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30 Day Cold Water Challenge -11th December 2023

Embracing the ancient practice of cold immersion has gotten significant attention in recent times, particularly with the rise of "biohacking" and the exploration of evolutionary shortcuts within our physiology. Programs such as the Wim Hof Method and XPT have fueled this growing interest.

If you find yourself intrigued by the potential benefits of subjecting your body to extreme cold, you're not alone. Here I outline the range of advantages, including reduced body fat, elevated hormone levels, enhanced sexual performance and fertility, lowered blood sugar, diminished food cravings, improved adrenal function, resolution of thyroid issues, boosted immune function, better sleep quality, increased pain tolerance, reduced inflammation, and even the potential for epic social media photos (a personal favorite).

However, despite these enticing rewards, many individuals contemplating cold immersion often grapple with a myriad of questions.

Where, when, and how should one begin? How can fears of hypothermia, frostbite, and shock be quelled? What equipment is optimal, and how long should one stay submerged to reap all the benefits? This article aims to guide these queries.


Wim Hof, a prominent advocate of cold immersion, has gained fame for his daring feats, such as climbing snow-capped mountains in his underwear and delivering keynote speeches fully immersed in ice. However, it's essential to recognise that Wim's abilities were cultivated over decades of dedicated practice as a lifelong yogi. For most individuals, the journey into cold immersion begins with temperatures that induce discomfort yet still allow for consistent integration into a routine. The key is to find a balance where it's cold enough to elicit benefits but not so extreme that it hinders regular practice.


Before investing in specialised equipment or overthinking the process, it's advisable to embark on a 30-day cold shower challenge. This introductory phase helps familiarise you with the physiological responses to cold exposure and teaches you how to manage them.

Phase 1 Day 1-10: Start or end each day with 60 seconds of cold showering, with no days off. Techniques can vary, but two favorites include a straight 1-minute cold shower or a "Tabata" approach, involving 20 seconds of cold water followed by a 10-second break, repeated at least three times.

Phase 2 Day 11-20: Begin each day with a 2.5 to 3-minute cold shower, taking days 14 and 18 off. Employ the techniques from Phase 1 or experiment with variations, such as a longer "Tabata" session with intervals of 30 seconds full-cold followed by 30 seconds slightly warm.

Phase 3 Day 21-30: Start each day with a 5-minute cold shower, taking days 22 and 26 off. By this point, the practice should feel more manageable, forming a foundation for continued exploration of cold immersion's benefits.

The Breath is your magic button:

PREPARING YOUR MIND AND BODY Before immersing yourself, it's crucial to soothe your nervous system. Recognise that much of our perceived pain is a manifestation of held tension or fears, akin to the anticipation of pain at the dentist. As humans, we often let our thoughts dictate the severity of an experience, building tension or holding beliefs about ourselves that materialise into the expected outcomes. Prior to cold immersion, the goal is to activate the parasympathetic, "rest-and-digest" branch of the nervous system through deep, deliberate inhalations and exhalations. Additionally, humming can prove beneficial in stimulating the parasympathetic system and enhancing nitric oxide production, thereby rendering your cells more receptive to oxygen. Lastly, it's advisable to enter the cold while holding your breath out on an exhale—a breathing phase closely associated with a state of relaxed or suspended consciousness

Here are the breathing protocols I find most effective: Step 1: Dedicate 2-3 minutes to deep nostril breathing for focus reset. Inhale and exhale, ensuring each exhale is slightly longer than the inhale. Incorporate relaxation exercises during this step to release tension and fine-tune focus. Step 2: Engage in 2-3 rounds of 10-breath cycles, involving a nostril inhale followed by a prolonged exhale hum. On the 10th and final exhale of each round, hold your breath for as long as reasonable without risking unconsciousness. At this point, most individuals are primed for the cold. Optionally, you can integrate the following techniques to achieve an elevated state of tranquility and break through any mental barriers. Step 3: Execute 30 breath cycles of inhales and exhales, either lying on your back with knee-tucks to maximise full exhales or performing a wood-chopping motion with clenched fists, inhaling on the upward motion and exhaling on the downward motion.

Now go and try and let me know how you get on, If you would like to join a support group I am offering FREE places on a joint WhatsApp app group where you can share your experience, and have other members hold you accountable for the 30-day challenge, starting 11th December. Let's start the new year with a healthy habit already in place!

Start with this and send me an email or Instagram message when you are ready for the next phase!

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