From October 10th, 2017 to October 10th, 2018 I committed to cold-only showers.
Truth be told, I started regularly having cold-only showers way before that; though wasn't fussed if one of my kids jumped in with me and we added some hot water.
But for one year straight, including the two weeks at the BMX World Champs, I had cold-only showers.
Many asked what the motivation was.
Below are some of the influencing factors.
Practice What I Preach
At various stages of my career there was a good chance I was one of the stronger guys in my gym.
Obviously working with tennis players (no matter how elite) and junior athletes, this is hardly a boast.
Working with elite BMXers is slightly different.
As a forty year old father of two, I also have different goals, motivations and time frames than I used to.
Yet every day I am asking my athletes to push themselves out of their proverbial comfort zones.
I feel it's important that I lead the way in this regard.
One reason I had cold-only showers was to show my athletes I, too, get out of my comfort zone.
Comfort Zone Size
In our gym we often chat about the time spent in our Comfort Zones.
We have a philosophy that the longer the time we spend in our Comfort Zones the smaller they become; while the more time we spend out of our Comfort Zones the bigger they become (i.e. we can tolerate more stress).
By committing to a year-long challenge I feel my Comfort Zone has increased.
Perception is reality.
Therefore we can aim to either change reality or change our perception.
Jumping into a cold shower (especially when there is frost on the ground outside) puts our body into a mini-survival mode. This doesn't eliminate the stress, just our perspective of the stress.
There were many times I craved a long, hot shower: returning from trips overseas, after a weekend of presenting a workshop, when an athlete doesn't get the result they'd worked for...
The cold shower would often revitalise me, renewing my energy to focus on the next step.
There are some scientific benefits to 'cold exposure' (e.g. up-regulation of Heat Shock Proteins, etc.) but they weren't my motivating factors.
Also, in April 2018 I fasted for five consecutive days. This is what I learned.