Get Colder, Feel Better
“If we always choose comfort, we never learn the deepest capabilities of our mind or our body.”
– Wim Hof
Where we are in life today can be traced back to a series of previous decisions.
Our environment and our experiences shape us, but we have the ability to design our lives.
Most people are aware of the significance of their conscience actions. People lose sight of the importance of their non-actions.
What we do not do is just as important as what we do.
The first step is to develop an awareness of how we spend our time and energy.
Then the key becomes placing self-imposed obstacles on our calendar:
By pushing boundaries, we redefine where our limits lie.
What is right is never easy.
This article shares the principles I use to continue progressing physically and in business.
The Energy Calendar
All of us have some days & meetings that leave us feeling drained and others where we are fully energized.
At first thought, these spikes/falls in energy appear random, but likely there is a pattern.
Recently I started tracking my mental energy expenditure in my calendar. By energy, I mean how I feel after a particular activity, meeting, or event.
Over the next two weeks, complete a daily after-action review.
Examine your energy levels after each activity in your calendar.
For activities that leave you excited, color them green.
For activities that leave you mentally drained, color them red.
For activities that leave you in the middle, color them yellow.
After two weeks, review the number/patterns of green, yellow, and red activities.
The initial goal is to make you aware of how you spend your energy. The next step is limiting actions that place you in the red and maximizing actions that place you in the green.
Change does not occur overnight. By becoming aware, you are able to take control of your actions and your energy.
The Obstacle is the Way
In his, The Obstacle is the Way, modern-day stoic Ryan Holiday says, “The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”
To me, this means that in discomfort, we have the ability to grow, to become a better version of ourselves. I’ve experienced this in sports and business.
During my Ironman years, interval training was the worst– I always dreaded these sessions because regardless of how I improved, they were going to hurt. But by forcing myself to get on the trainer at 5:00 am before work, I was able to bring my VO2 max into the seventies and qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona.
We have all put off having a difficult conversation with our boss, colleague, or partner. We sit there at our desks rehearsing what we are going to say and make the discussion in our minds seem bigger than it really is. When we finally work up the nerve to speak, the conversation is no big deal.
Like any skill, the ability to handle discomfort improves with practice, reps and sets. By leaning into obstacles, we are able to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Get Colder, Feel Better
I incorporated cold exposure into my daily routine years ago because it makes me feel better. I experience an immediate:
Increase in mental clarity
Lift in recovery
Boost in mental wellbeing
Decrease in stress
But until recently, I did not have proof to validate my feelings. I conducted a study with Ice Barrel and Blokes where we took vitals and blood work of 15 individuals pre and post a three-minute cold immersion at 37’F to understand the science behind cold exposure.
Here are the results:
Cortisol (stress hormone) – dropped by an average of 9.19% twenty minutes after the cold exposure
Norepinephrine (regulates cognitive function) – remained elevated by an average of 80.25% twenty minutes after colder exposure
Dopamine (regulates motivation/pleasure) – remained elevated by an average of 52% twenty minutes after cold exposure
Cold exposure is the ultimate equalizer, and it never gets easier. But by placing yourself in this uncomfortable situation, you can immediately increase your ability to perform at a high level.
I get cold every single day because it helps me to perform at a high level in sport and business. Typically I implement cold exposure into my evening recovery routine. My normal protocol is 3 rounds of 20 minutes in the SISU sauna at 200’F directly into 3 minutes in the Ice Barrel at 37’F.
Today the new Ice Barrel 300 unit becomes available for pre-order. The Ice Barrel 300 is a sleek, fully insulated cold therapy tool that is ethically made in the United States and is fully compatible with a chilling unit. Today Ice Barrel is offering Movement Memo subscribers a deal: 12.5% off your purchase of the new Ice Barrel 300 using code “EHINMAN”.
Metabolic Conditioning: complete for time
Calories on Rower
BB Hang Clean (95/65 lb.)