Cold Showers, Discipline and Some Other Really Awesome Stuff

Ever come up with a brilliant idea, and tell people about it, only to have them tell you you’re crazy and that you can’t do it?

Ever think about taking on a challenge that you think is insane, and have no idea how, or even if you could do it…but do it anyway..and then tell everyone you know about it so you can’t back out?

Ever have second thoughts?

Well. That has been my year.

March 30th of last year, (2012), Joel Runyon wrote a post called Cold Shower Therapy, over at the Blog of Impossible Things. I have been an avid BIT reader for quite some time, so of course I was going to read this particular post. I didn’t expect to start to feel nauseous as I read it..but I did. You see, about a month before I read this post, I had made some huge choices about looking after my health, and committing to some pretty bada** things. Things like taking out, wheat, and sugar, and dairy, and grains and all things processed out of my diet. Up to that point, I had been nursing a double quad injury that had me spend a lot of time on the couch since I wasn’t able to walk without being in a lot of pain. It wasn’t my best time. I was a mess. And then a friend talked to me about doing a nutrition program that would make a difference.

So I signed up for it. 8 days into the program, the inflammation in my legs, after 10 months of frustration, doctor’s massage therapists, physiotherapist etc., went away. I was suddenly able to walk again. When I realized I could get down my front steps without much trouble one morning, I did a little jig right there in my front yard.

Then came Joel’s post. Oh boy. It seemed like a really bad idea. Cold showers? What? Why? Joel said that people would think you were crazy. Hell, I thought HE was crazy. (Sometimes I still do). But something about the post got my heart beating faster…So. I said a big “Hell Yes!” I shared the post on FB and told everyone I know that I’d be starting it up on April 1st.

I woke up in the morning the next day knowing I was going to be having a cold shower. I cleaned my house. I prepped my food for the week. I did laundry..everything to avoid the shower. And then…I just did it. Set my timer, and cranked that sucker to cold. Holy sh*t was it cold. I couldn’t catch my breath. It felt like the hardest thing I had ever done. But. When the timer went off…I could say I’d done it! It took almost an hour to come off the adrenaline rush. I felt pretty bada**. Look at me, having a cold shower.

And it was only Day 1.

Joel’s challenge was 30 days. How on earth was I going to survive that?

Well, not only did I survive it, but I also started to notice the difference it was making. I was dropping more weight than I had been up to that point. My skin was looking delicious! My hair was shinier, I had more energy in the morning. I couldn’t stop talking about it! I was telling anyone and everyone that would listen, that I was taking these cold showers, and everyone said the same thing…”You’re crazy!”. I shared about it with friends training for Tough Mudder and other races, and they tried it. But they kept telling me they thought I was crazy. I did eventually get other people doing it. Some made it through the full 30 days, others a week, or less…but they tried it. And they all just kept saying the same thing…”I don’t know how you do it, you’re crazy.” I have to tell you, I was pretty damn proud to be that crazy, when I could see the visible results of taking the showers.

I was constantly emailing Joel to tell him all the awesomeness that was coming out of me takingthese showers. I was writing posts about the insanity too.

A Little Bit Crazy For Cold Shower Therapy

Cold Shower Therapy = Insanity?

I was a believer. At some point, I committed to doing a year of the cold showers. It was still summer. Summer was easy. Even heading into Fall I could handle it. But boy oh boy..come winter..the worst. The. Worst. I don’t care what anyone tells you, the water is damn cold in the winter. But. I did it. And I kept doing it. I even cold showered through several fevers. It helped. I swear. It helped bring the fevers down. I was committed. I couldn’t miss a day because I would know. And even on the days when I knew I could get away with not having one..I couldn’t. It felt like I’d be doing myself a disservice if I skipped a day. I had shared with everyone I knew…and then some. How on earth could I let them down by not having one? Even though they’d all understand. I couldn’t do it. So. I kept having them. Even when it felt like a really bad idea.

The beautiful thing about cold shower therapy, which Joel writes about but you never really think will actually happen, is that it taught me discipline. I learned to do things I didn’t want to do, or feel like doing, simply because I was taking 5 minute cold showers every day. If I could do that, I could do other things I may not want to do, but would end up loving, or at least not hating. (Like Spin…I never thought I’d be able to do a spin class…but I did. And I ended up signing up for classes.)

This past year has been a huge year for me in regards to my health. I have lost -70lbs since March 1, 2012. I’m -40+inches smaller than I was when I started. I look FANTASTIC (if I do say so myself)…and I’m not saying that cold shower therapy was how/why it all happened. I know I look 10 years younger than I did this time last year…that could be because I pretty much gave up all the things that are bad for me…primarily processed foods. (I’m a vegetarian who loved convenience foods. And now I’m a vegetarian who eats a lot of vegetables.) I’m not saying that Cold Shower Therapy had anything to do with the success I achieved this year…

But how do I know for sure that it didn’t?

Day 367 was today…and it doesn’t even phase me anymore.

The question isn’t “Why on earth would I want to have a cold shower at 6am every morning?”

The question you might want to ask is “Why on earth wouldn’t you want to have a 5 minute cold shower every morning?”

it could be the very thing you’re waiting for…

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15 thoughts on “Cold Showers, Discipline and Some Other Really Awesome Stuff”

    1. Wow. Thank you Jill. I’ve had a tough time of late wrapping my head around the fact that perhaps people are or will be inspired by what I’m doing…and then I get messages like this one and I give my head a shake. Thank you for reading.

  1. Wow! I don’t know how I ended up here, but I’m really impressed by this, and your results are great… Congrats! I also did not regret the cold shower experiment, but definitely didn’t make it a year. Maybe I will pick it up again.

    1. Don’t you love surprises like that Ryan? Thanks for coming by, even tho you don’t know how you got here. I’d imagine you followed a link from Joel’s blog and landed here. But regardless, thank you! It’s been quite a journey AND I highly recommend cold showers…pick it up again. Do it. You know you can!

  2. Hi,
    Thank you very much for you post.
    I will try the cold shower just for the discipline part.
    I never had discipline in my life .
    I come from a wealthy family and I always recieved everything without any effort which was a big diservice in later years.
    I am 40 years old and rarely finished anything meaningful .
    My lack of discipline makes it almost impossible to stick to something I started…from business to personal activities.. For example: starting a website, starting to learn guitar, starting a trading course etc.. I am the best at starting something….but finishing or continuing something is another story.

    I will try to stick with the cold shower for 30 days and see
    if it strengthens my discipline
    thank you for your post

    sincerely
    kevin

  3. I just started taking CS. But I start hot then sit down under the spray(on a stool) and slowly drop the temperature till I am shivering. Awesome so far. Wakes you up like nothing else. Just gobloads of energy after.

  4. Hey guys, how many minutes should we be under cold water? I tried it today for 7 minutes couldn’t stay longer but I felt so good after. So we should do it ever day?

    1. I’m sorry to have missed this comment. I do 5 minutes or longer, depending on the time of year. And the principle is 5 minutes a day. Minimum. And every day yes. I’ve taken a cold shower every single day for the past 4+ years and I can’t live without them.

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