By Adrian Mclean
I was intrigued by the subtitle of Wim Hof’s book ‘Activate Your Potential, Transcend Your Limits’ and also by a man who is comfortable sitting in ice cold temperatures in his pants! I don’t do well in the cold so I was open to ‘transcending’ my own limits in this area, as a personal challenge.
The book is broken down into 13 chapters and Wim explains his methods using a combination of his own experience and science, with a bit of autobiography weaved in. His claim is that the Method gives you all that you require to ‘activate your potential’ through the ‘why’ the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ in simple steps that he calls his Three Pillars of Daily Practice.
These include a breathing ritual, mindset challenge and exposure to the cold (via a cold shower). You are encouraged to participate in the challenge first thing, so I replaced my usual morning meditation routine with the Three Pillars. I must admit I was sceptical. However, I embraced the challenge and downloaded the free app to support my commitment.
On day one, after completing the fourth round of breathing exercises, I was able to control my breath for 1 min 43 seconds which I was amazed at. This has since increased to 2 mins 12 seconds. The mindset challenge wasn’t much different to my usual practice of speaking words of affirmation to myself and listening and feeling how they resonated within my mind and body.
Last up was the cold shower. You have your regular hot shower first but finish with a spell in the cold, starting at 10 seconds and working your way up towards two minutes as you become more comfortable.
On my first attempt I thought, Hell Naw, 10 seconds is plenty! but by day five I was up to 35 seconds. I can now comfortably stay under the cold water for a full minute.
So what difference has it made? The breathing exercise is designed to make your body more alkaline, and once I complete it, coupled with the positive affirmations, I certainly feel lighter, more at peace and ready to take on my day. I find the cold showers really energising and they leave me feeling raring to go. I did not expect this when I started the book a few weeks ago.
If you want to break out of a stale routine, have fallen into a rut, or you simply want to start a daily routine that helps you feel perky, this is one to try. But please don’t just jump into a freezing shower tomorrow! Read the book first to understand why you are doing the activities, how to do them safely and what biological and chemical affects it has on you. In addition, the Wim Hof Method app is free and allows you to track your numbers (if that floats your boat).
For years I have followed Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning routine (which has been great for me), however I’ve gained so much from doing Wim’s methods that my morning routine is now a hybrid of the two. If you decide to try the method, I hope you enjoy the experiment. Please let me know how you find it.