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Wim Hof Workout Routine & Diet Plan

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: April 22, 2021

Do people with superpowers exist?

They may not show up on the news and save people from burning buildings, but rest assured, humans capable of performing extraordinary feats do indeed walk among us.

One of these people is the man known as Wim Hof, a world record holder who continually defies science and the beliefs we have about the human body.

We’ve spent hours delving into Wim Hof’s diet and workout routine to find out how he can pull off such amazing stunts. Read on to learn more.

Short Bio

wim hof holding a big block of ice

Born in 1959 in Sittard, Netherlands, Wim Hof is a Dutch extreme athlete who earned the nickname ‘The Iceman’ for his extraordinary fitness and special ability to withstand freezing temperatures.

He is a Guinness World Records holder with many feats under his belt.

These include sitting in an ice bath for nearly two hours, swimming under a sheet of ice in Latvia’s ice-cold waters, and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in nothing but shorts.

Once Hof conquered the cold, he set his sights on doing the same for the heat.

His most notable achievement regarding this aspect includes running a marathon through the Namib desert without any water.

Hof has written a book that chronicles his background and how he performs such amazing feats, titled ‘Becoming the Iceman.’

He also has a Youtube channel with plenty of content that explains how the WHM works and offers private coaching sessions for those interested.

Wim Hof Workout Routine

wim hof working out outdoors

Despite being over 60 years of age, Wim Hof is as healthy as ever.

Hof accredits most of his incredible feats to his way of life and daily fitness routine, consisting of stretching, power breathing, cold shower, and meditation.

Other workout routines: 

1. Stretching and Fitness

His fitness routine incorporates many yoga moves and includes forward and back bends, a child's pose, planks, and bicycle crunches.

Hof also greatly encourages stretching, as it strengthens the connection between mind and body.

As events in daily life can impact one’s mental health, minor issues can eventually pile up and cause bigger problems down the road if not properly managed.

2. Power Breathing

man in a green shirt blocking his nose

Hof’s ability to withstand freezing temperatures mainly stems from his breathing exercise routine, which allows him to raise his natural body temperature.

Power breathing incorporates the capacity to hold your breath for prolonged periods of time, cycled with periods of deep and exaggerated inhales.

Hof has this practice nailed down to a science, with further details discussed in later sections.

3. Cold Shower

Studies have shown that taking a cold shower or ice bath has a number of positive effects.

These include physical and psychological advantages, such as boosting the immune system, increasing blood circulation, and reducing acne [1].

Hof claims that psychological barriers are the biggest hindrance when it comes to tolerating cold water.

As a result, taking cold showers on a daily basis helps to fortify one’s mental strength and increase the individual’s body temperature, perseverance, willpower, and tenacity.

4. Meditation

close up image of a man's body during meditation

The mind and body are one. This statement is especially true when it comes to skinny dipping in subzero temperatures.

Hof routinely engages his meditation techniques through his breath routine, which is another factor responsible for his incredible feats.

By meditating, Hof is able to use his mental energy stores to overcome the body’s initial shock to cold water temperatures.

This allows him to overcome physical limitations such as hypothermia or frostbite for hours.

What is the Wim Hof Method?

Wim Hof meditating in a yard

The Wim Hof Method (WHM) is a breathing technique that is based on Tibetan Tum-mo meditation and was personally developed by Wim Hof.

He has used it numerous times to extend his physical limits significantly, especially during his attempts at breaking records.

The three pillars that make up the WHM include Breathing, Cold Therapy, and Commitment. By combining these three components, an individual can control their autonomic nervous system and deactivate the flight-or-fight response.

To get started with the WHM, choose a safe environment, making sure it does not require your focus or attention to any particularly important task (ex. driving).

Here is a step by step guide:

  1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and relax the body.
  2. Use your nose to take deep inhales, and exhale through the mouth. Repeat this 30 times without any breaks in between.
  3. After the 30th exhale, hold your breath for one minute. Become aware of the present moment, focusing on your heartbeat and allowing the relaxation to spread throughout your physical body.
  4. Take a deep breath in and hold for fifteen seconds.
  5. Repeat Step #2.
  6. Hold your breath now for one minute and thirty seconds. Focus your attention on the present moment.
  7. Take a deep breath in and hold for fifteen seconds.
  8. Repeat Step #2.
  9. Repeat Step #6.
  10.  Take one last deep breath in, hold for fifteen seconds.
  11. Congratulations, you are now done!

WHM Benefits

man and woman giving a thumbs up wearing workout clothes

The WHM is a great addition to your workout routine by speeding up workout recovery, muscle tissue repair, and reducing muscle soreness.

It has also been shown to reduce inflammation which stems from a poor diet or intake of bad food.

Practitioners of the WHM have also reported benefits such as curing depression, cultivating a strong mindset, better sleep, and reduced stress.

“Practicing breathing techniques learned during this training program results in release of epinephrine, induction of early anti-inflammatory IL-10 production, and consequently attenuation of the proinflammatory innate immune response during experimental human endotoxemia [2].” - Matthjis Kox, Anesthesiology Researcher 

Additionally, since the WHM is usually accompanied by cold therapy such as cold showers and ice baths, many individuals that practice the WHM have also reported a better resistance to cold temperatures.

Wim Hof Diet Plan

plate filled with green salad leaves

As a vegetarian, Wim Hof’s diet plan is primarily plant-based with low calories.

Hof avoids processed foods, sugar and takes care to avoid GMOs and artificial products in his diet.

His meal plan is made up of high amounts of carbohydrates, low proteins, and a medium amount of fats.

This diet includes food such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and pasta.

For beverages, Hof drinks coffee, green tea, beer, vegetable soup, and large amounts of water.

Hof is also an advocate of intermittent fasting and consumes only one meal a day as part of his diet after 6 pm.

FAQs

Can You Lose Weight With the Wim Hof Method?

The WHM can boost metabolism, increase brown fat tissues (responsible for withstanding the cold), and shed excessive weight.

Is the Wim Hof Method Dangerous?

Due to the large amounts of oxygen taken into the body, the WHM induces a trance-like state that can be described as “being high off life.”

As a result, the WHM can potentially make the individual go to sleep, making it dangerous if done in situations that require focus and attention.

Other side effects include lightheadedness, nausea, tingling sensations, and ear ringing or humming.

What Is Wim Hof Famous For?

Hof is famous for withstanding cold temperatures and defying physical body limitations.

On top of holding 20 world records, he has voluntarily partaken in many experiments that prove the validity of his methods, backed up by research and science.

He has also gone to teach the WHM to many other students, proving that anyone is capable of performing what he’s accomplished.

Final Words on the Wim Hof Diet and Workout

Without a doubt, Wim Hof is superhuman.

From overcoming the desert to swimming in the Arctic waters, Hof is a world record holder that’s proven just how powerful the human body is.

Hof’s first-hand experience with the cold has inspired millions to get out of their comfort zone and surpass their limitations.

By following Wim Hof’s diet plan, consuming all-natural food, and incorporating his breath work and fitness routine into your daily life, you too will learn how to control your body and mind.

Become the Iceman and embrace the cold today. Let us know how effective the WHM is for you!


References:

  1. https://www.wimhofmethod.com/benefits-of-cold-showers
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4034215/

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