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AMA: Cold plunges and ice baths

My complicated and changing thoughts on ice baths and cold plunges

AMA: Cold plunges and ice baths
The time Dustin from MTNTOUGH dragged me into cold water.

Summary of today's post

  • Ice baths/cold plunges are surging in popularity.
  • But do they actually do anything?
  • I explain my complicated and evolving thoughts on ice baths.


  • Full access to the 30-minute audio reading, notes, and transcript of this post is for Members only. Become a Member below.
  • Final reminder: We switched email and site services on Monday. Nothing changes except that looks better, and 2% will no longer be on the Substack app.
  • We did notice one quirk: The podcast player doesn't embed in the emails of some email services. To solve that, I both linked to and embedded the audio in the email. Thanks to all of you who emailed about this. Ghost is looking into fixing this.

In today’s AMA, we’ll be tackling one question:

On Monday and Wednesday we covered the benefits of the heat and how I approach heat exposure for health benefits. Today we're covering the other end of the temperature spectrum. Our question is:

  1. What do you think of ice baths and cold plunges?

Topics include:

  • A quick history of cold exposure for improving health, injury, and exercise recovery.
  • Why I think ice baths and cold exposure are popular now (hint: it has little to do with health or recovery).
  • What the research suggests about ice baths and exercise recovery.
  • What research says about ice baths and fat loss.
  • What the research says about ice baths and physical and mental health.
  • A way in which I changed my mind about ice baths.
  • How I personally use cold exposure.
  • Final thoughts on whether ice baths are a temporary trend or permanent fixture of the health world.

Recall that we voted to have AMAs be off-the-cuff podcast answers rather than written pieces. Below you'll find full Member audio, relevant links, and a rough transcript.

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Member Audio