain wasn’t going, not just my body.
Cold showers get your brain going (also act as decent hangover tactic).
Second, the neurochemicals released in response to your body temperature dropping rapidly help to reduce inflammation. As we discussed, I live a very anti-inflammatory life.
These same chemicals, (specifically endorphins, serotonin, and adrenaline) reduce toxins related to stress. Stress is a big part of my life, unfortunately, and I want to make sure that I reduce that stress as often and as much as I can. And if being cold for three minutes once a day is what it takes to help reduce that, I’m in.
WHERE I PICKED UP COLD SHOWERS
The guy that turned me on to cold showers was Aubrey Marcus, the founder of Onnit, author of the excellent peak performance book, Own the Day, Own Your Life. I highly recommend it.
There’s lots of cool kind of tips and tricks, little body hacks and mind hacks in there to help you get to peak performance. Some of the stuff I do, some of the stuff I don’t.
The cold showers has stuck.
The cold shower methodology that Aubrey Marcus advocates is a spinoff from the Wim Hof method.
Wim Hof holds the world record for being able to be submerged in ice for almost two hours without his core body temperature changing.
According to Wim Hof anyone can achieve similar results using his method: a combination of cold immersion, breathing techniques, and mental focus’
The breathing technique is very simple, 30 breaths, big, deep inhale, you let your body exhale the air. You do that 30 times. Then you hold your breath, you exhale it, and then you get into the shower.
Now what Audrey Marcus recommends is you can take a full cold shower. I think that is particularly bananas.
Although, Pat Macellaro, the president of Encompass (name drop), is always busting my chops because he’s been doing full cold showers for almost a year straight since I first started talking about them.
I still haven’t done one.
You’re still cooking in my kitchen, Pat.
Every day is day one.
Do you skip practice on day one?
Do you eat that candy bar on day one?
Do you not make cold calls on day one?
Do you not hit your pull-up goal on day one?
Then why the hell would you get to take today off?
But your mind, that sneaky son-of-a-bitch, who knows you better than you know yourself, is going to give every reason why you should.
The only thing you can do is fight back.
Beat the crap out of your mind as often as possible.
Cold showers are a good start.
P.S. If you aren’t subscribed to my YouTube channel, now is the time.