So I’m back into the full swing of WHM, and have been pushing myself pretty hard with the cold exposure. And keeping a diary of the cold sessions. Keep in mind that I documented a few weeks of WHM training about a year ago, so I am not a newbie to this stuff. I did have to “relearn” some stuff, but overall started out way ahead. Here’s a summary of these first 12 days getting back into WHM.
Don’t expect this kind of progression if you are just starting out with WHM. See my link above for the history of the first time I went through 4 weeks of WHM training.
The B/A notation indicates that I did a cold shower for B minutes before the hot shower, then switched to normal hot shower for indeterminate amount of time, then finished with another cold shower for A minutes afterwards.
Day 1: 1 min / 1 min
Day 2: 1:30 / 1:30
Day 3: 2:00 / 2:00
Day 4: 2:00 / 3:30
Day 5: 4:00 / 4:00
I suffered a lot these first few days, but it was getting easier every day. Even at day 5, the initial shock of the 48 deg F water water was brutal. But my body adapted quicker and quicker. I dreaded the initial shock, but did breathing and visualization exercises to prepare myself. By day five, the pain/shock was only 5-10 seconds each time the cold water hit my back.
For the next three days, I filled the bathtub with water as cold as I could get it. That was only about 50 deg F the first day and probably closer to 60 degrees each of the following days (kept the water from the first day, which stays cool for quite a few days–my feet still go numb while standing and breathing before submerging on the third day). I used this to replace the pre-hot-shower cold exposure, and still did a fully-cold shower afterwards:
Day 6: 5 min bath (50 F) / 3 min cold shower
Day 7: 10 min bath (60 F) / 4 min cold shower
Day 8: 10 min bath (60 F) / 5 min cold shower
On days 7 & 8, I finally hit the magical threshold: the icy shower water stopped hurting. On both days, turning the water from hot to cold came with very little shock, and while I felt cold and uncomfortable it wasn’t enough to prevent me from normal shower activities. I washed my hair and shaved in the icy water on day 8.
Day 9: – / – (break)
Day 10: 2:00 / 6:00
Day 11: 10:00 –
Day 12: 10:00 –
Day 11 and 12 I skipped the hot shower entirely and just did one long cold session. I had been reading about cold showers in general (nothing to do with WHM), and read multiple comments by people claiming they’d replaced all showers with cold, and that they had not even taken a warm/hot shower in months. This intrigued me because I always thought of cold showers as a WHM thing, and never really acknowledged/realized that you can acclimate to icy showers without it. I also never considered giving up hot showers altogether and wanted to try it out.
Unsurprisingly, I felt great both days. I didn’t really miss the hot shower. However, both days I measured my temperature before and after the 10-minute cold shower.
Day 11: 97.8 F before / 95.9 F after (1.9 F drop)
Day 12: 97.1 F before / 95.8 F after (1.3 F drop)
Apparently I’m at the same place I was before I stopped WHM last year: I’ve desensitized myself to the cold, but I haven’t actually started producing any heat to compensate for its impact on my body. Admittedly, I don’t feel like I’m doing anything special when in the cold water. I’m experimenting with breathing (responsibly), but overall not really feeling anything special other than simple improvement in stress response and ability to relax. (Note: I finally found that this is normal and in weeks 6-7 of his online course he starts combining the breathing with the cold exposure).