"You won't get it for free!"
-Wim Hof, talking about persevering through the exercises
I first heard about Wim Hof on the Tim Ferriss podcast. It was immediately apparent he was his own character. He was talking about something different, which was exciting. I watched the VICE Documentary on him, and if I wasn't sold on him before, that sealed it.
To get a better understanding of Wim Hof, and what he's all about, I'll link to a couple sources.
I paid the $200 and started. I had high, but skeptical, expectations when I began the 10-week program. I printed off the Manual/Workbook and got started. I watched the videos on the website and completed my first day. I wasn't too much into the stretching part at first. The retention was O.K the first couple days, but on Day-3 I was able to get all four rounds up to around 2 minutes.
Something I noticed early, and again later, was a sense of haphazard design. I saw it in the pages of the Manual/Workbook, with some of the videos, and the website. It seemed like the website was going through a big change in platform, and that may have affected the lack of response to many of the questions posed.
Big take away throughout, was the enduring belief that your mind has so much more power than you think.
Questions, I think myself, and some others, could have used a little more direction in the process. It was confusing sometimes how many breathing rounds was supposed to be done each week.
Breathing posture, I experimented with sitting up, leaning against a wall, or laying down while doing the breathing. I had the best luck sitting up with something behind me to lean on if I needed it.
Consistency, it is important for me to mention that I only did the WHM five days out of the week. I did not have perfect consistency. I can imagine that I would have got more out of my breathing if I would have spent more days working on it.
Push-ups, I was impressed by how many push-ups I could do without air in the lungs, or breathing. However, my push-ups plateaued at around 20. Although I hoped they would improve, the activity was still empowering.
Exercises, stretching, poses, these all seemed like a side job to me and less important. However as the weeks continued they all add to the mindset that is required to go fully into the method. So I wouldn't recommend skipping them.
Breathing week-to-week, I had varying experiences with the breathing. A couple times I had a mini-loss of memory, other times I felt totally relaxed in the retention, and others I just struggled with it. I would mess up the timing sometimes because I was distracted by the breathing. I would recommend using a REALLY easy way to keep track of times. Something that can record the splits quickly.
Cold showers, the cold showers were great. I loved/hated that part. Every time I got out of the shower I felt ready to go and refreshed. My favorite week was the 10-minute cold shower week. I worked my way up to 10-minutes in a cold shower (starting at just being able to do 5-minutes).
Ice baths, I was doing ice baths towards the end, and I getting into the second breathing technique. I actually still do this breathing method when I take cold showers or baths now (even though I'm done with the method). It does take some work, but it evokes and interesting feeling.
Final challenge, my final challenge was hiking on a snowshoeing path by Snoqualmie Pass. I was shirtless, wearing a beanie, shorts, boots, and no gloves. The no gloves became a problem and I had to re-clothe myself after a while. I had hiking poles and I think that contributed to my hands not being able to stay warm. However, the rest of my body did great during the hike. I lasted 35-40 minutes with the temperature hovering just below freezing.
Final Thoughts, the WHM is a commitment. It takes up an hour of your day for weeks. If you plan to do it, make sure you have the availability in your week. Wim is so inspiring in his belief in the human mind and power from within. The first time you get a positive physiological response from the method you will be on fire. It's exhilarating. On the negative side, I do not think I got the same benefit that others get. THE MOST INTERESTING THING occurred the week after I finished the exercises. My mood went south. I felt really down and unmotivated. It took me a-week-and-a-half to hypothesis that I had not been paying much attention to my increased mood and energy during the WHM and now that I was done my mood suffered. Because of this, I have worked cold exposure back into my daily routine (with success!).