Matt Forney
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Taking Cold Showers; or, How I Learned to Man Up and Stop Being a Pussy


For nearly a year now, I’ve known about the benefits of cold showers. Logic would suggest that I’ve been dousing my naked body in ice-cold water once a day now, right?

Well, logic is a real bitch.

I only started taking cold showers in the past couple of months. I had no real excuse, though that didn’t stop me from coming up with rationalizations. For example, my favorite excuse was that the bloggers I read who showered cold (such as Mike at Danger & Play and Jeremy Sploosh) lived in areas where the weather was pleasant year-round. “I’d love to see those guys jump into a freezing cold shower after a day in the North Dakota oil basin,” I thought. Indeed, my experience working among the hydrofracking rigs two years ago was what made me resistant to cold showers to begin with; after a day of freezing my ass off in a field with 20 below wind chill, my instinct was to crank the hot water up to just below the point where it would cause a first-degree burn.

There was no rationalizing it away: I was being a pussy.

Our ancestors have gone through a hell of a lot more than we have and probably ever will. They lived in filthy cities where people threw their shit out the window and into the streets. They performed backbreaking farm labor twelve hours a day for a pittance. They fought in wars armed with nothing more advanced than a sharp piece of metal and some cheap pointy sticks. We, on the other hand, will bitch and whine if the air conditioning isn’t at the exact temperature to make us comfortable.

The least I could do was learn to bathe myself without the crutch of artificially warm water.

Here are my reasons for taking cold showers and how I managed to condition myself to do something I really didn’t want to do. My advice will help you better steel yourself into adopting habits that are difficult to handle in the short-run but beneficial in the long-run.

Warm Water is for Fags

That’s not my take, it’s the Spartans’, who bathed in ice-cold water to build mental toughness and thought that the warm water-loving Athenians were a bunch of fruits. Given the BDSM queer ways of the Spartans, that last bit might be the pot calling the kettle black, but the mental toughness aspect can’t be denied. There are a whole array of benefits that cold showers provide:

  1. Better circulation. When you get hit with a waterfall of cold water, your body redirects blood flow to your organs to protect them from hypothermia. This forces clots free and enables your circulatory system to function more effectively. Not only that, the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you shut the water off (due to this modified circulation) is incredible.
  2. Energy. Nothing will shock your system like a rush of freezing cold water straight to the torso. A cold shower will boot you in the ass and make you feel alert and ready.
  3. Increased testosterone. Studies have shown that a cold shower a day will improve your testosterone levels, and by extension a whole bunch of other things (exercise gains, sex drive, vitality).
  4. Better skin. Hot and warm water strip your skin of moisture, causing it to dry out. Cold water reverses this effect. If you suffer from eczema or your skin otherwise dries out during the winter, cold showers can help you stay moisturized without the use of lotions.
  5. Improved fertility. Sperm are killed off by high temperatures, a fact that every MacBook-using hipster who is now shooting blanks can attest to. Cold water to your nuts improves sperm viability, if you’re into that kind of thing.
  6. Improved weight loss. The energy exerted in keeping your body from freezing in a torrent of cold water can help you burn weight faster when paired with an exercise regimen.
  7. Feeling like a man. It takes some serious balls to jump into an ice-cold spurt of water and not immediately jump back out. Bathing in cold water every day will give you a smug sense of superiority over the mass of mediocre males that comprise our wonderful society.

I’ve also noticed that cold showers reduce the amount of time I spent putzing around in the bathroom. When you’re bathing in luxurious warm water, the inclination to spend a long time in there just soaking it in is strong. Even after you’ve developed a tolerance to cold water, you still aren’t going to want to hang around dousing your organs in the stuff, so you’re more inclined to wash your filthy meatsack and get the hell out.

With all these benefits, cold showers should be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, as my example shows, it’s all too easy to puss out when it comes to turn the water on.

I Bathed in Ice-Cold Water and All I Got Was This Lousy Headache

The first time you take a cold shower is always the hardest, as your body tenses up in anticipation. My best advice is to avoid half-assed measures and just dive in. Don’t pull the whole “start with warm water, then turn the hot water down” crap that The Art of Manliness advocates: get in there, crank up the cold water and fucking deal with it. If you attempt to acclimate yourself to cold showers through baby steps, you’ll find it all too easy to get cold feet and back out of the deal altogether.

Leaping in balls first is the only way to make this work.

One acceptable coping mechanism is not standing in the path of the water the entire time. If you have room to spread out in your shower or bathtub, do so; only bathe individual parts of your body. This will allow you to experience the effect of cold showering without being overwhelmed by the initial shock.

As soon as the icy water hit my skin for the first time, I started shivering and convulsing. That stuff hurts. The most painful part of taking a cold shower the first time is washing your hair. You know how eating ice cream too fast gives you a headache? Imagine that but four times worse. When you take your first cold shower, your body will be screaming at you to get out, to turn the hot water up, to do anything aside from subject yourself to this agony.

It’s the feeling of euphoria when you’re done that will make it all worth it.

I’m serious: you can feel the positive effects of cold showers the second you step out of the bathtub. Your skin is covered head to toe in a flush warm feeling, like getting massaged by an angel. Your body is rejuvenated and you feel like you could run around the block and fist-fight a gorilla. I also noticed that repeated showers were helping me burn more weight than normal. After about five or six days, my body had adjusted to the onslaught of cold water it received once a day, and I could shower without worry.

Cold Showers: Just Fucking Do It

When it comes to cold showers—or indeed any kind of habit that is painful at first but yields dividends down the road—my advice is to just do it. Don’t stress yourself out about how your body will react, don’t try and slowly warm yourself up to the process: just dive in. When you’ve immersed yourself into an uncomfortable situation, you’ll realize that it’s not that bad, and thus forming a good habit will be much easier.

In the past couple of months, I’ve taken exactly two warm-water showers, and one of those was only because I was away from home and couldn’t get the cold water to work properly. I look forward to taking showers every day, and in fact I’m going to shift from taking evening showers to morning ones just so I can reap the increased energy benefits. You should try it too.

Read Next: Matt Forney’s Podcast Extravaganza, Episode 29: Search Terms Special — “Raped by a Huge Cock Rapist in My Bedroom”

  • Shit! Cold Shower is good but it just sucks when you gotta shave the face! OUCH! great post!

  • Anthony

    I’m going to keep being a pussy about my showers, but I have taken a few here and there (My skin and hair are still oily in my late 40s, and I’d rather take a cold shower than go out in public without one).

    For me, it’s not the head that’s the problem (or even the little head, surprisingly enough), it’s when I get a blast of cold water on my back or chest. It’s almost like getting the wind knocked out of me from falling on my back or getting hit in the chest. Actually, it’s almost exactly like that, except maybe one-third as bad.

  • it it helps me lose weight. i’ll do it. but now i’ll have to shave when i get out.

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  • Apparently, it also tightens the skin .

  • Gruesome

    Coping with the cold shock to the body is dealt with rather nicely in Let Every Breath.

    My personal recommendation: Cold showers in the morning, hot baths in the evening. And ‘no poo’ too.

  • hr

    Hey Matt. I am commenting under a different name than I usually do, because you most likely banned me and once defaced my comment. I complained about you being a status jockeying weirdo who made up a strawman of manosphere commenters who don’t get laid etc.

    Well, I have to retract my statements partially: I have seens some omegavirgindorks on RoK that exceed most of your descriptions. One could think that you personally made that comment to prove your point, surreptitiously. So I’ll be a man and admit that you were probably right in a way.

    However, what truly shocked me was how close you got it compared to one other thinker, with your rejection of wallowing in the muck and negativity:

    “Spit on the city of compressed souls and slender breasts, of pointed eyes and sticky fingers—
    —On the city of the obtrusive, the brazen-faced, the pen-demagogues and tongue-demagogues, the overheated ambitious:—
    Where everything maimed, ill-famed, lustful, untrustful, over-mellow, sickly-yellow and seditious, festereth perniciously:—
    —Spit on the great city and turn back!—
    Here, however, did Zarathustra interrupt the foaming fool, and shut his mouth.—
    Stop this at once! called out Zarathustra, long have thy speech and thy species disgusted me! Why didst thou live so long by the swamp, that thou thyself hadst to become a frog and a toad?
    Floweth there not a tainted, frothy, swamp-blood in thine own veins, when thou hast thus learned to croak and revile?
    Why wentest thou not into the forest? Or why didst thou not till the ground? Is the sea not full of green islands?
    I despise thy contempt; and when thou warnedst me—why didst thou not warn thyself?
    Out of love alone shall my contempt and my warning bird take wing; but not out of the swamp!—
    They call thee mine ape, thou foaming fool: but I call thee my grunting-pig,—by thy grunting, thou spoilest even my praise of folly.
    What was it that first made thee grunt? Because no one sufficiently flattered thee:—therefore didst thou seat thyself beside this filth, that thou mightest have cause for much grunting,—
    —That thou mightest have cause for much vengeance! For vengeance, thou vain fool, is all thy foaming; I have divined thee well!
    But thy fools’-word injureth me, even when thou art right! And even if Zarathustra’s word were a hundred times justified, thou wouldst ever—do wrong with my word!
    Thus spake Zarathustra. Then did he look on the great city and sighed, and was long silent. At last he spake thus:
    I loathe also this great city, and not only this fool. Here and there—there is nothing to better, nothing to worsen.
    Woe to this great city!—And I would that I already saw the pillar of fire in which it will be consumed!
    For such pillars of fire must precede the great noontide. But this hath its time and its own fate.—
    This precept, however, give I unto thee, in parting, thou fool: Where one can no longer love, there should one—pass by!—
    Thus spake Zarathustra, and passed by the fool and the great city.
    – –oOo– -”

    Lol somethings never change.

  • B. H. Roberts

    Another benefit of cold water bathing is relieving altitude sickness. I was watching a program called Last Man Standing, in which 6 American and British men competed in various primitive societies’ tests of strength, endurance, and toughness. In one episode they were training with Incas in the Andes at 16,000 feet above sea-level. All six of them were overcome with pounding headaches and intense nausea. The Incas told them to jump in a freezing cold lake. All six men reported that plunging into the ice-cold water instantly relieved their altitude sickness and they were able to carry on with their training.

  • Galt

    Maybe I should try it again. I tried it years ago for various reasons you touched on. I got sick about the fourth time in. I could literally feel the very moment the bug flourished in my system. I knew I would be sick and I was. So, I don’t know…

  • Thought I was the only one who was talking about cold showers..

    But it turns out I’m not! Love this post, and it really underlines the health benefits. Think you’ve done a better post than me!

  • Reuben Schwartzschild

    Cold showers are great! Cheap, green, healthy, and it separates the men from the pusses. We used to be very poor so we actually showered with the whole family at once and with cold water. My advice is also to just don’t wuss out and let the water hit your chest because that way you get the strongest shock and the rest of the shower will be easy from there.

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  • TyDaMan

    Started doing it and got used to it. It’s cheaper and healthier.

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  • Redonk.D

    The best thing I’ve done to help with cold showering is to turn the pressure down. Don’t half do it with temperature..full cold (otherwise you’re still a wuss..half-wuss doesn’t exist). I get under water, endure the shock till I’m soaked and then shut water off and soap up. Then I turn water back on and finish shower (probably 2 minutes..bald head under water is insane!). Be a man and just do feels awesome when it’s over. Spartan up.

  • d18kv178

    contrast showers are even better.

  • Winter Chan

    Ok, you said to not start slowly from hot to cold, but to jump straight into cold because it’s manly. BUT, what if I have already done so (first semi-cold to colder for several days) before reading your article?