Climb Everest in shorts, check. Run a marathon in the Sahara without water, check. How about Kilimanjaro in two days in just shorts? Check.
Wim Hof currently holds 26 world records for all sorts of unbelievable feats, of which he puts down to developing breathing-techniques, cold exposure, mind-set & physical exercises otherwise known as the “Wim-Hof Method”.
When I first discovered Wim Hof I was taken aback by his ability to control his internal state to outside elements. After reading more around the science of what he is doing furthered with watching the Vice documentary & BBC pieces on him, I started to become fascinated with his capabilities.
While I regularly practise meditation and have been on yoga courses in the past, when the opportunity to learn directly from the iceman himself presented, I knew it was something that I unquestionably had to explore go to the next level.
What is the ‘method’
Wim’s method is based around getting your bodies 100,000 miles of blood vessels and brain fully oxygenated.
When doing it fully, it involves around 15-20 minutes of power breathing. So much breathing that my body started to tingle, both body and head felt incredibly light and bursts of involuntary laughter ensued.
After we hit this zone we all fully exhaled and did press ups. Whats interesting was how many I could do without taking single breath/ feeling strained (even after waking up incredibly sore from competing in Edinburgh’s toughest the day before).
The next breath in was then held for around a minute.
Then it was back for round two. Back in a comfortable position, and back into power breathing. After hitting the zone again he told us to inhale, hold and imagine the oxygen flowing into our heads.
Doing the inhale and exhale exercises together in sequence completed the method.
Time for the ice bath
After a morning of exercising and breathing it was time to hit a pool full of ice.
Feeling super human and on a high I was ready for just about anything… Or so I thought.
Getting into pool full of ice up to the neck isn’t something I could really describe with words. What it does is shake and ground your core to the centre of its very being.
The initial 20-30 seconds its like every cell in your body is screaming get the fuck out!
Luckily Wim is training your mind during this intense time like a military instructor… Breathe mother fucker!
Once your body starts to find a rhythmic breathing pattern and your mind becomes laser focused on mastering your state the ice starts to become less affective and almost welcoming.
After that we sat down with Wim and had a conversation about mindset. This is something that a mentor Tom Bilyeu has been drilling into me over the past year and I saw a lot of commonalities between the way they both think.
For example the mind-set needed to climb everest like many challenges in life is one where you need to follow everything from start to finish not just half way. When going up everest Wim knew that only 15% of people die going up. The rest, on the decent. When we feel like we are achieving something or having hit a goal, it’s very easy to become unfocused and that’s where the trouble often unfolds.
Staying committed from the initial stage all the way through to the objective completion is huge.
Wim also talked about the idea of being the master of your own body and dispelling fear at all cost as an enemy.
When you boil it down Wim’s method isn’t complex, actually it’s quite beautifully simple.
Sometimes less is more.