Building strength: CrossFit gym introduces cold tub

Building strength: CrossFit gym introduces cold tub

Seth Fife has been a fitness enthusiast since he was a kid, working out with his dad in their home garage. Fast forward to today, and Seth is channeling that enthusiasm into CrossFit Angola in northeast Indiana, a space he opened in 2019. Beyond fitness, Seth and his team want to empower their members to become stronger, more confident versions of themselves.

And it’s not just the workouts. CrossFit Angola takes a cool approach to recovery that helps members step outside their comfort zone to see physical and mental benefits.

The gym recently invested in its members with a Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tub by Master Spas. Stepping into the Chilly GOAT isn't just a plunge into cold water; it's a plunge into a mindset of resilience and strength.

“The biggest thing that surprised me about having the cold tub at the gym is how many people used it and how it made them feel,” Fife says. “Every time members use it, they are posting on social media, they're high-fiving each other, and they start to get really excited about accomplishing a tough task.” 

cold tub gym

The GOAT experience

Rigs line one side of the gym, while there are racks of plates and dumbbells on the other side. There are rowers, air bikes, and stacks of plyo boxes.

The set-up at CrossFit Angola is not unlike many gyms, where members can participate in a  class or book a one-on-one workout. But opposite the welcome desk, where members can buy their favorite supplements or swag with the gym’s logo, there’s an area dedicated to the cold tub. 


The Chilly GOAT has a sleek, modern design that integrates into the space but still gets the attention of the members. The spacious design, with a 23-inch wide hip area and built-in arm rests, can accommodate nearly any body type.

The cold tub is a major upgrade for the gym. 

“Before the Chilly GOAT, we actually had a horse trough that we were using to do cold plunges,” Fife says. “ … When we had the horse trough outside, we were having to break the ice with sledge hammers and nobody wanted to use it. Since switching to the Chilly GOATt, a lot more of our members have been at least interested and willing to give it a go.”

He says the gym has more members incorporating deliberate cold exposure since upgrading the ice bath because “it's more comfortable and it looks nicer.”

Bonus: The members can really start to see the benefits as cold water therapy becomes a more regular part of their routine.  

Consistently cold

The cold rush at CrossFit Angola might surprise you. With the workout of the day starting at 5:30 am, many participants start to arrive at 5 am. As the coach unlocks the gym, the members start to prep for the workout with a cold plunge.  

The water is set to a chilling yet rejuvenating 45 degrees. And even as member after member hops in the Chilly GOAT, the water remains consistently cold and clear. 

The premium 2.1-horsepower chiller ensures the water stays consistently cold, accommodating the pre-dawn crowd, while the UV light and filtration system work harmoniously to keep the water pristine and crystal clear. 

Dual flow jets

Cold water immersion isn’t new to the members of CrossFit Angola — “We've done cold water therapy in the inflatable-style tubs outside,” Fife says. 

But the Chilly GOAT experience is unlike previous cold plunges.

“The constant circulation of water is the No. 1 thing that people comment on,” he says.

When you do a cold plunge, you transfer your body to heat the water. If the water is still, a thermal barrier will develop to almost insulate the body. So while the water temperature might be 45 degrees, the water surrounding your body will be warmer. 

Chilly GOAT Cold Tubs feature dual flow jets, which help disrupt the thermal barrier and enhance the therapeutic experience.  

cold tub maintenance

Cold tub maintenance for gym owners

The fitness industry can be competitive. And in the CrossFit space, amenities such as nutrition coaching, childcare and 24/7 access can be a way to set the facility apart. 

“The Chilly GOAT has been a really cool amenity for us,” Fife says. “We're the only gym around the area that I know of that has access to cold water therapy.”

But between programming, maintaining the facility, and running the business, an easy-to-maintain cold tub is key. 

“One of the things I was worried about with getting this new big cool tool was that I would have to do all this stuff to maintain it,” Fife says.

“But, as a gym owner, the maintenance side of the Chilly GOAT has been crazy easy.”

It’s important to set a water care routine. Fife says he adds a couple of capfuls “here and there” and changes the water about once a month — and “that’s it. It’s pretty much self-maintaining.” 

Gym owners might also need to rinse and replace filters more often than someone who purchases the tub for personal use. 

cold tub crossfit gym

Benefits of cold tub therapy for CrossFit athletes

The foundation of CrossFit is functional fitness, and programs are designed to help you become a well-rounded athlete. From barbell squats to burpees, deadlifts to handstand walks, CrossFit involves a variety of movements that incorporate intensity, strength, and gymnastics. 

But the intensity requires you to prioritize recovery to enhance performance and prevent injury. 

“One of the awesome benefits that we have found with the Chillyi GOAT is how much effective recovery our members can get in a really short amount of time,” Fife says. “They can get a lot of benefits — fitness-, performance-, and health-wise — in three to five minutes a couple days a week. 

Reduced muscle soreness

Athletes have long been using ice baths and deliberate cold exposure as a way to reduce muscle soreness. When you do a cold plunge, your blood vessels will narrow or constrict. But that’s just one part of it. After you get out and warm up, your blood vessels will dilate. This process helps flush out lactic acid, which can build up during exercise and contribute to muscle soreness.

Reduced inflammation

Exercise and inflammation can go hand in hand. When you stress your body in a workout, your body’s natural response is inflammation. And some of that is good — inflammation helps your muscles adapt and repair. However, inflammation can also affect your mobility and performance. 

For athletes, cold water therapy can help manage that inflammation.

For one CrossFit Angola member, cold tub therapy has helped him manage chronic inflammation and the associated pain.

“He comes to our 5:30 a.m. class,” Fife says, “so he gets here about 5 a.m. and jumps in. After a few days of using the Chilly GOAT, he noticed the chronic pain and inflammation was gone. 

“He was actually able to move better during the workouts because he had more mobility.” 

Energy boost

Does the thought of getting up before dawn to make it to the gym at 5 a.m. leave you feeling tired?

It might surprise you to find that the cold plunge + class combo can actually give you the energy you need to make it through the day.

Deliberate cold exposure activates the sympathetic nervous system, commonly known as the "fight or flight" response. This activation can lead to increased alertness and a sense of heightened energy as the body prepares to face a perceived stressor.

“The first time one of our members tried the Chilly GOAT had about 24 hours of extreme energy and focus,” Fife says. “She said she's never felt anything like it.” 

gym cold tub

The best cold tub for your gym or facility

Do you want to give your gym members the best in cold water therapy? Having a Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tub allows you to create a standout experience for your members without the maintenance of other cold tub brands.  You can click here to find out more about adding a cold tub to your gym or commercial facility. Start your journey today!