Slowly here is the end of this winter, this February is already more reminiscent of spring. I continuously collected experiences about my new hobby in the field of cold tolerance, cold adaptation. The scientific theory of cold completely convinced me that this can work and by experience I can only confirm this. I wrote about the theoretical background in my book (Beyond paleo –currently only in Hungarian language), and from who I learned it all: Jack Kruse and Wim Hof. I didn’ wear my coat this wintertime too. Usually I wear long pants and T-shirt when I am on the street. Hats, scarves, gloves are not neccessary. I did’t feel cold even didn’t get any cold or flu. To be honest I was not completely immune to cold, but much, much better than the avarage. Let’s look at some more extreme experiences!
I tasted the ice-water outdoor swimming this year again, I was in there comfortably for 3-4 minutes, my „Achilles heels” were the fingers and toes, my body would withstand cold, but my limbs began to be uncomfortably cool. I always say that you should practice with cold mindfully, listen to your body, do not overstretch the chord! The main point is the cooling of the skin without excessive cooling of the core temperature. For this reason, sometimes I pulled neoprene boots, gloves, so I could whitstand minutes further. If you manage to find the optimal length of time, it is a real euphoric feeling experienced (dopamine, endorphin release), your body heat is back almost without shivering, without discomfort. If I would try a record attempt, I could stay maybe 8-10 minutes fully immersed in the icy water, but after that you should take me off with hypothermic state and it would take a while to heat back myself with vigorous shivering.
I tried many times the Wim Hof ’s breathing technique and found to be positive, I can spend more time comfortable in the cold. The only reason I dont use it regularly because its time consuming.
I had the pleasure to attend 10 sessions in the Fitness&More ice sauna, where you can bath in -130-140 ° C air for a few minutes in shorts. I enjoyed every opportunity, I felt the same refreshing feeling as with other techniques. Who wants to try the cold effect in safe conditions, I can only recommend it!
Barefoot in the snow and frostbite
I also managed to experience my hidden skills and limits in this field. During the winter, I performed barefoot the outdoor running and other trainings, often on snowy terrain. The first few minutes were generally always unpleasant, but after it felt fully comfortably for up to 1 hour !! In fact, one weekend I did a MovNat training combined with hiking, along with bare feet, long pants and a T-shirt for 5.5-6 hours! My sole was not felt cold at all, it functioned well. The upper body felt cold about after 4 hours, so I picked up the glove and polar sweater. Here, unfortunately, I managed to overdo things, I got a nice frostbite. Now I know what a underhand bitch it is, because it didn’t hurted me during the hiking, I felt numb after a few hours, the next morning it was seriously blistered. But it is interesting that it appeared just on the left toes and on the right leg, I got only one small blister! How can that be ??? And I swear I did not jumping on one leg for 6 hours! 🙂 The healing took weeks, but completely back to normal since then. So be careful on the snowy barefooting! The one-hour runs went smoothly, my turning point should be somewhere around 4 hours. I’m glad that I didn’ get more trouble, thus I collected more experience about the limits of my body.
Skiing in T-shirt
It also has a check mark, I was sliding for 2-3 hours in T-shirt of the weather around 0 degrees and the whistling wind on the elevator was also well tolerated. The glove was requested because the fingers cool more quickly with the high surface / volume ratio.
Sleeping in the cold in the Mátra hill
With two coach colleague with similar mindset we spent a night at the tower by one of the highest point of Hungary in late January. There is no heating, you got a cell in the tower to sleep and try to survive! Worth it for the sake of adventure, but it was a pretty bad sleep, I woke up many times, twisting all night. I do not know if this is due to the intense winds, the 0-3°C cold or the nearby well-equipped cellphone towers with harmful electromagnetic radiation. In any case, we survived it, I felt a bit cold despite of getting dressed and sleeping in bags. At home I could sleep with the window open all winter long…
Canoeing in February
I started paddleing again from 1st of February! There is every day one or two rowing in the program, for one-one&half (sometimes 2 hours) period. Early in the morning the temperature was around 0-5°C, I could paddle without problem in a short, shirtless, often barefoot (sometimes I put on shoes)! It’s amazing that this works! Even after I used to jump for a few minutes into the water.
In summary, I can still only confirm that it works. Each person’s „factory feature” is that you can adapt to the cold, but we do not use it, because you never let your skin meet the real winters, so they can not start the adaptation process. You can stay comfortable for very long time in the cold, imagine Wim Hof’s record when he spent nearly 2 hours int he ice bucket. He is also just a human, you can get there with a lot of practice. The cold has many positive physiological effects, you should know about it and it can be inserted into everyday life.
Check out my VLOG about How to make friendship with the cold! (Hungarian with English subtitles)
Learn more about cold and other lifestyle hacks in my SunnyFitness books!