Cold Shower Therapy

Cold Shower Therapy™ is a strategy I’ve used a couple of times in the last year to help myself start doing the things I know I need to be doing (h/t to Nick Reese for getting me hooked). If you find yourself self-sabotaging with all the impossible things you want to be doing, with avoidance and procrastination, Cold Shower Therapy™ is the best tool I know of to help you start doing.

Cold Shower Therapy™

cold shower therapy

Sometimes you just have to dive in.

If you’re staring at a project and having trouble convincing yourself to start or find the beginning point and work your way through it, you might need to throw it out, start from scratch, and dive in headfirst. Planning be damned.

If you’ve been trying to lose weight with a workout here and a workout there, you need to go full throttle, lift heavy, sprint everywhere, and rid your entire kitchen of junk food.

If you’re working on your business and are overwhelmed, you might need to stop trying to plan every detail of your five-year plan and just dive in and focus every ounce of energy you have on making your first dollar.

Dive in.

Get after it.

Go so hard you stop thinking about anything else.

Go military on your goal. Be ruthless. Go a little bit crazy. Get a maniacal look in your eye that shows people your addiction and insanity. Make it an obsession. Cold Shower Therapy™ can help you do that.

Changing Your Mentality

Cold Shower Therapy™ . You have to be a little bit nuts to do this. The part about addiction and insanity? It’s not just hyperbole. You need to alter your mental approach to things. Instead of seeing if there’s a way that you could possibly do something, you decide you’re going to crush it. Not because someone said you can, not because you know you can, but simply because you’ve decided to.

You stop going into things scared. You don’t worry about fear anymore, not because it’s not there, but because you have the courage to do what you’re doing despite being scared out of your mind.

You’ll probably get some weird looks from your friends, but what are they doing anyway? Exactly.

Cold Shower Therapy™

This is where Cold Shower Therapy™ comes in.

Want to change your mentality? Take cold showers first thing in the morning. As soon as you get up. Jump in the shower. Close your eyes and turn the temperature to cold. Not just cold. Not ice cold. Try we-just-piped-this-water-in-from-Antarctica-because-the-penguins-won’t-swim-in-it-cold. Do this for thirty days in a row. I call it Cold Shower Therapy™ because it, quite literally, is therapy.

The first day you try Cold Shower Therapy™, it will suck. You’ll stare at the shower head for ten minutes and start crying just by thinking about it. Your heart will begin to beat fast. You might break out into a cold sweat. And, if you’re brave, you’ll turn it to cold for a whole five seconds before shrieking and quickly backing out of the challenge and turning the shower back to hot.

The second day, you might get the shower to run cold for a whole ten seconds, but it’ll still be too much, so you’ll turn it to hot and try to warm up again.

The third day (or however long it takes you), you’ll stare down the faucet of fear, grit your teeth, and just dive in with everything you have. You’ll turn the shower to a bone-chilling temperature and let out a few choice words involuntarily (you might want to warn any roommates that you’re planning on doing this, so they know you’re OK).

The big change happens after you decide to actually do it. As you immerse yourself in the water, you welcome the cold. You make sure it gets all over your arms, your legs, the back of your neck, and definitely your crotch. You might yell out a few Tarzan screams, but, once you decide to do it, you lean into it and you’re not afraid of it anymore. 

When you decide to turn the cold to blast, you realize one thing very, very quickly:



Like, really bad. The first thirty to sixty seconds are hell on earth. They’re every bit as terrible as you imagined they would be.

But once you hit that sixty second mark, you start to adapt. The water is as cold as ever, but you’ve already gotten as cold as you’re going to get and you’re not going to get any colder. You body does an awesome thing. It starts to adapt. Pretty soon, you realize that, as cold as the water is, it’s not *that* cold anymore. The trepidation that you had before the shower is gone. You don’t have to fear what it’s like anymore, because you know firsthand what it’s like. And it sucks, but it gets better because it makes you better.

Becoming Invincible

Cold Shower Therapy™ makes you invincible. No lie. After your first few five minute face-offs with the shower, nothing can stop you. Why?

Cold Shower Therapy™ shows you how weak an emotion fear really is.

When you’re staring at that faucet from hell, you’re only thinking one thing: this is going to suck, this is going to suck, this is going to suck. Why? Because it sucks and you’re afraid it’s going to suck. But something sucking doesn’t mean you can’t overcome it. Something being hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Being afraid of something doesn’t mean you have to stay afraid.

When you stare at the faucet, realize the suck is going to happen, and decide to lean into it, all of a sudden you embrace the suck. Instead of running from the fear, you challenge it. You dare it to beat you. If you’re crazy enough to do that, fear usually turns around and runs home pretty quickly when it sees you’ve decided that you won’t lose.

The same thing happens when you get to a project in the middle of the day and you hesitate for a moment instead of doing it. You can do this with a workout, a business task, or even that phone call you know you need to make but that you keep putting off because you know it might not be 100% fun and games. If you don’t want to do it, you put it off and move onto something else. That’s standard protocol.

But once you’ve gone through Cold Shower Therapy™, things change. After you’ve stared at the shower head and conquered the cold in the shower that morning, you begin to recognize that hesitation. You realize the hesitation you have when it comes to the project/business/workout is the exact same fear you see in the shower. And you realize you’ve already beaten it once that day and that the only way it can actually hurt you is by stopping you from doing what you need to do.

That hesitation, that fear, that flinch? Over time it becomes familiar.

Slowly, you realize it’s just a big monster in your closet. Big, scary, and all in your imagination. You’re bigger than it. You’re better than it. And you’ve already beaten it. It has nothing on you. Cold Shower Therapy™ makes you invincible.

You realize that if you jump in, sometimes the first sixty seconds of your project/goal/milestone will absolutely suck (usually they really will), but after that, you move on, dominate, and grow stronger.

And absolutely nothing can stop you. You’re invincible.

How To Use Cold Shower Therapy™

What is this form of modern torture good for? We have hot water for a reason! I use it to get stuff done. I pick one thing that I’m going to do for thirty days and I do it. I’ve done this two or three times now and I always end up better for doing it. This is how I frame it.

  1. Choose one project. One goal. One impossible thing.
  2. Find a date to start. Take your first cold shower. (The times you wuss out and back out don’t count. Start counting from the first time you get to five minutes.)
  3. Once you reach five minutes, start counting your showers.
  4. Take one five minute cold shower every morning for thirty days.
  5. Throw a ten minute shower in there just for fun.
  6. Finish your project. Do something impossible. Change your life.
  7. #BOOM

Cold Shower Therapy™ Challenge

I’m tired of writing, so let’s do this.

Cold showers. Every day for the month of April. Pick one impossible thing. Do it and finish it.

I’m doing it. Are you?

Deal with your fear this weekend. It’s time to put up or shut up. Do something impossible or go home. Give Cold Shower Therapy™ a try.

(Let me know what you’re planning on doing in the comments below.)

The Official CST App

What Does Cold Shower Therapy™ Actually Do?

Photo credit: Éole cc

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    • Pete says

      Rob beat me to it, but I’ll take this. Up early to run and then an ice cold shower? Thank you sir. I’ll have another!

        • says

          I was going to ask if post-workout is “cheating.” Apparently not happy to note. It is like combining shower and ice bath and surprisingly feels better than the sauna. Woot multitasking!

          • Peter D. says

            If you are getting up every morning to run in the first place, you probably don’t even need the cold showers. It always helps, though!

        • says

          I gave myself a pass the first day for finishing my first tri but will make it up on the back end. 2/2 for 5 minutes and have felt great.
          Outside of the showers, I’ve committed to a body-fat-loss challenge and by the end of April will have my temp page down and content up on one of my side-project sites. Stay tuned sportsfans…

      • says

        Ah Joel you beat me to this post (you wrote it better though)…Been doing cold showers for the past 2 weeks as part of our Tough Mudder training.

        And yes, it sucks significantly LESS after day 14 than it did on day 1. It’s a confidence booster, in a weird and crazy sort of way.

  1. says

    OK Joel. So now you’re going into S & M? Haha. I can’t imagine cold showers sucking any less on day 30 than day 1. In Tim Ferriss 4HB book, he mentioned some cold shower therapy. Tried it and you got it, IT SUCKS. But 30 days? I don’t know man. I’m a night owl and a nice hot shower doesn’t get me out of bed. I may start to stink if I have to start with a cold shower.

    But I do see the point you are trying to make. It’s like shock therapy in your workouts to jump start muscle growth. We get in ruts both mentally and physically. You need some kind of KITA. But cold showers? Please no, say it ain’t so Joel.

  2. ashley a says

    alright joel, if you’re crazy, i’m crazy. if you’re a bird, i’m a bird? eh, it works. i do 8am workouts, so i’ll do this right after my workouts (added benefits!)

    you going to make a thread in the league for those who are going to complete this?

  3. says

    Actually this technique is one that the author of Flinch, Julien Smith (published by the domino project), suggests people to do condition themselves to not be afraid of challenge or struggle (check out the Flinch link in Joels post).

    I think it’s still free and well worth the quick read.

    I remember after a Muddy Buddy the shower was a high pressure water hose and a bunch of garden faucets — that was really had to take.

  4. says

    Ive been doing this every morning for a while ever since I read flinch. I liken it to having an IV of coffee hooked up to you. What a rush.

    It really comes in handy when taking a “shath” (when you’re taking a shower but are just to F-ing tired and say screw it and just lay down in the tub).

    Everyone needs to give this a whirl.

  5. says

    I always wake up lazy and I definitely want something to get me started rocking from the moment I open my eyes.

    However that cold shower ‘therapy’ sounds insane.

    I usually shower with hot water even on hot days so I know this is NOT going to be easy at all, I totally hate and can’t stand cold water.

    But a man has to do, what he has to do.

    Who knows… I may even record them. Should be fun to watch someone yelling insanely for the first showers although I agree with David.

    I don’t see how the last shower is going to suck any less than the first one, particularly on my case but I’ll see.


  6. says

    Great timing, Joel! I’ve done a month-long challenge since January 1st and was thinking about what to do for April.

    This will also help toughen me up mentally for The Comrades Marathon, so it’s perfect.

    Run, cold shower, write my damn book!

  7. Kurt Swann says

    Just did 42 seconds! . . .So I’m in but still need to come up with an Impossible thing. And get to 5 minutes. To be continued . . .

    • Kurt Swann says

      Okay, did 5 minutes today. Only 29 days left :)

      And my impossible thing for April is to skydive from 30,000 feet. Normal jumps are from around 13,000 feet so the higher altitude makes it a little tricky. . . need to use oxygen and wear extra clothing cause of the low temperatures. So weather/equipment/scheduling has to all fit together. But will cross my fingers :)

  8. says

    Hurrah for starting the Impossible on April 1! (And we’re not fooling!) I’ve always dreamed of writing a screenplay. So I’m doing it. Starting April 1st. Along with other frenetic screenpeeps at

    As for the cold showers . . . .

    I’m far too hedonistic in my showers to ever consider this.

    I will continue to take my long and luxurious hot showers while the rest of you crazy kids freeze your tuckuses off. 😉

    Happy April, Everyone!

  9. Guy Davoren says

    Cool idea Joel.
    I can’t do it though, our water isn’t too cold out of the tap, it is a good temp.

      • Guy Davoren says

        ha ha
        I wonder if a plumber has ever had that request? Joel might have opened up a new line of work for someone.

        • Claire says

          So here’s one for you. I was originally planning to start this in May. Figured this morning that there was no point in putting it off so after my (personal best) run this morning, I jumped right in. Lo and behold the water didn’t seem as cold as I’d imagined it would.

          Now, either I have a higher tolerance to cold water than I thought, or I have the same issue!

          However, this was at my office so will try again tomorrow morning at home and report back!!

        • Claire says

          Right, two for two. Timed myself this morning and hadn’t finished washing by 5 minutes so carried on! I found it pretty easy.

          I still don’t know if it’s because of the temperature or my tolerance. Tomorrow will be the hairwash so that’ll be the real test.

          • Guy Davoren says

            Ok, it is cooling down now. I have been having cold showers now for about 5 weeks (apart from 1 day when I woke up tired, forgot, and realised a few hours later) It gets colder each day (I can’t wait until the middle of winter) It does feel good. After a run, I either jump in the pool or in the surf and it feels great. I understand Joel’s “embrace the suck” theory. You don’t bother whinging or complaining, you just do stuff. Try it, it will do you good.

  10. TheDrunkardsTalk says

    I’ll be doing this too.

    If you need some more incentive, I read in tim ferris’ book that taking cold shower might promote the growth of brown adipose tissue, the fat burning fat, as opposed to the energy storing fat. That nut talks about taking ice baths, so I think I can handle this…

  11. Todd says

    Oh God, not sure why I’m agreeing to this, but what the hay…
    I’m trying to get my real estate investing business going, so my goal is getting first property under contract by end of Apr. I’ve been slacking lately so this will be a good push. (I’m cold just thinking about it!)

  12. says

    Like Rob and Pete mentioned above, getting a good workout in before hand helps.

    I just finished a 6 mile training mud run with my tough mudder teammates through the woods and multiple swamps/puddles, topped off with, gulp, a frozen pond swim. It was cold, but our bodies bounced back quickly due to being warm already.

    I think cold water carves a tough groove into your brain.

  13. says

    I tried this this morning. After I got my heart started again and could breath I have to admit I feel much more energized and focused. Normally I take showers that drain the hot water heater and blister my back so this was definitely the “polar” opposite. I’m doing this for April and will finish a project I’ve been working on forever. As a bonus it should reduce my utility bill as well.

  14. says

    OMG! I did it! I DID IT! Day 1 and I did a full 5 minutes. Washed my hair, lost my breath, washed my face, lost my breath..almost past out…then washed my girl parts. OMG! I still haven’t quite started breathing properly, and my heart may not quite be beating yet, but I DID IT! And I have to admit..I feel a little bit like I could take over the world.

  15. Debbie says

    Oh Lord! I’m not looking forward to this….but I am going to commit to it. I’m just starting today, so I haven’t had a chance to work up to the 5 minutes. We’ll see how I do!

    What I’m going to do for the 30 days is spend some time EVERY DAY in my studio.

  16. Emmet Buchanan says

    I will complete and send in my immigration paper work and make amends with my wife, and create a new future with her that inspires her and what she is out to have in her life, not what I want, and fulfill on my dreams too, with creating 4 sculptures to start my next series of work for a gallery show this summer!

    • Emmet Buchanan says

      Well I lasted 11 days before skipping a day of even showering, just to avoid having a cold shower. I kept going thinking I could get away with it… and it just ate at me. It lacked integrity you could say, and there was an impact on me, who I am for myself and why I took on the cold shower. So on day 23… or however you wana call it, I started over at day 1 of 30! Whats at stake is knowing myself to honor my word, and that anything is possible for me! I’m still taking on my artwork, and I have started painting again! I’m a few steps away from starting my next series of sculptures, which I should be ready to complete next week!

  17. Brian says

    I decided to give it a go and I just got out. For some reason I was smiling when the water hit me even though I wanted to yell… its a weird feeling.

    I started the timer on my phone to see how long it was and I thought I was only about 2-3 minutes in and it said 6:30!

    I was surprised and now I am addicted because I feel awesome.

    Everyday this month I am going to write a part of a new membership site I am working on.

  18. Michelle says

    Last February I did the Polar Plunge (Wisconsin…air temp of 15 degrees) so this will be like 30 days of Polar Plunges!

    I commit to an hour walk everyday so I’ll finally start taking off that 25 pounds I’ve been whining about for the past year!!!

  19. David says

    Day 1! Check. Haven’t quite figured out what my goal is. Maybe it’s just the cold showers themselves. Maybe it’s to empower myself. Tell myself that I can do something for 30 days. This will take some serious will power, but I’m excited to embrace the fact that some things plain out suck. If I can face this, I will be very proud. 29 more days ahh!!!

  20. Matt says

    For quite a few months now I’ve been flicking my showers to maximum coldness after I’m done washing (hot water is much better at cleaning). When I started out, I sometimes wouldn’t shower because I was afraid (of water!) but now I can control my muscle reflexes and breathing so to an observer they wouldn’t know I was under an icy shower. What helped was reminding myself how, for example, people that are homeless can’t just turn off the cold and go get on with their life – but I can turn off the shower whenever I choose. We need to experience discomfort regularly to appreciate how good we have it.

  21. says

    Reminds me of 5AM swim practices. You’re tired, you know the water is cold and you just don’t want to jump in. But you’ll know you’ll warm up, feel great the rest of the day and that you’ll get better. That is the point right? To get better.

    Do it.

  22. Crystal says

    I hate you. I truly do. Thank you for this post and kicking my butt into gear. I’m mad now, but when I’m in the best shape of my life (impossible goal) I’ll thank you for it.

  23. says

    Interesting technique with the cold showers, considering this is how its done (with a bucket) in third world countries. Though to be fair, it’s a bit easier in the outdoor sun. But still suck. I take cold showers regularly. Never applied it to ‘impossible’ projects and git’r’done, though. I suppose I’ll add this new level of thinking to my cold showers now.

  24. says

    I don’t know why are you guys counting seconds or minutes, either you take the bath or you don’t.

    I did mine on my latest post but it freaking SUCKED big time.

    I was productive as hell as well, heck, it’s only 3:50pm and I have done stuff that would normally take me days.

    Thanks Joel, looking forward to buy my shirt soon!


  25. says

    16 days in and holy moly! Okay one thing I noticed since I started, I was down 5+lbs last week and expect something in the same range this week. I think the whole theory about it kick starting the metabolism is true. It seems to be working for me. Not to mention, my hair is shinier, and my skin is softer. AND I just spoke at my first conference this past weekend and rocked it! AND shared the cold shower therapy secret too. Definitely am on to something here. Thanks Joel!

  26. michael vasko says

    day 16: Ice baths 58 degree water with zip lock bags of ice on chest for 35min.
    Some results: The water actually feels warm for the first 20 min. No more shivering. Time to rewarm is now only about an hour. Much better skin, reducing pain from pinched nerves in each foot. Increased libido, welcome back 4am wood ( this is great at age 60), the most dramatic is an increase in the weight of my dead lifts, 25 lbs in one week, and increase of number of reps at that weight. 259 lbs 4 reps. Hey the ocean in NJ is 50 degrees, maybe time to change to a new bigger bath tub!

  27. says

    I’m late in the game here, but I just read this and absolutely loved the idea. I’m dedicating myself to the thirty day challenge. I wrote a blog about it this morning, citing you. Have a look, and thanks so much for the idea!

  28. says

    Hi! I tried the therapy yesterday, and I did it (just in the first time a tried)! I will try one week. Than, if I like, one month. I will be posting the result here! :) Thanks.

    • Rita says

      Hey Nicholas..I can guarantee you you aren’t likely to like it after only a week. I say commit to the 30 days and go for it. I am on day 26 and love it! So much so that I just recruited another friend simply by sharing about it. Do the 30 days. YOu’ll feel better for it. I love my morning cold showers now…and by love, i mean I scream and curse and whimper and then I rejoice.

  29. Jo says


    I’m all for this and want to start but have one (probably dumb) question.

    Once you get to 5 minutes, do you then just turn up the water to take your regular shower?


  30. michael vasko says

    Put 20 lbs ice in bath tub soaked 25 min.used thermometer water got to 50 degrees. Sat low enough to have water up to my neck. This is week 3 . It is great.

  31. Rita says

    I think it’s safe to say this is quite possibly THE best thing I have ever taken on…thus far. Who knew that I’d look forward to the cold showers? Day 40 today for me..and I can’t imagine starting my day any other way. And it’s just as doesn’t get any warmer…it doesn’t get any easier..and damn do I feel good.

  32. says

    At the beginning of May I had my first cold shower, just to see what it was like. I’ve lost count of how many cold showers I’ve taken since then, but I can tell you how many warm showers I’ve taken since my first cold shower: Zero.

    My skin is softer and smoother, my eczema has cleared up, and I no longer have dry scalp. AND I start each day feeling brave and ready to take on the world. What’s not to love about that??

    Looking forward to the Challenge, the community and your emails!

    – Leah

  33. says

    I am going to take cold showers everyday for 30 days and develop a product on my site. I am not exactly sure what it will entail, but I am tired of thinking about it. I want to develop the product and see what happens.

    This is very inspiring.

  34. says

    Stumbled upon Cold Shower Therapy via Zebra Sounds… and found myself laughing out loud at this article – brilliantly written and compelling.

    Will I do it? Hell yeah! Just what I need in my life right now, and your comments on business and health also slapped me round the face. WAKE UP WOMAN! You’ve got ONE LIFE! LIVE IT!!!

    So, off for my first cold shower… in a few minutes anyway, after I’ve had a face off with the shower head from hell.

    Loving your philosophy already and we’ve only just met!

  35. Christopher says

    I love this, from now on for the next 30 days its a 5 minute beastly cold shower, with a blog post pronto! Thanks for the tip :)

  36. Cate says

    Hmmmmm – Icy cold shower every day you say??? Why does this appeal to me? I’m sure it will only last for about the first 10 seconds of actuality.

    I know a little about Tim Ferris’s cold showers/ice baths for weight loss so this would be helpful on more than one front.

    I also hate getting up in the mornings, but this would be one hell of a wake up call.

    I’m going to go jump in the shower now, because it’s hot and sweaty and I’m procrastinating right this minute…

  37. Peter D. says

    Well, the showers at my house don’t get very cold, and they’re all standing showers, so I can’t fill them with ice. However, I do live by the ocean, which I imagine is cold at 6 am no matter what season it is. So I’m going to start my 30 days of 6 am ocean baths. Lets see how it goes, shall we?

      • Peter D. says

        I don’t think I’ve ever been excited to wake up in the morning before. Well, anxious, really. Just that fact alone is enough to convince me. Hahaha.

      • Peter D. says

        I ended up getting scared off from the ocean, then taking cold showers anyway (though not every day because I don’t shower daily haha). That said, I’d still jump in if I got up early enough, so that’s been more of a problem than the showers themselves! That said, I hit the 5k milestone for running last week, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

  38. MileHighRob says

    I began easing into cold shower therapy over the week to ten days. I have not been able to completely turn off all of the hot water until today.

    While driving home from work this afternoon someone rear ended me as I watched from my rear view mirror. I recognized the other driver was distracted and not aware we were driving through a school zone and knew impact was inevitable.

    The force was so strong I was certain I would require towing away from the scene of the accident. Much to my surprise my car held up and suffered only minor injury. Only visible damage was two small tail lights which illuminate the license plate at nighttime.

    I jumped out of the car extremely angry with the distracted driver. Granted, this was the 4th accident I’ve been involved in over the past 2 years, none of which were my fault and all caused by distracted drivers.

    While writing down the other drivers’ personal and insurance info I was trembling. There was so much adrenaline rushing through me I couldn’t even think clearly.

    Once I got home I immediately jumped into the shower. Within 1 minute I was at full cold water on a 69° day in Colorado. Needless to say the water was ice cold.

    I cannot believe the results. Upon exiting the shower I felt the same accomplishment I felt years ago when I ran my first 5k without requiring any walking to recover.

    I suddenly realized the accident was a non issue. We all survived including his little dog whom he was reaching over to pet when he rammed into the back of my car.

    Yes, I did ache. Oddly some old injuries reappeared as soon as the adrenaline wore off.

    Once I did the CST those aches and pains were, once again, distant memories.

  39. StARR says

    I came across this website today and decided that I want to give it a try. The reason why is because I want to join the Marine Corps but I am not in the best shape. Some days I feel lazy and do not want to work out, and my grades have been dropping (I need a 3.0 GPA), but this has always been my dream so therefore tomorrow will be my first day with the cold shower therapy. Wish me luck, and if there is anyone out there going through something similar remember you can do anything if you believe in yourself because its all in your mind.

  40. Wouter says

    Dear god my friend, I stumbled across your blog, TBH, I have no clue how I found it.

    But then I stumbled against cold showers.
    And then I readed it.

    Kinda got abit excited by your writing style.

    And then I was like. Screw that, I can do that stuff, that’s not impossible. What the hell is a cold shower?

    And then, hell erupted in my bathroom.
    That was THE-WORST-WAKE-UP-CALL ever.
    Day 1, check. 20 seconds.

    I’ll beat it, and I sincerely hate you for even daring people to do this.

    Keep up the good work!

  41. joshua says

    ” If you’re crazy enough to do that, fear usually turns around and runs home pretty quickly when sees you’ve decided that you won’t lose.”

  42. says

    I tried this. Had my first cold shower today but I’m not sure if I did it right – it didn’t bother me at all. I actually really enjoyed it and it was on the coldest setting.

  43. says

    Alright Joel, you’ve convinced me. Cold shower, first thing tomorrow. And afterward, I’m gonna take care of two, scary big things I’ve been dragging my feet on for weeks.


  44. says

    HAHAHA, I LOVE this post!

    Ugh, it’s 32 degrees right now in Dallas, but I’m doing this tomorrow!

    And I love how you explain what kind of cold showers too, the ones that make Penguins cry lol…

    I’ve been getting up at 5am (last 3 months 6) however even though I get up 3 hours earlier then I use too, I still haven’t gotten myself to the gym in the mornings (my goal).

    This may be the answer.

    • says

      I’ve done 3 days in a row so far, still lasting only about 30-40 secs, but the 3rd time, starting to really like it hahahah… it’s harsh, kinda feel a bit more manly afterwards.

      Going for a full minute tomorrow

  45. Bronwynne says

    I’m probably going to hate myself and you for doing this but hey it’s worth a shot. Don’t have a shower so a cold bath is the next best thing, might even switch it up for an early morning swim once I get into the habit…did I mention that I really dislike the cold… I am up for the challenge!

  46. Brion says

    Hey Joel,

    I’ve been taking cold showers for a while now, but never an ice shower… I am excited to try this challenge during April 2013; the month of my 18th birthday. It’s actually on the 27th too, become a man in two ways haha. But I only have one question: do you wash your hair & body with warm water (open pores) then just sit under the ice cold water? I just thought about this… I feel as though warm showers get you cleaner but cold showers make your hair look better… So I’m confused on how to make this the most beneficial/not be dirtier & manlier during the challenge. So glad I happened to stumble upon the challenge!

    Thanks for your time,

  47. Thomas says

    Haha! And they say the Dutch are crazy… Well, I guess this lazy ass Dutchman finally met his match! I’m in! See you in a month :-)

    • Thomas says

      Ok, just had my first cold shower after killing myself in the woods with 20 of your 30 second dashes. One question though: do i get a day of rest after a workout day? Cause I don’t think I’m able to walk tomorrow… I’m thinking about doing a day of sprinting followed by a day of core excersizes, followed by a day of sprinting, followed by… Well, you get the idea. Do you think it’s a good plan, or just a lame excuse to sprint less?

  48. Rob says

    I’ve done the hot shower and finish with coldmforma long time. Did my first all cold this morning after a 40 minute snowshoe. Did I mention I’m in Canada? Our cold water in February is really cold. Piped in from the arctic cold. Shower in a stall so no place to go to avoid the water – it’s all in or nothing. Made it to 4 minutes so hopefully tomorrow will be the official day 1. Only thing I noticed is soap doesn’t lather well in cold water but who needs lather. Maybe I’ll just scrub myself with a handful of sand.

  49. says

    I took another cold shower this morning! I had been a wus this last week… taking a hot shower and ending up half a sleep on my tub floor lol…

    Then getting up and cheating by only doing a cold shower on my head at the end.

    Today BOOM 30 sec shower, fast as hell soap application, wash off… boom out the door. Life : Optimized.

  50. Jeff says

    I’m doing it. Five minute showers, ice cold. They suck. Every day they suck. They never stop sucking as much as the first time. Today was day 13, after two days of wuss-outs that don’t count. Almost half way to thirty cold 5-minute showers now. I’ve got goals that go along with the showers. As an actor fairly new to the craft, I intend to land a great gig. A jump-to-the-next-level kind of role. I had my first shot at such a part last Thursday, after cold shower number seven. Went to the audition and knocked it out of the park. Absolutely killed it. But will I fit their master plan? Or will they change their master plan to fit me? I know for a fact I did it the best I could’ve and I’m pretty damned sure it was the best they had seen so far, based on the looks on their faces when I was done. So now it’s beyond my control. Except in so far as I can keep taking my cold showers and keep going on other auditions as I wait for word that I got the part. It’ll be interesting to see how this level of commitment and fearlessness collides with those elements that are out of my direct control.

    • Jeff says

      18th cold shower today. went ELEVEN minutes, just to remind myself there’s no quitting in me. I feel fantastic.

      • Jeff says

        34 cold showers in 30 days, then took a hot one. Didn’t feel right, and gave me bad hair. Back to the cold ones. Besides, the gears are turning. Good things happening.

        • says

          JefF! YOU ARE AWESOME! And I get to say so. Cause I’ve done 365+ days of cold showers and LOVE ’em! Hot showers are a thing of the past. WAY TO GO!

  51. Lizzie says

    Now this might sound stupid, but do you seriously shower for 5minutes? I mean, whatever temperature it is – you get in there, get water over yourself, then soap, then rinse. Why….

  52. Rob says

    Got ten days in then stopped due to a nasty respiratory infection although maybe it would have helped to keep going but felt miserable enough already. Starting again tomorrow.

    Just wondering about how cold cold showers actually are as I imagine there would be differences in cold water temperture from region to region. My instant read thermometer says the cold water coming out of my shower head is 41F. Just wondering how that compares to others?

  53. says

    I’m in.


    I’m aiming for a long-term practice.

    I will allow myself two exceptions a month plus one exception a week, after I complete my interval sprints and strength-training workouts respectively.

  54. says

    I did my first full 5 min on full cold today! The last two days have been on and off and adding bits of warm water. What helped was washing my hair. My head hurt so much that just having the cold water on the rest of my body afterwards wasn’t so bad. And shouting ‘It’s not f***ing cold, it’s f***ing warm, it’s f***ing warm, light work, light work’, and doing a kind of marching dance at the same time. You clearly need to be crazy to do this!

  55. says

    In my opinion and personal experience, the secret to enjoying cold showers (and in many ways life as a whole, as well) is to simply relax and let in the pain.

    Once you accept the pain it becomes exponentially less powerful – just like fear.

    Cold showers can be a great tool in any kind of self-discovery and I am so glad, Joel, that you recommend it so dearly!

    Even though it doesn’t seem like a big deal at first glance, I am sure that a blog post like this has changed a lot of lives for the better.

    In short: keep up the good work!


  56. says

    I’ve been reading these posts for a while and kept ignoring them (ha). Then I up and moved to the Dominican and i ONLY have cold water in my house. So there you have it – the universe clearly wants me to do this.

  57. Bill says

    YIKES! Took my first cold shower. It is as brutal as everyone posted. What made it a bit easier was to stand there and let the water hit your feet. Put some water in your hands and start to rub it all over yourself. Keep repeating. Then, while facing the shower, bend in a little and let it hit your head. Then get in. Now the 5 minutes starts! It sucks REALLY bad but once you’re done, you DO feel like you can do anything.

  58. says

    I met Rita at WDS and she convinced me I had to try this. Day 1 done! Though part of me thinks my shower doesn’t get quite cold enough, as it was uncomfortable and made my back feel numb but wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. And I’m kind of wimpy when it comes to cold. But I went in head first like you showed! On with the rest of my day…

  59. Gene Foster says

    I take a shower and then a cold shower at night every day and it does not suck that much after working all day the heat I going to start taking a cooolllldddd shower in the morning… after milking

  60. khan says

    It definitely helps man.

    When its winter and i do it. I feel so great. The feeling of doing it is just great(after). Those quick breaths you take due to cold water are just awesome. However someone told me that one might get a stroke. But i dont think its true.


  61. Ninja says

    Day one, 3 cold showers, 1st one a wimped out, second one I did the five minutes, third time, which I just finished, 12 minutes! Man! I feel amazing!

  62. Dave K says

    Have been taking cold showers every single day since March 2013. Sometimes 2 times a day. Besides Joel’s call to action about cold shower therapy, also read the same thing in book called “100s of ways to live to be 100”. I am 54, chronologically. Unless I find out that there is a negative to doing this every single day, I will continue. I hate it every time I stand before a cold shower. Takes me 10 to 15 seconds to dive in, with a yell. After 1 to 2 minutes I exercise right there in the shower, free-hand or with a hand grip. Come out feeling very strong. So, about 300 days of cold showers and going strong. Woo hoo!

  63. Tessa says

    I stumbled on an article about cold showers (I think Art of Manliness) a year ago or so, and’ve tried it off and on since. It is pretty exhilarating and it does make me feel like I’m conquering my fear in a small way. There are times when I do it for fun and times when I force myself to do it despite all my deepest wishes (which I suppose is when I need to most).
    I have a few questions for the ladies who have participated in the challenge. I always do a few minutes at the end of a warm shower and I’m interested to try full-on cold showers. My concerns are shaving and washing my face. I believe warm water softens the hair follicle and opens up your pores, making showering the best time to shave your legs/pits and wash your face (as long as you wash after conditioning your hair). So, will I get razor bumps from shaving in cold water? Or did you guys start shaving outside of the shower? It wouldn’t be a big deal to start washing my face outside of the shower, but I’m worried it won’t get as clean. Let me know your thoughts!

  64. Salem says

    Man oh man oh man.

    So I’m on day 3 of the cold shower challenge. I even successfully stayed in for the whole five minutes the 2 times but Jesus Christ that s*** is crazy. After that first shower though, I felt like I could take on an entire herd of buffalo with my bare hands, screaming, wet and naked.

    I see it clearly. Everything that these showers can do for anyone and everyone. I’ve talked about it to everyone at my job and they KNOW I’m crazy. But that’s fine.

    To any doubters, just do it. Seriously. You will hate your life for the first three minutes but screw that. Do it. I have been staring at the bathroom for 4 hours today, finding anything and everything to do before I get in there…I still have three hours before I head to work (night job) but I’m gonna get in there. I’m gonna whimper like a child, but I’m gonna get in there.

    You know what…f*** it. I’m getting in there. Right now.

    (after I stare at the shower head for ten more minutes)

  65. Daniel Tyler says

    I’m very late to this party. Just got linked to this article and am going to start this in the morning. I’m going to quit smoking. I’ve tried and tried. Smoking not only gets in the way of work, but it gets in the way of saving money.

  66. Naazim says

    Joel i h ave been taking cold showers for about 6 months now and I have seen a massive increase in productivity. However it is now winter in the UK and the water is extremely cold. I dont mind that at all but when the water goes on my head my whole scalp would go really numb. At that point I got a little worried as this has never happened before.

    I am just curious has this ever happened to you?


  67. Lauren says

    I’m on day 2 and the cold shower is amazing. My challenge is to go on a run every morning! I’m so glad that I came across this article. It has really jumpstarted me into this new rhythm that I’m creating for myself!


  1. […] My alarm is set for 7:00am. This is more of a “back up” alarm as I usually wake up naturally around 6:30am. The alarm is on my phone (set on air plane mode before going to sleep) which is plugged into my stereo in my living room. If the alarm does go off, it plays music that makes me feel energetic and excited.  While the music is playing (I keep a remote control to the stereo to turn on music in the event I wake up without the alarm) it’s time for the “key” to my morning ritual – cold shower therapy. […]

  2. […] At night we have the heat set at 55 or 57F.  Andrei has an electric blanket and Brent and I share one, plus we all have multiple fluffy quilts keeping us cozy.  Brent and I have our bedroom door shut and there is only one tiny vent going to our room so it gets pretty chilly in there.  There is literally frost in the corners of the room.  This morning, one of my pillows was frozen to the wall.   But with the million blankets and dehumidifier, it is tolerable.  Sometimes our noses get a little chilled, but that’s it.  Getting up, however, is a different story.  If one of us gets up to use the bathroom before the alarm goes off, it’s their job to turn up the house heat (66-68ish).  Otherwise it’s usually my job.  My alarm goes off at 6AM but it might take me up to an hour to have the guts to climb out of bed and make the mad dash out of the room.  We call our version of ‘Cold Shower Therapy‘. […]

  3. […] I fought Joel Runyon a lot over this. He is the one that introduced me, and got me hooked on CST.  I told Joel 100 different times, 100 different ways, why I didn’t need to take cold showers. I explained how I already have accountability set up in my life. I explained how I already am disciplined. I explained to him how CST is not going to help my life. I explained to him why it just might be the dumbest thing I have ever heard of.  […]

  4. […] I fought Joel Runyon a lot over this. He is the one that introduced me, and got me hooked on CST.  I told Joel 100 different times, 100 different ways, why I didn’t need to take cold showers. I explained how I already have accountability set up in my life. I explained how I already am disciplined. I explained to him how CST is not going to help my life. I explained to him why it just might be the dumbest thing I have ever heard of.  […]

  5. […] It’s the start of a new month & I am ohhh so ready for fall season to begin! For me, a new month means setting new goals & working towards them. I’ve made a lot of changes this past year and have really tried to step out of my comfort zone as much as possible (for an introvert that’s not the easiest thing to do). One of the strategies I’ve used to push myself is Cold Shower Therapy. […]

  6. […] I took a 5 minute cold shower. (I have been taking cold showers daily for 2 weeks now so it’s not too much of a problem at this point. If you are interested in implementing cold showers as a tool for personal growth in your life, check out this article on ImpossibleHQ.) […]

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