I love cold showers. I hate them, but I love them because the more I take them, the more I see them as a litmus test for finding out who you are.
In fact, every time someone tries to explain why they don’t need to take cold showers before they even try them, I lose a little bit of respect for them.
Because cold showers are such a simple and accessible way to practice being uncomfortable. There’s almost no opportunity cost or downside to taking cold showers. You’re just cold for a few moments. Even when people don’t believe the psychological/discipline/mental benefits of taking Cold Shower Therapy™, there are still a ton of real world health benefits to taking cold showers.
There are no downsides to taking cold showers. You already take showers, so why not make them work for you? If you need someone to hold your hand while you take them every day for thirty days, I’ll do that.
People tell me why they don’t need to take cold showers, why they’re the exception to the rule, and why this doesn’t apply to them, but every single response I get boils down to just one of two excuses.
Reason #1: Inability
Table of Contents
You are physically incapable of taking a cold shower. Either the fear of taking a cold shower is absolutely crippling, or your small little bubble of comfort is so vitally important that there’s absolutely nothing, nothing, nothing, that’s worth ever worth stepping outside of it for.
A few days ago, people were going back and forth on Twitter about #cst and someone said:
“I’ll take a hot shower any day… I would rather be relaxed than ticked off.”
I find that sad. Not sad in the sarcastic sense, but sad as in this actually makes me sad for this person. Essentially they’re saying that their goal in life is to be relaxed rather than to do something important or meaningful that might be hard, difficult, or uncomfortable. Even if it might tick them off.
Now, they’ll quickly say, “but it’s just a shower. It’s not my life,” and I will vehemently disagree.
How you do anything is how you do everything. If you let that beat you in the shower, it’s only a matter of time until it beats you in life. Consider this quote:
“Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-two minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile [Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a half minutes per mile]. So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.” I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.” He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.” I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.” So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out. I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go any more and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run any more,” –and we’re still running-”if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles. Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?” He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.” – Then Die
Every time I read this, I always end up coming back to this one part:
If you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
If you physically cannot take cold showers (not even for thirty days, but just for five minutes), just say that, but know that if you put a limit on one area of your life (even if it’s as dumb as the temperature of your shower), it’s going to carry over into other areas of your life and there are going to be other areas where you “can’t” do something because you’re not willing to make the trade-off.
This is where a lot of people say something like:
“Well, you don’t understand… I really like hot showers.”
Well, yeah, so do I. In fact, I completely understand. That’s normal and that’s exactly the point. By taking a cold shower, you’re choosing to do something you wouldn’t normally do, even though it may be uncomfortable.
People love this theory of being uncomfortable (they’ll comment on the posts, pin the crap out of the image above, and tell you in person that it’s a great talk), but as soon as you ask them to put it into practice, with something as simple as cold showers, their real character shows. It becomes very apparent whether they actually want to start doing something or whether they just want to browse through inspirational porn and live vicariously through other people.
Cold showers can train you every single day to do something and make the tougher, more uncomfortable choice.
Reason #2: Arrogance
This might be the most dangerous excuse out there. Sadly, it’s also more common than the first excuse. The first thing 90% of people say when they hear about Cold Shower Therapy™ goes something like this:
- That’s stupid.
- That’s so dumb.
- There’s no way that’s actually helpful.
- That’s a stupid idea and you should feel stupid.
- You’re a terrible person, Joel, and I hate you.
See, it’s not enough for someone to just think the idea’s stupid. They have to let you know how stupid they think the idea is. I got this email from an ex-subscriber a couple of months back (the name is hidden to protect the
Yes, Bill Gates and Pres Obama are successful because they take cold showers. I’m unsubscribing, you must think we’re real idiots.
My response: See ya!
I’m okay with these people unsubscribing because I don’t want that type of audience. I don’t want a bunch of readers who are trying to rationalize their comfortable lives. I want doers.
What’s funny is that every person who sends me a response like this thinks they’re original. They somehow think that I haven’t heard their excuses before.
I’ve got bad news. These excuses are not original. What these people think is exactly what I thought when I started taking cold showers. It’s what everyone thinks when they start. But guess what?
If you’re so arrogant that you judge and dismiss an opportunity to get better without even trying it, that’s going to seep into every area of your life.
I talk about being uncomfortable with endurance sports and life in general and I understand that not everyone will run a marathon, jump out of planes, or travel around the world. Those things don’t appeal to everyone. They can seem like lofty, crazy, impossible goals. I get that.
But a cold shower?
All it takes is five minutes of doing something that you already do every day to test a theory. If you think your five minutes are too valuable to spend even attempting such a thing (even if for no other reason than to shut me up), you might have an arrogance problem. That arrogance problem is going to keep you from doing some pretty amazing things (that might also sound a little bit stupid at first).
Why This Matters
So, why does this matter? Why won’t I just shut up about this already? Well, the two reasons that most people miss out on opportunities in life are the same reasons that most people refuse to take cold showers.
Inability To Become Uncomfortable
The inability isn’t really an inability to do the thing at all. It’s an inability to make yourself uncomfortable. It’s an unwillingness to make the trade-off necessary to get the desired results.
Don’t be upset about the results you didn’t get with the work you didn’t do.
People do this all the time, whether consciously or unconsciously. They give up before they even start. They pre-disqualify themselves. They become “unable” to do things. They take away any power they have to change things. They let life roll over them simply because it’s “too hard” to do the things they say they want to do and they settle for doing the stuff that’s easy, comfortable, and “normal.”
It’s an incredibly dangerous mindset to have (and one that I had for years). This is how so many people don’t even try to do the things they want to do.
This is equally as dangerous.
If you’ve ever seen even a tiny bit of success, the most important thing in the world is realizing that you don’t know it all. You have to cultivate an attitude of humility. If you fail to do this, you’ll think you’re invincible, immortal, or above the rules, and you’ll begin your descent downwards.
Pride comes before the falls over and over and over again.
So, before you start to say, “I don’t need to take cold showers because of XYZ and because I’m the exception,” pause for second and realize that that’s what everyone says.
That’s not a figure of speech. Literally everyone says that.
And they’re all lying to themselves. Until you step into the cold water, you’re lying to yourself.
Because the only people that don’t need to take the cold showers are the ones who are already in the shower before they finish reading this article. Because they’re not looking for reasons to stay comfortable. That’s not their main concern. That’s not their primary aim. They’re looking for reasons to get better. So, when they’re offered a way to get better, like taking five minutes of cold showers, it’s a no-brainer for them.
They do a super fast cost-benefit analysis in their heads:
Worst case scenario: They’re cold for five minutes and they hate this guy from the internet named Joel Runyon.
Best case scenario: They might get better in some small way that they weren’t aware existed before.
Impossible doers are willing to try. They know they don’t know everything, so they’re willing to experiment.
They’re people like Rita. She thought I was crazy but she decided to try cold showers anyway. So she took thirty showers in thirty days. Then she decided enough was enough. She decided to take control of things in her life and take 365 cold showers in a row because she could. Over the course of that same year, she dropped seventy pounds because she could. Because she was in control. Because she was OK with doing things that made her uncomfortable.
If you haven’t taken a cold shower yet, no matter what your excuse is – whether it’s a crippling addiction to comfort or an attitude of arrogance that tells you that you can’t possibly benefit from Cold Shower Therapy™ -, all I ask is one thing.
If it’s really not that big of a deal, do me a favor. Take five minutes and shut me up.
Be willing to experiment.
Five minutes. One cold shower. Try it.
I have been reading BIT for about a year now. I always thought Cold Showers were stupid. I tried them a couple times and hated it. Then Joel posted this up and needless to say, Cold Showers then became an ego trip. It was about my pride. The first one was the longest five minutes of my life. Now a couple weeks later, I look forward to them. They are awesome! No better way to recover from a workout and refocus yourself then some self-prescribed cold.
Hey, I just started the 30-day cold shower challenge, and I’ve come down with a cold. Will continuing the cold showers help me heal or slow down my healing? I understand the cold showers definitely help fevers, I was just wondering if colds were different. Thanks!
Day 4 completed
I REALLY REALLY didn’t want to do the cold shower this morning. I woke up early and was so comfortable in bed – why would anyone give up a little piece of heaven for a brutal breath robbing, brain freeze, chill inducing interlude of nightmare. The funny thing was that i knew I would, no matter how hard it was, and how much I delayed the moment, (and I did), I knew I would step into that shower. Do I thank you or curse you Joel, definitely the former.
An unexpected pleasure out of all this – my colleagues at work all think I’m crazy and disparage the exercise – makes me want to do it more. 26 days to go, i sort of want to make it a lifestyle habit but also don’t.
Joe Midnight says
Wow only white people would come up with this. First of all a cold shower is not a challenge or something to do because you want to step out of your comfort zone. Its something Millions do because that is the only way they will get clean! Try growing up with no electricity never mind heated water! I took showers and cleaned myself properly not that 5 minutes nasty crap! White folks are so arrogant what we minorities have to endure (yes even in good ole USA) because we have no choice they turn it into a sport a challenge! SMDH. Minorities and the disadvantage are too busy trying to get on with life to turn these ridiculous things in “adventures or challenges”. When you can take a 30 minute bath in an ice cold watering hole and be on the constant lookout cuz a jungle cat 10 times your body weight can come on down any moment but you have no choice but to do it if you wanna get the grime of hard work off you then you tell me about G darn challenges. You are the arrogant P@*#@!
Joel Runyon says
You obviously didn’t read this piece, did you – https://impossiblehq.com/cold-showers-india
No need to start name calling.
Have you ever thought of the fact that maybe a person just doesn’t want to take a cold shower.I’ve taken cold showers and they don’t feel as good as a warm shower. So I don’t take cold showers it’s not because I can’t it’s because I simply don’t want to.
Mr. Reality says
Then why are you even here on this website? Your argument is nothing else but an excuse. Here’s what your argument sounds like. Let’s say you’re an alcoholic, you go to an AA meeting and then you say crap like this (your argument):
“Have you ever thought of the fact that maybe a person doesn’t want to stop drinking? I’ve been sober and it doesn’t feel as good as being drunk. So I keep drinking, it’s not because I can’t stop, I’t’s because I simply don’t want to.”
You are missing the entire point.
Mr nobody says
Jason Cheshire says
accept not taking a cold shower doesn’t ruin your family, your life and your liver.
jim f says
I’ve been taking cold showers since September 2017 I stopped from November 22 to Dec 4 while I was on vacation why well beacouse I was on vaca. After the fourth I started again and have not stopped. It’s not about some challange. It’s about waking up while I’m in the shower. It’s about the fact that there is chemicles in our water that when heated fill the air and you breath em in. It’s about getting angry and releasing my anger while in the shower cursing under my breath so that when I get out some stress is gone at the start of the day. It really does raise focus cause it’s not easy. Your in there telling yourself Hey I can turn on hot water anytime I want. But fuck that when that shower is done you acctually feel good.
I bet you’re not even a vegan. Now theres an actual challenge that would benefit you physically amd mentally, and make positivo change. Thanks for the laugh reading this bullshit article about how uncomfortable you are taking cold showers and hating yourself. What a massive pu$$y
Allen Ricketts says
Being racist will certainly make your point.
Ygna Pocpower says
Racist against white people? Check your privilege (and definitions). Racism is the systemic benefit of the majority race over minorities. Choice is the key factor here…the privilege of choice. Not everyone has that privilege even here in the US like Joe says.
Just saying here… The majority in the US is currently Latinos. They passed white folk last year.
Uh, check *your* definition:
Racism: “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.”
Nick Shoelson says
This comment bothers me beyond words. Although I can understand where you are coming from to a certain extent, the part about taking an ice cold bath in watering hole for 30 minutes is just plain stupid. If someone had a fear for their life while bathing, and they really believed a jungle cat was going to come and eat them, I think they could get in an out in less than 30 minutes. I think this is a classic example of what Joel would call “arrogance.”
Also, to Ygna Pocpower reverse racism is a certainly a thing. I saw this many times going to a diverse high school with many teachers of African-American descent. Many of these teachers would treat the Caucasian kids terribly and the African-American kids like kings. It was sad to see.
You’re racist as shit.
White people? Or people that have warm water? Don’t assume that white folks are more privileged. There are plenty of white people who don’t have warm water to bathe in. (Like in Russia, for example)
Jason Cheshire says
Joe Midnight – what a victim!
Fran McHugh says
I’ve had to take cold showers in the past, just because there wasn’t any hot water. Not a big deal, though I prefer hot. OTOH, it has been a long time and I’m up for a challenge. I’m in starting with tomorrow’s shower. See you in 30 days.
I hate you Joel for posting this lol and my husband for not paying the gas bill! So i read this and decided to try it. I was in the shower and was so afraid of the cold water hitting my body. I was a bit upset of what i was afraid of “cold water” really! So i just jumped in front of the shower head and let the water hit me saying to my self it’s only five minutes, it’s only five minutes and before you knew it i was out. Felt great!! Thanks
I love this blog! I’m going to try and do this! And your posts are really inspiring! Right now I’m trying really hard to get better, but I find I don’t push myself enough. I always reach the workout goal, but I still leave disappointed. Because I know how good I do on race day, depends on how hard I push myself today, and everyday, but I don’t push myself enough. I believe your blog is going to help me become more determined so I can achieve my goals and push myself more . Thank you 🙂
I love reading motivating articles and things that make me rethink things. What is funny is that I already take cold showers and have for the majority of my life. So I just spent the last few minutes going through the reasons why and when I do this. I do this when I need extra focus to accomplish something usually physical. The physical activity (martial arts, cross fit, or weights/running) is going to be uncomfortable already, so I think I am just prepping myself. I also take them a lot in the morning just to amp up my system to get ready for the day.
I am starting right now going to track my consecutive cold showers and lets see where it goes.
Yeah, I don’t know if this is working for me. I have been doing it for a week now and since the beginning I actually enjoyed the cold showers. Since I don’t find it uncomfortable, does that mean I get none of the psychological rewards?
Not at all, that means you finally got out of the discomfort and can reap the full benifits.
I have cold showers. Hot showers dry out the skin. I also don’t use soap or shampoo or any product of any kind and just let my skin look after itself. For millions of years our bodies were capable of managing itself and then soap came along and like hot showers, we don’t need it. People think I am completely crazy and maybe I am but I am free.
Nenad Ristic says
I have been wanting to try cold showers for a while based on the health benefits. Your posts pushed me into actually trying them.
I am still working my way up to five minutes. At the moment, I just start with the cold one, and then jump out, and have a warm shower to actually clean myself… But I will get there.
I started CST just a few days ago, and I was incredibly surprised and embarrassed at how many excuses ran through my head to prevent me from doing it! I knew that I’d let myself “slip” a few years ago, but I hadn’t realized how far I’d slipped.
Such a simple, brutally honest, and effective self-test. Thank you, sir.
Just did the challenge, 5min cold shower, talk about brain freeze, that was cold, boy do I know I’m alive, it was actually invigorating.
Already take the cold showers… best feeling in the world.. mostly a physical thing, but there has always been a slight feeling of having achieved something. Having conquered something most people cannot. If I have time I take 10 minute cold showers.. This actually reminds me of a passage in the Bible in the “parable of the talents”.. the line goes “you have been faithful over a little, I will put you incharge over alot”. I suppose these guys figured out the human condition.. and make people fast etc so that they can conquer the “little” things before tackling the big things in life
Hey man, I agree with you. Cold showers do a lot of good and they’ve certainly improved my life, but there’s no reason to start feeling superior because you do it. No need to push things on your friends –or strangers, I don’t know your life– if they clearly don’t want to start taking cold showers. People don’t change their habits just because someone tells them they should. It’s not right to be so elitist about something as simple as taking cold showers. They probably say it’s “stupid” and other stuff because you’re annoyingly pushing it on them so hard. Relax, man — not everyone needs to be like you. Cold showers aren’t for everyone.
I only started taking cold showers a few months back when the hot water unit broke down at my house. Once I got over the initial shock at the start (it’s far easier if you wet your arms and legs first before moving onto your head and torso) it was refreshing, and now I actually find it enjoyable and wanted to see if anyone else felt the same. I only take hot showers on Sundays now. Very good article!
I don’t get why people can’t take cold showers. Wait a second, yes I do. I love hot showers. I’m trying to take cold showers now but I know why I didn’t want to.
I’m not even sure if I’m spending 5 minutes in the shower. I have to admit I’m keeping them as short as necessary to get clean and that today was only my second day. I shampoo and I cover myself in soap and I rinse. That’s it. It gives me a headache. I think it’s similar to brain freeze.
I’m doing it to save energy and I hope I can do it for life.
sam jones says
This is the stupidest furum i have ever read. Your 2 reasons are arrogance and innability. You are arrogant for assuming this. The truth is that you actually get clean when using warm water but dont with cold so who the hell wants to get under cold water for no friggin reason when its as easy as turning on warm water. As for innability, i am pretty sure it isnt going to kill anyone if they must have a cold shower, its just a smart preference. Why would you even begin to think that everyone has to try to be uncomfortable to enjoy life? Next time you start a forum do some thinking first dumba$$
Jordan Sims says
I believe you were trying to spell “forum” and “inability”. You can get as clean by taking cold shower, and probably in a shorter time, thus saving water and heating energy and helping the environment, so I don’t know if hot water is a “smart preference.” Just keep that in mind if you don’t believe the health benefits. Regarding your question, Joel says that the point of being uncomfortable is to practice making tougher, difficult, and non-normal choices, not to enjoy life. If you can’t make the harder choice of taking a cold shower for five minutes, the worst case scenario of which would be you being cold and hating Joel and no one else would be affected, how would you make other harder choices in life that would have greater consequences and affect not just you but also many others?
“Why would you even begin to think that everyone has to try to be uncomfortable to enjoy life?”
I’m not sure if this applies to anyone else, but in my case, I stayed within my comfort zone for most of my life. I was quite, quite depressed. I began to feel much better when I allowed myself to stretch my limits and reach out of my comfort zone.
I also don’t understand why you need to be so angry at Joel. He is simply trying to enrich others’ lives, to make them appreciate what they have and do service to them. Even if his post was “arrogant” it would still far outstrip your uncalled-for post in terms of helping others. We already have enough people striking down those who do good, so please don’t become one of them (:
I don’t think you really read the entire forum, for you have failed to acknowledge the fact that challenging yourself by taking a step outside of your comfort zone has beneficial impacts in the long run. Additionally, there are many more benefits in taking a cold than a warm/hot shower. However, it all just comes down to whether one wants to do it or not. The bottom line, it’s alright if you don’t choose to take a cold shower, but don’t attack the writer himself just because you strongly disagree.
well Sam Jones in answer to your question “who the hell wants to get under cold water for no friggin reason?” My answer is someone (like me) who enjoys the happy brain chemistry boost(dopamine/serotonin), and the stimulation of the vagus nerve for the neurogenesis boost to help heal his previously encephalitis damaged grey matter so that he can feel that he is fulfilling his purpose of being sent back here whilst he was in the process of crossing those final curtains, so that once he manifest some first hand evidence of the healing power of this Misogi/Ishnaan way, he can help convince more folks that there is nothing to fear, and there’s so much to gain including these long list of healings, plus an energetic liberation feeling of owning a really smart meter on the gas supply which continues to never read more than zero units used for 5+ years now, and hence the satisfaction that he is doing his bit to “kill many birds with one stone”, by helping making this way much more common and more accessable for so many folks in those looming global epidemics to discover, and overcome their issues like depression/anxiety, obesity, cancer(prevention), so that they too can be happy to be energetically liberated and happy to be adding their helping touch to heal our shared home Mother Earth who might be soon wishing that she could have one of those “friggin cold showers” before she gets all hot and bothered about so many of us carbon footprint heavy humans being here.
Oh! and also who else wants to get under cold water shower would also be like me who in the early days of moving in to this new flat wished that there was a way to not have to turn on the extractor fan to remove the steam when showering, and so who is now always “dreaming of a white Christmas…” so that he can still be plucking up the courage to open the window before he gets all invigorated and happy chemistry boosted and ready to head out to take a walk in the local neighbourhood following these words of guidance “Going step by step with a smile on your face you can be happy to know that you’ll get to the right place”, so that like this he shall be doing his bit to create a bit of world peace (Mother Teresa style) in his piece of the world.
But I guess that your right in some sense that some folks who’s main reason for showering is not for health purposes but just to overcome the fear of being called Mr smelly, they might find it quite an impossible task to just chill out a bit 😉
Raquel Toledo says
COLD SHOWERS ARE THE SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!They might be tough in the first minute…but once you master the cold water…you think to yourself…that’s all it is….and think that way next time you are in a situation that causes you pressure….I really like this article!
I’ve been taking cold showers for a months or so now. I just stumbeled upon this site. Whatever. It’s the shit. Words can’t describe it. It’s the shit. It’s the shit. It’s the shit ….
I get it. It’s not stupid, or arrogant, or a slight against those that do not have access to cold water. That’s not the point. I get it, Joel. And I tried it. And it turned my day(s) around. Mental stagnation gets quickly cleared away by a). the cold and b). pushing yourself outside of a comfort zone, even if as minor as having a delicious, invigorating cold shower. Though I say ‘minor’, it clearly has struck a chord with a lot of people. That’s a good thing too. P.S. Your blog is the only blog I enjoy because it’s straight forward, no-nonsense and no bs. I like that. Glad to see others getting something from it too.
Brian Xie says
Does anyone know how Joel Runyon was able to get these people who don’t want to take hot shower to talk? And why not take cold showers just to save energy and water if people think it is stupid and doesn’t have health benefits?
Joel Runyon says
I didn’t “get” them to talk – they just email me.
Couldn’t I just eat something I don’t like too? Why is the shower specifically what holds these psychological benefits? And this isn’t really viable if you shave in the shower. And before I get crap for this comment, I’m really just looking for answers, and yes I have tried this.
Holy Hell. Just got out of my first cold shower. Is it bad that I am proud of myself for doing it. Few things though one mountain feed spring water that my house used is so cold it hurts. That said I wish the app kept time to see how long I was in. You really need to have your shower down to 5 minutes to make it easy on yourself. I just stood there and endured my usual which is about 10-15 minute. OMG brain freeze can happen on the outside and remember to breathe. all this said I cam clad I did it and may start doing them more though maybe a bit more tempered.
I’m going to do this. I have a love/hate relationship with the cold.
I live in Massachusetts and I love swimming in the ocean in May (waters 45 degrees), walking outside during the winter without a coat (20 degrees), refusing to turn the heat above 50 degrees in my house.
I hate the cold however I handle it well. Which is why I haven’t tried the cold showers yet, I can endure the cold very well, I just don’t like to be uncomfortable if I can help it.
Seeing these health benefits though has convinced me, it will be worth the discomfort, just like swimming in the ocean, keep the house heat low, and going for winter walks.
Hey Joel, don’t know if you will see this and reply but any tips or techniques for a fresh beginner. Maybe breathing techniques or something. My problems are freaking out cause its too fucking frigid. I really wanna start doing this. but seeing how I normally take long warm showers, the transition is going to be difficult but i’m willing to change
Joel Runyon says
Dive in head first and scream as loud as possible. Play the best pump up music you can think of.
I did this demonstration video to help show you how I do it – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTDeyPN9ohU
This article is ridiculously inspiring. I already take a cold shower everyday (I have no choice) so I don’t empathize with how hard taking a cold shower is, but that story about Bruce and running hit home.
Thank you for this.
For some reason I found this post and I was curious and started reading. I was about to actually get in the shower when I had found it and started reading (strange). Well half way through reading I got in the COLD shower. I took that COLD shower and I actually started enjoying it! No I didn’t take a 5 min. Shower I took a 6 min shower 🙂 thanks for inspiring me! Not many people do that! Crazy how one blog about a cold shower inspired me! 🙂 Thankyou 🙂
Kennon Brown says
Yesterday, April 23, 2014 was my 30th day of starting with an ice shower.
I didn’t want to do it, but that ‘win’ first thing in the morning sets up my day like nothing else.
I also discovered something important that marks the difference (for me) between goals I hit and those I fail to hit.
The cold shower is a thing I do. Done. Achieved. Success.
Sticking to a diet was a huge list of things I had to not do, over and again, each time temptation come up. Not so much of a success for this goal.
But now I have flipped the format of my diet.
Instead of things to avoid, I have a plan of meals that I must eat each day.
Ate my healthy breakfast, done. Achieved.
Ate a the planned lunch, bingo!
Ate the dinner I had decided on ahead of time. Success!
Turns out that passing on the snacks is a lot easier if my real goal was to get all of that good food into me first.
Thanks for the challenge.
Sorry about cursing your name in a loud voice every morning for the last month.
Holy shit, we started on the same day!
Excuse me for being negative and call this thing stupid, I was taking cold showers because I like the cold water shock on my body, yeah I am weird like that, anyhow, I ended up with a major case of bronchitis. Stupid, stupid, stupid… I do sneak a cold shower here and there once in a while, but the wife really gets on my case when she finds out I do it… ugh.
Marco Angioluci says
Just finished my cold shower. That was great.
“I will train my mind and my body will follow”
I already take cold showers. As it is, there are people in this world who have to walk miles to get what I can turn on a faucet to have, and a fair amount of my life has been sandpaper instead of Charmin anyway. What’s a little cold water?
Jeff Edwards says
Just wanted to let you all know that I’m 17 and have been doing cold showers, morning and night for an entire year. Never in that time have I even touched the hot water tap.
My parents divorced, my dad committed suicide and my life turned upside down, and that’s when I decided to do it. Since then, my life has done a full 360 degree turn and I attribute that to being able to do something that takes my full willpower to accomplish twice a day.
I’m a happy person and I hope you guys will find the same type of happiness if you decide to take the challenge.. And who knows.. Maybe like me, you’ll continue with it for the rest of your life because of all the benefits it has to offer!
360 de green turn means you are facing the same way as before lmaooooooo
Found this after going on your paleo site. Here’s what happened:
3 wks ago: Read paleo blog, started the diet, felt remarkably better, noticed some of the weight in my body appeared to be water. Bought OTC diuretics and they helped. I work out 3x/wk, eat well, but hovered around 175 lbs for 8 yrs, since an accident/emergency neurosurgery on my back. I was strong but round like the Michelin (wo)man.
2 wks ago: Became a Joel fan and found this site. Saw the post on CST and tried it (for as long as I could – was diagnosed with Hashimotos 3 yrs ago, body temp is 96-97 degrees even with meds). The story about Bruce hit home in a major way. As 2nd shower cleared my head, decided to go to my doc and demand to be tested. She started me on a better diuretic, ran tests for everything that might cause edema. I began riding my bike everywhere instead of driving. Went to the gym with your advice of high intensity. Kept up with paleo and cold-ish showers.
1 wk ago: Went camping 4 days in Ruby Mtns at 7500 ft, rode bike 4.5 miles straight up a canyon with a 1200 ft elevation change, went down an extra 2 miles and did 2 more miles up; went on hikes, about 16 miles and 2500 ft elevation gain. Every time I thought I could go no further, I would say “then die.” I’d stop and breathe for 2 minutes and go on. Ate paleo, sat in glacier-melt rivers. Came home, doc called, no heart disease/liver or renal failure/etc. Looking at major gluten sensitivity from the stress of the accident, or could be celiacs. Carrying over 30+ lbs water and hashimotos may have been triggered by it. Road biked 20 miles in celebration, including my nemesis hill.
I am 49 and can see definition in my lower arms for the first time since 2006. The look of being 9 mo. pregnant is subsiding (maybe look 4-5). I have redefined the word “possible.” Still can’t take a 5 min ice-cold shower, but haven’t taken even close to a warm one since.
I’ve been scared for a majority of my life, since being sexually abused as a kid. I put myself in a comfort bubble as an adult, as if I deserved distance from discomfort or “un-ease”, to the point where I didn’t even recognize the protective skin ballooned around me, accepted it as my fate. A new attitude is rising from my shrinking gut: ok world, whatever you’ve got. F-you. Here I come.
You helped me push the reset button: 3 weeks, a life.
What if I had never stumbled onto your sites? What if you had never written them?
Forever grateful Joel, forever grateful.
I love the feeling of a cold shower, I’ve only tried it a few times so far.
But i do have a concern. I have a heart condition, I’m wondering if this makes it dangerous for me.
Damn, thank you man, I feel awesome! After the article I kind of hated you, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought, I just got out and I feel great! Will defenitely do this more often, just to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
I love you.
Joel, I’m so interested in cold showers that I’m writing a speech about it for a college class. Thanks for your article, insight, and example! I have started taking cold showers and I have noticed how much better I feel. It’s empowering!
Hey Joel, I started my CST eight days ago! I took your advice. I downloaded the app, got up nice and early (about 5:00 AM), turned on the timer, and jumped right in at the coldest setting I could. I love it! I don’t think I could ever go back to taking hot showers. They are way to steamy and make me tired. I plan on taking them for the next year and most likely forever. They’ve got me over my excuses and I stopped eating as unhealthy. I have also started exercising regularly again. I don’t watch as much TV (in fact I would rather go for a run or lift) Thank you very much!
Started cold showering before coming across this challenge – definitely a kickass way to start the day. Water at my place is drawn from a well in Canada. When I turn that sucker on 100% cold I get a brain freeze in <5 seconds, just cant keep my head submerged, but it feels great anyways.
Mark Boris says
I’ve got the cold showers down. Been doing it for 3 months now. Only question is, what’s next? How can I keep pushing myself to reach that next level? What’s harder than a cold shower?
I think it’s awesome that I am not the only one that thinks cold showers are a way to get out of the comfort zone. I started trying this a few days ago but didn’t tell anyone because I thought people would think I’m corny. But after reading this I want to tell everyone to try it lol. And I do feel very good after I get out of the shower. As wierd as it sounds I feel more confident and proud of myself. Before I tried this I would take really hot almost 20 minute showers. I am a person that never comes out of her comfort zone and it’s time for a change. Next task: waking up early. Lol
I love cold showers, while I am in the shower at least, but the problem is that I get really tired and sleepy after that.Why is that? Anyone else?
I found this website today, and saw the cold shower therapy… I was so ready to try it! I jumped in my shower and turned it as cold as it would go… Then I became sad because I found out that my shower literally can’t get cold enough, the coldest it goes is a little below body temperature, not even enough to make me flinch ie tense yup, let alone shiver or feel uncomfortable in any way. So, there is one more reason to add to this list, make sure you have cold water!
Whoops! I meant “flinch or tense up”. Stupid phone with these little letters.
I take cold showers because I live in a squat and I’m afraid that using the water heater will tip-off the building owner that someone lives here.
This article is full of arrogance, so how can you have the odacity to speak on other peoples’ own arrogance. I assume you probably felt real satisfied to sit down in front of your computer, curled in your micro-fiber blanket, while you typed out all this diarrhea. Allow me to stop you right here, before you jump to the conclusion that I cannot accomplish the amazing feat of taking a cold shower (for five whole minutes), or before you exclaim that I did not read your article. I took a freezing cold shower just hours ago, before work so that I would not smell. My place, where I have no choice but to live, because I am military and cannot move off base yet, has had no heated water for the past few days. Rather than smell bad, I endure a freezing cold shower; did I enjoy it? No, of course not, but I can take a cold shower for longer than five minutes. Give me a break. I probably read this article more times than half of your supporters. You practically bully these followers and make them feel like inferior human beings if they decide they don’t want to do your trendy hipster challenge. I feel sympathy for the poor sap on here complaining that he has come down with a cold from doing this adolescent challenge; and you don’t have the decency to respond to that poor guy either. There are many people out there with serious thyroid issues and bad circulation that have problems with cold, especially something like this. So should these people get sick or die, because they basically don’t want to be a wimp in your eyes. That right there is arrogance. If any of these silly people following this garbage believe that you will have a more fullfilling life because you take a 5 minute cold shower, then….. well I’m not going to say I feel bad for you or sorry for you, because that is insulting to your intelligence and disrespectful to you people; something the article writer did blatently throughout this article. How insulting to condescend to all these good people by saying you are sorry for someone who cannot accomplish this amazing task like you. No I feel sorry for you bro, because you actually believe this cold shower merits you some sort of credit in life, or this article for that matter. How misguided are you to believe that these people will go on and live a successful life from taking a shower. Should I go climb Mount Everest because I took a shit and didn’t pamper myself with baby wipes or fancy charmin toilet paper? Dude you are so deluded in this idea. People need an inspiration in life like good influences, a good father or mother figure, a community like a church or support group, a witness to push them to meet their goals. I don’t know your stuggle buddy, so I won’t pretend to, and I’m quite sure you have led a successful and fun life, but that’s not from taking a cold shower…. you are just an active person and a yes man, which are good things, but using this peer pressure tactic to get these people to take cold showers is just a nostalgic trip for you; you enjoy people taking your advice or maybe get off on the idea that they are actually going through with this idea.
I have willingly put myself through a tear gas chamber and breathed it in, been burnt by freshly fired brass ammunition, been tasered, been OC Sprayed (literally will blind you and make you think your throat and face are on fire), and I’ve been shot up with so many government vaccines and medicine that I probably have some weird cancer nestering away. Do I go on a nostalgic trip and let everyone know that they are a pussy because they won’t try it… no because I am not a hipster trying to make everyone do something weird. Also, before you use your “no need to resort to name calling” defense mechanism, just know all I am going to do is tell you to sack up because I’m not nice. Maybe those cold showers haven’t toughened you up after all, nancy. Congratulations on your five minute shower bro, real impressed.
Joel Runyon says
I’m pretty sure you could have taken a cold shower in the 5 minutes that it took you to write this response.
It’s not about being tough, it’s about being open & humble to potentially learning from new experiences. Have a great day.
I take cold showers 3 to 4 days a week (5-10 minutes with various lasting intervals) started with already cold water. It’s awesome experience, which began almost 10 years ago for me, albeit with some interruptions.
But here, my small observation: because I’m visiting swimming-pool 3 days a week I’ve noticed that my muscles are not as flexible after cold showers, and I need them to be like that for swimming, so then during this time I have to switch to hot water instead. Has anyone noticed that?
Actually, any type of shower is intensely painful. It takes hours just to get the damn temperature to the right one for your legs, then you need to do it for your torso…
Cold showers are an interesting idea, although as a girl I’d never do them while on my period. That would just be unnecessarily painful.
Joel Runyon says
If your goal is to be comfortable, you’re on the wrong site.
I cold shower FOR comfort. I like hot but always finish with 3 mins cold because 1) in the summer it stops me from then sweating in my clothes after I get out, dried and dressed, 2) in the winter I step out of the cold shower and instantly feel so wonderfully warm even when the bathroom is damn cold. I don’t feel at all cold while I dry and dress and that feeling stays for the next hour or two. 3) I feel so alert and alive after a cold shower. I absolutely love hot showers but often feel sluggish afterward.And yeah most of my family and friends think I’m nuts but to finish on cold is gold 🙂
I’ve also lived and work for a total of 5 years in places where I only had cold water for bathing/showers. I did not love that and wish everyone had access to hot showers when they want them. That said Joel’s point stands. Most times I shower I’m still tempted to skip the 3 mins of cold at the end. Nine times out of ten I don’t skip it and I never regret doing the cold. Making myself do it seems to set me up well for tackling the next thing in my day that I’d rather avoid or procrastinate on doing.
Be well however you shower!
Hi. I’ve been taking your cold shower challenge for two weeks now.
And I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with your article. It actually came across as… Super jerkish.
Until you walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes, don’t that they are just “unwilling to be uncomfortable” or “afraid” or “arrogant”. Not until you know for sure that they aren’t pushing themselves in other areas.
The cold shower challenge is a great way to challenge yourself, but it’s not for everybody. You need to understand that people are already challenging themselves in other ways. There are plenty of exceptions. That’s how human beings work, none of us are exactly the same.
Listen, I have to go in and out of hospital for cardiac problems and epilepsy. I do plenty of leaving my comfort zones when I get needles stuck in me while baring my ass in a stunning hospital robe. I do plenty of leaving my comfort zone going out to take classes so I can get a job just like everybody else despite everything wrong with my body and my brain. The cold shower certainly made a difference: it just took away something I use as a reward.
This article really comes across as assuming that nobody faces challenges. I don’t know if you intended it this way, it comes across as if you’re assuming a reader lives such a swell life that the worst challenge that may come their way would be a cold shower.
And for people like me who have serious medical issues, and are already working hard to overcome them, that is a seriously shitty thing to insist. Please try to understand that not everybody functions the same way as you, not everybody is in the same picture of health as you. The reality is that people challenge themselves in different ways.
A warm shower is my way of unwinding after a day of classes, or a day in hospital, or a day where I might have passed out. I’m already pushing my limits elsewhere, I think I’m just going to enjoy my warm shower.
Please, try to be more understanding of different people in the future.
Joel Runyon says
You realize that you’re reading this article on my site. I don’t chase people down to yell at them.
People are here for a reason. If you want to hear my viewpoint, you can read it here. Otherwise, there are lots of other places you can read about unwinding in a warm shower.
I found it fascinating. I had done the 30 days cold shower challenge in the past but ended up giving up of it because I lost the motivation.
I just saved this page in order to read it every once and a while so I can keep going with this self improvement tool called “cold shower”.
Thanks for that!!
I hope this is still active. Last post i see is from May 2016. Anyway, I heard about cold shower from the Jim Rome show on sports radio. At the time, he was interviewing an ex-military guy and from one of the excerpts was about taking cold shower. Jim asked him why? He said, it’s all about being uncomfortable and knowing that you can basically beat it. That every day is a reminder of obstacles in front of us that needed to be overcome. After hearing that on radio, I simply thought, why not try it. Seems easy enough, I don’t really need to buy anything or do anything special other than what I do every day already which is take shower, except this time with no hot water. Something clicked inside of me. I took it as a challenge, that I am in control of my mind. It’s all in my head is what I kept telling myself. And so, 2 + years later, I have taken nothing but cold showers, even in the dead of winter. Every day is a challenged but a challenged I look to overcome because I have proven I can do it, that I can beat it. It’s not easy and to be honest, it’s not something I really look forward too every day, but I know it’s doable and that’s what all that matters.
This probably is an idiotic question, but for the full five minutes is the point to suds up and shower and all that or just stand there and take in the cold without distraction?
In the past I often took cold showers and enjoyed the boost they’d give me afterwards.
Lately however I’ve noticed how I would feel a brief adrenaline rush directly afterwards and after that feel extremely tired and exhausted for the rest of the day. It might have to do with my burnout.
That’s of course keeping me from taking this habit up again. Has anyone else experienced this?
Are there any other health conditions in which it’s better to refrain from taking cold showers? All articles on cold showers are lacking this important information…
Jamie Shanks says
Good article. I just googled and found it after failing a cold shower attempt. It’s borderline impossible for me but I am trying and tomorrow will try again. Thing is, when I was standing naked in the bathroom, my first thought was “brrrr it’s cold in here” and I closed the window, that was when I knew I as in trouble, I did switch on the shower, I did stand next to the freezing water and got my feet and hands wet but I’m not ready yet to go under, but I want to be, I’m building to it but it’s terrifying.
Hello… I’ve been reading this post and i really loved it. But then. You don’t believe there even might be a medical situation to not bathing Cold Water?
When I was little, my parents will try to bath myself and my siblings. Once the water is poured on me, I start gasping for air a lot of times. They won’t even pour the first bailer of water on me before I start choking. Everyday. When I grew up a bit, I tried the same thing, I wanted to really do this. It was much but worse. The gasping was more worse than while i was younger. What do you have to say about that?
Joel Runyon says
I think it’s called breathing…
Yesterday was my 10th day of the 30 day cold water challenge. I’m at work now so haven’t done my 11th yet but am going to do it as soon as I get off work this afternoon (going to go for my run before that too). Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for putting this concept out there. I’ve always had this theory that people can be divided into two categories – dreamers and doers. What this means to me is that dreamers are those who live with their head in the clouds and have lots of wishes about what they want to do with their lives/change about themselves, etc. but they never do those things they think about. Those desires remain just dreams unfulfilled. Doers on the other hand think about things, make a plan or not, and just get out there in the world and do the things they desire to do. They may stumble, they may fail, but hey, at least they are out there doing it. I feel like for a long time I’ve lived in the dreamer category for a lot of reasons – comfortableness, laziness/procrastination, fear (that’s the biggest one for me). Anyway, I am tired of being a dreamer and I am challenging myself to become a doer – to do the things I’ve always wanted instead of letting life pass me by. This challenge has been very helpful for me so far in just forcing me to change the way that I’ve looked at my life so far. So here’s to you, and cold showers, and being a doer!
Matthew Adamczak says
I was told about the benefits of cold showers from a friend on a forum I subscribe too. I’m going to do cold showers. I don’t usually take 5min hot showers, do I still complete a full five minutes still?
This is awesome and so applicable to other areas of life. You’re a great writer and persuader. Thanks for sharing!
Robin Foster says
I met a woman at the gym who took a freezing cold shower. After using the shower for a few minutes, she’d head into the sauna and sweat a few minutes. Then… back into the shower. Then, back into the sauna. She’d repeat this shit for 30 minutes or more. The woman was kind of into a rough existence (in my mind)… she’d traveled all the way from Alaska to Seattle and was interviewing for a higher pay position. Apparently on her 4000 budget (for a short trip)?! she couldn’t afford a hotel at the end of it. She was also happier to sleep in a doorway than in a woman’s shelter (couldn’t understand that, either). Didn’t want a full sized cup of coffee, only wanted a little one. Also had a hairstyle that reminded me of Mormon FLDS women, and a negative, sour disposition.
She didn’t make cold showers look marketable, fun, enjoyable or worth being brave enough for.
I had a roommate in Berkeley who had ridden his bike all the way from New Jersey to California. On the way there, he ate nothing but raw, vegan seeds and nuts and things he kept in jars.. His bike wasn’t that nice. He CAMPED all the way across the country. He dressed like Jesus.
While I do find these daring things to be “muscley” and something to be proud of, I’m not getting involved.
The worse I could do was consider walking across the US, alone. Then I realized that that would be a bad idea for a woman. I’m not daring enough to even shower in front of others and think a shower should be a warm, private place where trauma isn’t relived. I hate even showering in public places, shared bathrooms or a gym and am a poor candidate.
I won’t try eating things like grasshoppers, either.
No, thank you 🙂
Joel Runyon says
I bet you could have taken a cold shower in the time it took you to write out the reasons why you can’t do it.
Terker Jerbs says
This article would have been better if it wasn’t so incredibly condescending.
“If you don’t take cold showers you’re weak or arrogant.”
Yeah, that’s how to get people on your side of the argument.
Joel Runyon says
I’m sorry you don’t like my free blog.
I beg to differ!!
I can’t take cold showers because I’m severely anemic and they are, y’know, too cold. Whenever I turn the shower to cold I can’t breathe for a few minutes, which is pretty normal of cold showers, but then after I get out, I’m physically blue, and cannot get warm for the rest of the day. My skin is cold and clammy to touch.
You might be placing too much meaning on people’s refusal to take cold showers. The same people who reward themselves with hot showers, might put themselves in uncomfortable situations in a variety of other ways. By the way, I enjoy taking cold showers. I just don’t let myself judge people who doesn’t.
Joel Runyon says
You’re missing the point.
This post totally got me into the cold shower. Thank you. 21 days straight now, sometimes twice a day. Water isn’t that cold, about 11.7 C (53 F), but does the job. Hear me rooooooarr! Try in and stay as long as a normal hot shower.
Don’t know why I was so stuck. Gone swimming in spring UK sea waters a couple of before, which are pretty frigid, cause my brother in law thought it would be a great idea. Think the surfers thought we were nuts. When the waves crashed over my head, instant brain and head freeze… So these cold showers should have been easy??
But I was stuck. Am unstuck now. Cheers.
Fucking been struggling a bit in school and unmotivated doing in the fitness goals I set in the summer before the school year, my grades dropped in the first half of the school year in the fall and my fitness was worse than it was before the summer, all as a result of arrogance and the constant desire to feel comfortable, the effort I put in life and in school dropped considerably. After the New Years, I was still taking warm showers but I had a stronger mindset, and my school grades improve, but as soon as this whole coronavirus pandemic began, I took the opportunity to take cold showers as in like as cold as they can go, and my grades just went up and up ever since and I’ve also been putting more effort into just learning new things and my fitness as an individual as well in life. So I think I’m never going to stop cold showers anytime soon I’m just gonna get strive better and become a stronger and better person everyday.
I’m 16 years old, and I made a simple change, and if you can’t make a simple change to cold showers, then just remember you’ve probably done much harder things in your life than lower the temperature of your everyday shower.
Thanks Joel, really appreciate u.
It took me some googling to find back this blog again.. it was one of the first links when i looked up cold showers back then, now theres a whole bunch of popular sites raging about why cold showers are good for u (go figure), didn’t bother reading them because i was trying to find my way back here.
Anyways, you truly inspired me. I had ran my ass into the shower halfway into reading your blog. And i felt validated when i came back to read your words about those who didn’t need to take cold showers are the ones who were in them before even finishing reading.
I think I just needed to prove to myself that I could do it, even though u were egging me on as a challenge. I honestly hate cold water, hell i don’t even want to be in a pool and cant swim. (Hoping to learn to swim in the future) i needed to prove to myself that it wasnt a one time thing so i decided to keep taking cold showers every night, i dont think i ever went the full 5 mins since i usually finish showering in 3-4mins (prob hurry my ass up cus its so cold haha) but i could prob last an extra minute if i really wanted to. Maybe more..
I think i continued to take cold showers for a few months and then just went back to hot showers one day. That felt pretty good but i felt like i learned a lot about myself and proved that i could continuously force myself to do it over and over again.
After 2-3 years-ish, today this morning i jumped into a cold shower again just to prove to myself that i could still do it.
I think taking cold showers is definitely a difficult task for people who are used to having hot showers. Can’t really say the same for people who have been doing it their whole lives.. or if people with medical problems should try it but anyways i personally have been truly inspired so thanks again Joel Runyon i will remember your name now.
The idea isn’t just about the cold shower, its about being able to willingly put yourself in an uncomfortable position and not immediately run away from it right after and make excuses. Just do it- no excuses. It’s not going to kill you( for the normal person.. ) … or dont and live life all comfortable as you like.. nothing wrong with that either. If you are however able to push yourself, you will learn that you really can do anything, and you can do the hard things in life that people normally wouldn’t dare to do.
Can’t express my gratitude enough Joel. Thanks again.
Linda Gao says
I don’t like cold showers, yet to keep myself awake I would take it. My friends said its bad for my health, I thought it was true, but I still took cold showers, until I found this article. It is soo helpful. Thank You!!!
(Is it okay if after I take cold showers, I feel its hard to move my body?)