First off, I’d like to recap my month of Paleo and Crossfit. It was an interesting 30 days and of which I managed to shed 5lbs of Mass March and bring my bodyfat from 15% to 13.5%.
I have a mixed review of the Paleo diet and wasn’t completely true to it (it’s quite hard to maintain such a diet when on the go, at work, etc.—but I tried to keep it relatively strict). Without any rice, grains, cereals, breads, etc. I found it very difficult to fill myself up and have energy. Eating a meal of only meat and veggies caused my body to think I was starving it, leaving me very unsatisfied. I’m a fairly active individual, so carbs have always helped me meet my desired caloric intake and provided energy throughout the day. Sorry cavemen, but pizza and pasta are just too good to say no to.
Crossfit definitely kicked my ass. After the first session, you realize that working out at your school gym or rec centre isn’t even comparable. As far working out and fitness go, Crossfit is king, no doubt about that. You will do more in a half hour session then 5 hours at a rec-centre. My favourite part was the Olympic lifts, engaging the whole body in one motion. What I personally didn’t like was how you do a different workout every day (although some people love this, so it’s all a matter of personal opinion). I like setting a routine, working to get better at it, then changing it every month or so—it keeps me consistent and forces me to be disciplined. I also enjoy the social aspect of working out, and as one critic wrote about Crossfit “I play real sports, I don’t need to be the best at working out,” which does hold a grain of truth in my books. That being said, it is awesome, but a little overwhelming. I’ll definitely be back at it, but may take a month off to enjoy some good old-rec centre workouts with friends, followed by a hot tub and steam…
So what is the lifestyle change that will help elevate your heroic status this summer?
Enter: The ICE Age
I first read about the benefits of ice and cold therapy in Tim Ferriss’ book The 4 Hour Body. I started taking the occasional cold shower and began to grow a liking for them. I began further researching cold therapy and discovered several studies, which compiled numerous health benefits. For generations ice water has been a staple for heroes; from the athletes in professional sports to samurai warriors themselves. Needless to say, I haven’t taken a hot shower since and have an ice bath 2-3 times a week (sorry testicles).
7 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE TAKING COLD SHOWERS
1) It wakes you up and makes you feel like a hero.
If you don’t believe it, try it.
2) It improves circulation.
Warm water makes blood rush to your skin, cold water makes blood rush to your organs. It is best to switch back and forth a few times in your shower (I switch to hot just before soaping up), but make sure to end in cold. Ice cold.
3) Speeds up recovery and reduces muscle pain after intense physical activity.
It is a widely accepted practice for professional athletes to hop in an ice bath after a game or workout. The principle effect is that the ice repairs and strengthens muscles through muscle hypertrophy. The coldness also restricts blood vessels and flushes waste such as lactic acid out of the affected tissues.
4) Healthier skin and hair
Cold water closes your pores, preventing them from being easily clogged by dirt and oil (the cause of the dreaded bacne). In a similar fashion, cold water closes the cuticle on your hair, making it stronger, while also looking healthier and shinier.
5) Burns fat
Cold stimulates your “fat-burning” fat, also known as brown adipose tissue (BAT). In cold environments, your BAT will begin to burn other fat and glucose as heat, saving you hours on the treadmill.
6) Increased immunity
Acute cold exposure increases levels of circulating norepinephrine. In English? A cold shower a day, keeps the doctor away.
7) Mental clarity and purification
The ancient samurai warriors would shower themselves in the glacial river water every morning in a practice they called Misogi. It was a purification ritual which they believed to cleanse, energize their spirit. Even today, cold showers are used as a treatment for a depression.
So, there you have it; get fit, healthy, and sexy all at the same time. Summer is the perfect time to try out cold showers in your daily ritual. Start out by simply ending your showers with cold water, until your ready for the full 5-10 minute treatment with only brief stints of hot—and ice baths are simply a must for the athlete or fitness enthusiast.
Happy. Healthy. Heroic.