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4th March 2019

Ice bathing and CrossFit

You’ve probably heard that ice bathing is remarkably good for you, and they’re right. Nations have been doing it for centuries and the positive effects are well documented. But it goes much deeper than that for me.

For me I truly believe we can all change for the better. I truly believe I can help people do that in every aspect. In fact, it’s a fundamental part of why I do what I do. I believe I can help improve the quality of people’s lives and everything I do is moving towards that goal. Not just physically but mentally too. From the seminars, to my anxiety work with others, to volunteering to mentor young people, to CrossFit to ice bathing and book writing. If something doesn’t fit into my mission of helping others be a better version of themselves then I don’t do it.  

We meet up at the beach every Sunday during the winter. Sit by the side and focus for about 10 mins on our breathing. It looks a bit hippy but bare with me! Oxygen is actually remarkable. We could get right into the science of it but you’re entire body feels amazing and it actually helps with the pain. You can centralise yourself better because you are more focused and it starts to work as a natural pain killer (which helps with getting into the icy water!).

Why do we focus on breathing first? There are many reasons but put yourself in the military state of mind. When you’re in a war zone and all is not going well and you’re in a position when you think things could come on top for you, what’s the one thing you can regulate to calm yourself down? You start to focus on within and not with-out and you start to cope much better. In stressful situations, taking yourself away for 5 mins to get your body and mind in a better state is one of the best coping mechanisms for anxiety. This is much like CrossFit. You’re about to start a workout and you know this one is going to be tough (they all are) and your heart rate starts to elevate. Focusing on your breath work puts you in a much better place to cope with the workout. High pressure meetings or stressful work situations are the same. Practice your breath work and everything will be much better. 

Then the ice. The cold is both liberating and righteous. It takes tremendous courage and discipline to get into the water and both of those characteristics are desirable in every walk of life and we much practice them to improve them. Don’t get me wrong, this stuff hurts. The ice is unforgiving and relentless, up to a certain point. Then you start to develop an understanding of the cold and by focusing on breathing, the cold starts to become distant and tolerable. You can feel it, but you can separate yourself from it, like an observer of your body. This is much the same as CrossFit! It’s tough and it hurts but you get to a point of observation of yourself, almost distant and you start to learn how your body copes with the pain and still performs to a high standard. 

To me, CrossFit and the ice are the same thing and have the same remarkable benefits. Im not saying you should just go ahead and jump in! You should build up to this and go in with some experienced people and build up gradually. The cold and CrossFit are amazing teachers and a deeper part of why I do what I do and my life mission – to inspire others to do the things that inspire them. 

Ben

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