A few years ago I heard about the benefits of cold showers. I recall thinking “that’s crazy talk!…who in their right mind would intentionally take a cold shower?!” The notion left and I hadn’t given it another thought. That was until a few weeks ago when I was reading about Victor Pride’s 30 Days of Discipline.
Victor’s 30 Days of Discipline program entails a set of 12 things that you must / or must not do each and every single day for 30 days. No exception. Now, the cold shower in this context peaked my interest. Seeing it as a challenge, I had to give it a go! It was a way for me to test my own grit. ” I got this” I thought to myself as I woke up on Day 1 and headed for the shower.
The First Morning
Step into the shower. Turn the dial to the coldest setting. A stream of cold water hits me like an arctic tidal wave. It takes my breath away. “There’s no freaking way this is a thing,” I think to myself “This has to be Victor’s prank on the world and I’m one of his unsuspecting victims!”. I immediately turn off the shower. Standing there cold, dripping wet, and indignant. I step out of the shower. I’m thinking “how the heck am I going to do this!”. I reach for my cell phone and google ‘tips on taking cold showers’.
Sometimes you need to crawl before you walk…
A tip that repeatedly surfaced in the results was to start the shower warm, then once you’re in, switch it to cold. So back into the shower I went… ahhhh, nice warm water, this is what a shower is supposed to feel like! Then, staring at the dial, I reach out and crank it down to the coldest setting… there’s a slight delay, then WHAM!..the cold water hits me again. This time, I grit my teeth and fight the discomfort…I can barely breathe! This has got to be the most uncomfortable experience…EVER!! I last one minute tops.
Morning one observation: That sucked. Yay me, I did it. Not looking forward to tomorrow. Oh hey, cool the bathroom mirror isn’t fogged up.
The Second Morning
Knowing what I was waking up to this time, I woke up dreading the idea of taking a cold shower. Ever see a pic or video of a dog who’s trying to get out of bath time? That was me! I do it anyways. I’m determined to see what the hype is all about…plus Victor says that once you get to 30 days of cold showers, there’s a good chance you’ll never go back to warm ones. Seems unlikely, I thought, but I have to experience this for myself. So I jump in the shower. Turn the dial from warm to frigid freaking cold… and BAM! Once again I can barely breathe. This time I focus on my breath… trying to take deep breaths as I stand there shivering. Like a freaked out maniac, I rapidly go about soaping and rinsing, wash my hair and done! To be honest, pretty sure I missed a spot or two that day!
Total time in the shower: one very efficient but unpleasant minute.
Morning two observation: Still sucks. Not sure how I’m going to ever get used to this. Oh, nice steam free mirror again!
Jump ahead a few days…
The Fifth Morning
By now, I’m no longer dreading the idea of the cold shower. But I’m not loving it either. I step into the shower, turn the water temperature to cold. And as I start to wash up I begin to whistle! I never whistle or sing in the shower! What’s up with that. I take my time washing my hair (or what’s left of it) while I whistle some childhood tune…pretty sure it was from the Andy Griffith show.
Total time in shower: best guesstimate is 3-5 minutes.
Morning 5 observations: Not bad. I feel invigorated, ready to take on the day. Still whistling. Loving that fog free mirror. Cold showers = shorter showers = saving time, = savings on my water bill = saving on the gas water heating bill. Not that I’ll notice, but I still think..hey, that’s a nice little side perk of these cold showers.
Jump ahead a couple of days…
The Seventh Morning, Afternoon and Night
Now I’m starting to enjoy how these cold showers. They make me feel alive, like take on the world alive! So morning 7 rolls around, I wake up and hop in the shower. Whistling again. It’s Saturday, so I spent the morning puttering around the house getting some stuff done, which includes mowing the lawn. When I’m done, I’m covered in sweat and grass. ‘No problem’ I think to myself… a great reason for another cold shower! Yep, looking for excuses now to have more cold showers. I have my second of the day. Evening rolls around and I head to the gym…get a monster leg workout in, beast mode style. Come home…yep, I sweat my butt off…time for cold shower number three! You see where this is going right?
Total time in the shower: 5 minutes per shower average.
Day seven observations: Not sure how it happened, but I love cold showers now! It happened sooner than I expected. They make me a better person – well kind of. I actually love turning the dial to cold and waiting for it to hit. The jolt that used to shock me and make me want to jump out of my skin now exhilarates me. I also feel more manly… more Tarzan’ish (if that’s a thing). I like this.
I’m actually writing this post on my ninth day of cold showers. I woke up this morning at 5 am, kicked the day off with 100 body squats, some blog writing, followed by a frigid assault on my senses to kick my day into high gear (cold shower). It’s evening now and I’m off to the gym. We so all know what that means! Another day with multiple cold showers. It’s crazy, I know, but I’m rolling with this. 21 more days to go…at this rate I’m confident I’ll never go back to warm showers. Curious to see how I feel when it’s below freezing outside. Perhaps I’ll be singing a different tune.
Total time in the shower: not tracking anymore, but I suspect I’m maintaining a 5-minute average.
Today’s observations: The cold showers now rival a strong cup of coffee for the best morning ritual to start my day…perhaps its close to even surpassing it. I like how it makes me feel. Like a lion. I step out of the shower and literally want to roar! Okay, a little theatrical I know, but you get the point.
So, you ask, how is life like a cold shower?
Cold showers are really good for you – that’s another blog post. But when you first start, cold showers really, really suck! It’s a downright assault on your nerves and your sanity. It takes all your mental strength, resolve and discipline to stick it out! But once you do, the reward is high! Similar to many things in life. Many of the worthwhile things in life require the same degree of grit to obtain and achieve. And when the going gets tough, uncomfortable or downright scary, we may be tempted to throw in the towel. Don’t! Instead, grit your teeth, persevere and see it through.
I strongly believe daily cold showers increase your self-discipline, strengthen your mind and increase your GRIT!
The Cold Shower Life…Do it! Stick to it! You’ll be glad you did.