Want to lose weight fast?
Talk to any doctor, and they’ll explain the problem is burning enough calories to make your body kill off the fat.
See, fat is just your body’s way of storing energy. If you eat more calories than you burn with exercise, you get fat, and if you burn more calories than you eat, you get skinny… right?
Not so fast. Exercise and chowing down aren’t the only two options your body has for burning off and taking in energy.
We can get energy from our environment as work (or exercise) sure, but it turns out heat works just as well.
(So does matter — ‘excretion’ — but we’re not going to go into that here!)
For would-be fat burners, that means there’s some serious good news.
Probably the most depressing fact in the history of weight loss is that running a marathon only burns 2,600 calories… which is the equivalent of three-quarters of a pound of fat.
On the other hand, changing the temperature around you is a simple, easy, and wickedly effective way to start burning a ton of calories really fast.
The inspiration for cold temperatures and weight loss actually comes from the Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps.
A NASA scientist was watching TV when he heard that Phelps had to eat 12,000 calories a day to maintain his body mass.
By conventional weight-loss math, this would require Phelps to swim a competitive butterfly for an incredible 10 hours a day.
Not only would this be a completely superhuman feat, but it wasn’t true. Phelps only spent three or four hours a day in the water.
The key turns out to be the water itself. Because water conducts heat away from Phelps’ body so well, even the 82-degrees Fahrenheit water is the equivalent of spending those three or four hours a day in a really cold room.
In order to keep his body at 98.6 degrees (which is body temperature for almost all humans), Phelps’ metabolism has to chew through calories like there’s no tomorrow.
The NASA scientist, a man named Ray Cronise, realized he could get the same benefits without spending 3-4 hours each day simply by lowering the temperature of the water.
On his first attempt with this new trick, he lost six pounds in a week.
Benefits of an Ice Bath
Ice baths for fat loss don’t just amp up the rate at which the body burns calories.
They’ve been shown to increase testosterone levels, which is a critical hormone for burning off fat and gaining muscle. (Both men and women need it — men have more of it, but women are more sensitive to its effects.)
And not only is testosterone a key tool in your fight to bring down body fat, because of the way it regulates fat metabolism, glucose, and insulin, but as your levels of testosterone increase so too does your strength and muscle mass.
In addition to burning fat and boosting testosterone, ice baths improve your sleep, help your muscle recovery, and improve your blood flow too.
They may even amp up your personal energy levels. Why?
Athletes have known for years that cold baths are an important tool in quickly recovering from injuries, and it turns out that taking a dip in shivering-cold water also helps your body recover from the minor strains it has to deal with during exercise and day-to-day life.
In fact, one of the earliest ice bath aficionados was none other than Harry Houdini, the great magician and escape artist.
Since he risked his life on a weekly basis, having audiences tie him up and chain him hand and foot before tossing him into ice-cold rivers, Houdini had to be able to tolerate the cold.
Therefore, Houdini had a special tub installed in his house which he would pack with ice, and take progressively longer and colder baths.
Just like anyone looking to use ice bath therapy for weight loss should never simply jump into ice-cold water, Houdini started out with merely cool water and short baths.
Over time he added more ice and took longer baths, until he could survive for long periods in the freezing (sometimes nearly frozen over) temperatures which he’d encounter in his stunts.
That wasn’t all..
Over time, Houdini discovered the same thing the NASA scientist and many others have found out — that his ice baths amped up his metabolism and gave him a massive energy boost to take on the day. (It got to the point where Houdini considered them a vital part of his routine.)
How To Perform an Ice Bath for Fat Loss
You don’t have to be as extreme as Houdini or as painstaking as a NASA scientist to experience the benefits of an ice bath for fat loss.
Here’s what to do.
1) Before you go to sleep at night, put ice packs on your upper chest and on your upper back for half an hour.
(This simple step alone produced 60% of weight loss of the whole technique when it was tested by body-hacking guru Tim Ferris.)
2) For the actual ice bath, fill up a tub with cold water and dump in about ten pounds of ice.
Use a thermometer to check the water is near freezing, as this method won’t work well if the water is too warm.
3) Over several baths, work your way up to the point where you can sit up to your waist in the water for 10 minutes at a stretch.
You should do these cold baths three times a week, and you can get an additional boost from taking cold showers.
Again, this is not something you should start “cold turkey” — but cold has been shown in many studies to be a powerful fat burner.