Cold exposure therapy, particularly using cold water, has gained popularity for its numerous health benefits. From enhanced recovery to improved mental clarity, regularly immersing yourself in cold water supports your overall well-being.
But jumping into water that’s on the verge of freezing? It can be intimidating.
These 10 hacks can help you embrace the cold and incorporate it into your daily life. It might even become something you look forward to.
Hack 1: Start slow
A 15-minute cold plunge in 40-degree water? Don’t let social media fool you — that’s not what you need to do to benefit from cold water.
Research shows that you can start to see the benefits of cold water therapy when the water is below 60 degrees. Gradually introduce yourself to cold water immersion by choosing a more “mild” temperature and plunging for a couple minutes.
Hack 2: Adjust protocol as you adapt
As your body gets adapted to the cold, you can adjust your personal cold water protocol. Lower the water temperature or increase the time of each session, working up to a total of 15 minutes* or so each week.
Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tubs by Master Spas have a temperature range of 40 degrees to 104 degrees. Using the Smart Life app, you can easily set the water to your preferred temperature and adjust it as your cold water immersion practice changes.
Hack 3: Focus on breathing
Hopping into a bath of icy water? It can definitely be anxiety-inducing. But there’s a way to manage that anxiety and manage your body's stress response. Deep, controlled breaths, such as the 4-4-4 pattern (inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds), can help calm your nervous system, reducing the fight-or-flight response and making the experience more manageable.
Hack 4: Make it a morning routine
It’s tempting to underestimate the power of a morning routine — especially if it includes something that gives you the chills. But a solid morning routine can increase your energy, productivity and positivity. And, it just sets the tone of the day.
A two-minute soak can help you feel more accomplished and successful — all before you reach for that second cup of coffee.
There’s more to it than that, though.
Morning routines are known for their consistency, helping you form lasting habits. Choosing to hit the Chilly GOAT in the morning will help you begin to associate those early hours with doing something positive for yourself. Your brain will take note, making cold water therapy a consistent part of your day.
“I have seen a lot of physical benefits from spending time in cold water. But I have also seen the mental benefits of being in the Chilly GOAT Cold Tub,” 23-time Gold Medalist Michael Phelps says. It’s a part of my daily routine.”
Hack 5: Embrace the challenge
Most people don’t look forward to something that’s going to be uncomfortable. But when you are trying to get the best out of yourself, you have to do things that are outside of your comfort zone.
“People achieve their best results when they're pushed and they're doing hard things,” says professional triathlete Ben Hoffman, who incorporates a Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tub by Master Spas into his morning routine. “In my best moments, in my best mindset, I'm searching out those opportunities to do hard things.”
Adopting a mindset where you embrace the challenge of cold water immersion can help you hack the experience so it feels like an opportunity for growth.
Hack 6: Disrupt the thermal barrier
Your typical ice bath is, well, a bath with ice and water. Unless you move around to find a comfortable position, the water is relatively still.
And that’s a problem.
As soon as you get in, your body will begin to heat up the water surrounding you. This thermal barrier acts as insulation, which means your cold therapy session isn’t as effective as it could be.
Finding a way to disrupt that thermal barrier helps you to get the most out of those minutes you are in the cold water. Chilly GOAT Cold Tubs have dual flow jets that gently keep the water moving to disrupt the thermal barrier and help you get the most out of your cold tub sessions.
Hack 7: Ice, ice buddy
A training partner comes in clutch — whether you are working out at a CrossFit box or preparing a marathon. Your training partner can keep you accountable and be a source of encouragement. He might even provide a little friendly competition, which can motivate you to challenge yourself.
Same goes when you go from working out to recovery.
An ice buddy can be a source of support, distraction, and competition. Ask your training partners to join you for a cold tub session, even making it a part of your regular meet-ups.
The top deck of the Chilly GOAT is the perfect spot for a friend to hang out and keep you going when the timer seems to slow down.
Hack 8: Set a countdown timer
Operate better under a deadline? A countdown timer can be a great motivator when it comes to hopping into a cold tub.
Starting a timer, whether it’s 5 seconds or 15 seconds, helps you mentally prepare for the challenge of doing an ice bath. Plus, it gives you a sense of commitment. You hit start and you know that you are getting yourself into the water in a few seconds. If you don’t get in, you have to start that timer all over again.
Talk about a blow to the ego.
There are apps that you can add to your sport watch or fitness tracker designed for cold plunge enthusiasts. It also allows you to track the water temperature and your heart rate response of your cold tub sessions.
Hack 9: Incorporate sauna therapy
Combining sauna and cold water, known as contrast therapy, is nothing new. People have been going from hot to cold for millennia. Why? It can take the benefits of cold therapy to the next level — The benefits of contrast therapy can enhance the benefits of cold exposure. It improves circulation, aids in muscle recovery, and offers a holistic approach to health and well-being.
But the real bonus is that you start hot and go cold. You might find it easier to take the plunge after a sweaty session in a sauna.
Hack 10: Invest in a Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tub by Master Spas
An at-home cold therapy tub allows cold water immersion to become a consistent part of your wellness routine. You can skip the process of buying bag after bag of ice and filling your bathtub with water — all just to get in one ice bath. With a Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tub by Master Spas, there’s no prep or waiting. The water is already clean, clear, and cold. Just open the cover and hop in.
Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tubs bring home the benefits of cold water, including reduced inflammation, faster recovery, immune system support, and mental clarity. The design offers clean, clear water on demand, precise temperature control, easy accessibility, and more.
Please note that all information, content, and material provided is for informational purposes only.
Cold water immersion can be beneficial for most individuals, but it is important to be aware that it can impact circulation, heart rate, and blood pressure. If you have an underlying health condition related to any of these areas, seek medical advice before exposing your body to cold water.
Prolonged exposure to cold water should be avoided. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
If you are new to cold water therapy, ease into the practice. Start with warmer water and shorter durations of exposure. As you adapt, be cautious when lowering the temperature or extending the duration of your cold soaks. Avoid deliberate hyperventilation before and during cold water immersion.