Wim Hof is a Dutch extreme athlete and is in my opinion one of the most interesting men on the planet.
Known by many as the Ice Man from Amsterdam who does crazy stunts in the cold, Wim Hof has broken 26 world records, climbed Mount Everest in nothing but shorts and has run a full marathon in the desert without drinking a sip of water.
His main aim is to awaken a deeper part of the brain which was previously thought to be impossible to activate willingly, which allows you to work at a higher capacity, strengthen your immune system and so much more.
He’s already proven in a lab study that he was able to train 12 ordinary people to fight off an endotoxin where the previous 16,000 test subjects couldn’t – which left the scientific world baffled.
But how does he do it, I hear you ask?
He claims his success is down to his simple method which is made up of…
1) Deep breathing
2) Cold exposure
He is now on a mission to prove the human race is stronger than we believe and that by using his method everyone has the ability to be happy, strong and healthy.
I first become aware of Wim Hof on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast which made me watch some videos about him on YouTube and safe to say I was fully invested in his mission.
I read his book – The Wim Hof Method – which came out last year and after reading of the health benefits, both physically and mentally, I was all for it.
After finishing the final page four weeks ago I downloaded the app and started following the aforementioned method and the results and benefits are like nothing I have ever experienced before.
Deep Breathing and Cold Showers
When it comes to following the method, in particular the breathing exercises, it is important to read the book or download the app to ensure they are done safely and correctly. Ever since I finished the book I have been following the guided breathing technique through the app and I believe that is the only way to not only do it safely, but also to the best of our ability by focusing on the breathing and the breathing alone.
By following the method carefully, correctly and in a controlled manner we are supposed to oxygenate the blood and body by mixing deep breathing with periods of holding our breath. Within ten days the breathing exercise alone is meant to provide more energy, reduce inflammation and provide a higher sense of wellbeing.
I’ve been meditating first thing in the morning for a few years now but I have never experienced a feeling quite like this. At first it felt weird, very weird.
After doing forty deep breaths my entire body was tingling and I felt lightheaded, I was thinking this can’t be good. Instinctively I would normally quit in this situation but I kept going for three rounds, with my longest breath retention being 2:05 with an average of 1:30, not bad for my first try.
I do this first thing in the morning and immediately hop in a cold shower.
In all my life I have only ever ‘enjoyed’ one cold shower before starting the Wim Hof method, and that was in Rio de Janeiro when it was 43 degrees outside.
The book and app advise having a traditional warm shower before switching over to cold for the final 30 seconds. After seven days increase to one minute, then one minute thirty and finally two minutes which is exactly what I did.
My god, day one was horrendous, absolutely horrendous but I very quickly felt amazing afterwards.
By day three my skin was used to the feeling of a thirty second cold shower and that was the case until I doubled the time to a minute after day seven where the process was similar, tough for the first few days before my body got used to it.
The first day of the one minute thirty was the worst by far. It was the only cold shower where I had to resist all temptation to turn it off. After that I decided to gradually lower the temperature during the warm shower so the leap from warm to cold wasn’t so drastic and that turned out to be a game changer.
When I reached the two minute cold shower I was fed up of having to leave the shower to set a timer so I decided to jump straight in the cold and to my surprise it wasn’t bad at all, it still felt a tad uncomfortable on my head and hair but overall my body was used to it.
Over a week later and I’m still jumping straight in a cold shower with my longest so far being 4:20.
I’m sure many of you have read the previous section and thought ‘f*ck that’ and to be fair there were times where I was sceptical if it was working. However, as Wim Hof says in the book, if we remain committed and follow the deep breathing and cold showers every day we will see results in just ten days.
Before I go into the details of the results I need to add a little bit of context. I’m currently training for the London Marathon but I’ve had a love/hate relationship with running for years. As part of my training for the London to Paris cycle in 2016 I did a couple of 10k running events to boost my cardiovascular system and in one of them I set a PB of 50:11.
My fitness levels were definitely the best they’ve ever been in 2016 which irritatingly meant I couldn’t break that 10k PB no matter how hard I tried, with my closest attempt being just one second off in 2017 around the San Francisco bay area, a time where my fitness levels were also very high.
When I started the Wim Hof method a month ago my 10k times were lingering around the 52 minute mark and I didn’t expect to get close to breaking my PB.
However, I beat it not once, not twice, but three times! Two of the times were sub 50 minutes with my new PB an improvement of over two minutes at 48:00 and the thing is, I had more energy in the tank on all of those runs, meaning I could have set an even better time.
I’m definitely going to keep following the Wim Hof method. I am a massive creature of habit and the breathing exercises as well as cold showers first thing in the morning are ingrained in my daily routine.
I am both intrigued and excited to see the continued difference it has on my life. I’m not saying I’m going to start swimming beneath the surface of a frozen lake or climb Mount Everest, let alone barefoot and in shorts. But the method will go a long way towards fulfilling my aspirations of half-iron mans and iron mans beyond the London Marathon in October.
My mental health during the pandemic has definitely taken a positive turn since I started following the method 30 days ago. While beating my 10k personal best three times in the same time frame after struggling to get close to it for almost five years is just insane.
There are so many contributing factors that will determine my success in the marathon such as diet and overall fitness levels. However, I am more than certain that following this simple breathing technique mixed with cold exposure and commitment to the cause will only benefit me with not just the London Marathon, but my overall sense of wellbeing.
I highly recommend reading the book which you can order here – The Wim Hof Method
Disclaimer: Make sure you read the book and download the app before giving any of this a go for yourself. It is important to make sure you are doing it safely and correctly. Failure to do so could result in passing out.
2021 London Marathon
I’m running the 2021 London Marathon for Mind!
If you wish to donate or keep up to date with how my training and fundraising is going you can do so by following the links below.
Fundraising Page: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JordanCamp
My new Instagram page dedicated to my London Marathon journey: @26.2MilesForMind
Mind Website: https://www.mind.org.uk