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”