Cold Thermogenesis: One Month Into the Cold

So this week brings about the close to the 4 weeks since Paleo FX.  Over the last 4 weeks, I’ve been implementing some protocols that I learned while in Austin.  Most notably: Jack Kruse’s Cold Thermogenesis and Leptin Reset Protocol, Bulletproof Coffee, turning the lights out as soon as possible once the sun sets (the hardest to do by far) and a full Ketogenic Paleo diet.  I must say, so far, I’m feeling pretty good.  I know it’s only been a short month but I am noticing positive changes in my mood, mental clarity and slight body composition shift (which is good considering I’m not doing any physical activity due to my nagging ankle injury).

As I said, I’ve started to implement various protocols that I learned about while in Austin, TX last month.  I don’t have a bathroom scale since I find when I did have one, I would check my weight everyday and that kind of obsession isn’t helpful and total weigh is only a number.  There are too many other variables to consider to make weight mean anything.  Because of this, I don’t really have a starting weight other than what I weighed in at when I saw my GP a couple weeks before Paleo FX.  I did however start taking pictures every Monday morning so I could get a visual of any physical changes that I’ve made since I started these new experiments.

Cold Thermogenesis:

As I mentioned in my previous post on Paleo FX, I was able to speak with Dr Jack Kruse about using cold thermogenesis (CT from here on out) to help in my quest to treat my epilepsy without the use of medication.  You can read (much) more in depth on CT on Jack’s website here.  Below, is the process that I’ve been following for CT.

Every morning within 30 minutes of rising, I have been eating a large, protein and fat laden breakfast, usually containing at a minimum of 50g of protein and around the same amount of fat.  My protein sources came mostly from 3-4 pastured eggs, 3-4 strips of pastured, uncured bacon from US Wellness and/or chorizo sausage, usually I have been making that into a large scramble just for the easy quick route.  I would also finish up my meal with about a pint glass full of ice cold water.

After my large ketogenic breakfast, in the style of Tim Ferriss from his chapter on CT in The 4 Hour Body, I have been taking cold showers for 10 minutes.  I start each shower with room temperature water just so I can get in comfortably and soap up/shampoo.  Then I’d set a timer on my waterproof watch for 10 minutes and turn the water down as cold as it would go.  I would let the water hit the back of my neck/trapezius area for 2.5 minutes, then turn around and let the water hit my chest for 2.5 minutes and so on until 10 minutes had expired.  In the beginning this was very difficult.  It was such a shock to get hit with that cold water that my whole body tightened up and I shivered like crazy.  But after a couple  weeks, I found that the showers were no big deal and it’s quite refreshing now.  The 10 minutes have turned into extra time to think about what my day is looking like.

For the past few weeks it’s been relatively cold here in LA (high of 55 degrees on some days), so I’ve also made it a point to wear as little clothing as possible (shorts, t shirt and flip flops) and drive with my vent turned to cold on full blast with the windows down.  This was not fun for the first week but I really credit it to speeding up my tolerance to cold.

At night after work, I started with the face plunges in cold water that Dr Kruse talks about.  I filled my bathroom sink with cold water (no ice at first) and would plunge my face in and hold as long as I could.  I would repeat this process for a total of 3 plunges per night trying to last longer each time.  I would do this at the end of the night right when I was getting ready for bed.  The whole point of this step as I understand it, is to activate the mammalian dive reflex, something that all mammals have in order to stay underwater for long periods of time and even prepping the body for colder temperatures.

I also started utilizing ice packs strapped to my torso (while wearing a compression shirt)  for about 20 minutes at first and over time lasting up to an hour.  I did this by using two or three ice packs strapped from my chest down to my stomach.  I was really unpleasant at first but much like the showers, I was able to adapt fairly quickly and it was really easy after awhile especially while watching tv after dinner.

After about 2 weeks, I worked up the courage to try ice baths.  I’ve taken ice baths before and they are absolutely brutal.  In the past, I haven’t been able to last longer than 5 or maybe 10 minutes so I wasn’t really looking forward to these.  In an effort to make it a little more tolerable, I decided to wear my compression shirt and shorts for the first few rounds of ice baths.

In order to get my bathtub to below 60 degrees, I found that I needed about 30-40 lbs of ice as well as a few frozen ice packs and frozen water bottles.  Once I got my tub down to about 59 degrees for the first time, I SLOWLY got into the tub and let the water only come up to my hips at first and every few minutes, slowly allowing the waterline to reach higher and higher eventually going all the way up to my neck line.  The first time I did this, I experienced shivering like I never have before.  I only lasted about 20 minutes.  I’m working my way up each time though, taking about 2-3 ice baths per week.  The latest time for me is now 40 minutes and then the shivering starts, so I’m definitely on my way.

Results (so far):

As I mentioned earlier, I’m definitely feeling a positive difference since starting the CT and Ketogenic Paleo regimen.  Not only physically but mentally as well.  It’s too early to tell which is more responsible for these changes but I would definitely bet that because I’ve upped my overall fat intake, in particular coconut oil (for the MCT’s and their ability to metabolize into ketone bodies faster), that is at the very least partially responsible for my improved mental performance.

I know I mentioned that I don’t have a bathroom scale at my house so I’m using my weigh ins when I visit my doctor.  As it happens, I visited him just previous to my trip to Paleo FX and I weighed in at 217 lbs.  I also recently saw my doc again on April 10th to get some hormone blood panels done (results posted in another post), and I weighed in at 210 lbs so I’m definitely moving in the right direction.

Progress photo of me 1 month into my CT/Ketogenic Paleo experiment. Photos are taken immediately upon rising.

One more thing to note is that since I’ve been utilizing CT, my persistent ankle injury has less chronic pain.  The pain is still there but it definitely feels  better throughout the day with less bouts of pain.  Hopefully this will aid in healing my ankle so I will be able to train once again.

This entry was posted in Coconut Oil, Cold Thermogenesis, Epilepsy, Ketogenic, Paleo and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Cold Thermogenesis: One Month Into the Cold

  1. Eclectic Kitchen Evolved says:

    Sean, that’s great progress! Hope your ankle does get better so you can start training again soon! Keep us posted with your ongoing progress. I think I’m going to try the face plunges & see how those work for me. I am wondering if this also might help with ongoing migraine control. I use ice packs when I do have any headaches so I am thinking this might be a great protocol for my prevention? I think I’m going to try this. I don’t think I can man up enough though for the baths! lol Great job!

  2. Eric says:

    Great post Sean! Thank you for sharing your personal story. You are a motivating factor. Good luck with your program and I look forward to hearing how you progress.

  3. Paul R says:

    Nice even handed treatment of the topic. I’ll be following your progress with interest 🙂

    • Thanks Paul. I’m doing my best at only using my personal experiences and experiments to determine whether or not this protocol works and it’s definitely still way too early to make one statement or the other about it.

  4. Brad says:

    so stoked. way to be bro.

  5. oceannah says:

    This is great. I believe you are primarily using CT for medical issues, but are you also attempting to lose weight? I’ve been adding a cold rinse to my showers for years and with well water it gets very cold. I’ll need to look into the above links to see if it is used for weight loss also. Nice looking breakfast 😉

    • According to Dr Kruse, Tim Ferriss and Ray Cronise, CT can be used to activate Brown Adipose Tissue or BAT to improve fat loss. For me, treating my epilepsy is more of a concern than fat loss but I also know that a ketogenic diet coupled with smart physical training like heavy lifting and low intensity exercise like walking and hiking, will induce fat loss already. If CT can aid in fat loss as well, I’m all for it since I’ve struggled with excess body fat due to decades of poor diet and medication side effects.

      • oceannah says:

        I’ve been doing some of this…I took a well water (50 degrees or so) bath the other day. I can’t say it was pleasant but it wasn’t harmful either. I did this in the evening. I won’t ever do it that late though as I was so WIDE awake the remainder of the night. Not sure why.
        I hope you get your epilepsy under control using natural methods. I’m trying to lose fat and get my IR under control. Brrrrr.

  6. Primal Fenix says:

    thanks for writing this shawn. hell when my friend joe text me that he was trying CT on his face, i thought he was mocking me….haha. i didn’t read much on it i just talked to Jack Kruse and went for it. i haven’t used more than 10lbs of ice but perhaps i should. just got a thermometer today so i can see how cold the water really is. i don’t really have a problem going 45min-1hour in cold bath water but 30lbs of ice is different as i also live in LA so the cold temp is probably 60 like you said. i am sleeping better (probably from the magnesium i add) but no weight loss. i have actually gained weight but there are other factors to consider including a great deal of stress i am under right now. i look forward to learning more about your CT journey. -Shirley

    • Shirley, I’m just now making the transition of not using compression clothing in the ice baths…just that thin layer makes a big difference. But I would say that since you’re in LA like me, you’ll need more ice just to get the water to temperature. I started with only 10lbs of ice and gradually increased it. But like Dr Kruse says, any sort of immersion in a temperature lower than your body temp will aid in CT. That’s why I was driving with the windows down and the cold air on full blast in a t shirt…every little bit helps.

  7. ianpnf says:

    Love hearing about your progress on all fronts. Looking forward to learning more about your experiences with the various approaches you’re putting into practice, which are similar to my own. And if you can tame the epilepsy, that’ll be HUGE!

  8. lowerliving says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. I also started CT about a month ago now and I am a believer. I live in the country and I didn’t realize how fortunate I was to have 52.5 degree water come out of the tap. I look forward to seeing your updates.

  9. primaltim says:

    Wow!!! That’s awesome Sean!! I can totally tell how much tighter your skin is and you’re shrinking!! Great job bud!! Keep it up!!

  10. Great post Sean!
    I think I shall try it out again. I did it a couple of times and didn’t keep with it (not sure why). I see a huge difference especially in the elasticity of your skin. Keep the great posts coming!


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