“The Iceman,” Wim Hof (#102)

137 Comments

Wim Hof

“Breathe, motherfucker.”
– Wim Hof

WARNING: AS I’VE EMPHASIZED BEFORE, NEVER DO BREATHING EXERCISES IN WATER OR BEFORE TRAINING IN WATER. SHALLOW-WATER BLACKOUTS CAN BE FATAL.

Wim Hof (@Iceman_Hof) is a Dutch world record holder, adventurer and daredevil, commonly nicknamed “The Iceman” for his ability to withstand extreme cold. He is the creator of the Wim Hof Method and holds more than 20 world records. Wim is an outlier of outliers, as he routinely asks scientists to scrutinize and validate his feats. Here are just a few examples:

  • In 2007, he climbed past the “death zone” altitude on Mount Everest (~7,500 meters) wearing nothing but shorts.
  • In 2009, Hof completed a full marathon above the polar circle in Finland, in temperatures close to −20 °C (−4 °F). Dressed in nothing but shorts, Hof finished in 5 hours and 25 minutes.
  • Hof holds the current Guinness World Record for the longest ice bath, now set at 1 hour 53 minutes and 12 seconds.

But it’s not just cold.

  • In 2011, he ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water. The run was performed under the supervision of Dr. Thijs Eijsvogels. He can also run at altitude without suffering from altitude sickness.
  • In the same year, he was injected with toxins under doctor supervision and demonstrated that he could effectively control his autonomic immune response. Wim was able to raise his cortisol levels and lower his blood concentrations of cytokines (inflammatory mediators) using solely his meditation and prep techniques.

Not only this, but he was able to train others to achieve the same effect… with only 4 days of training!

We dig into all this and more.  I loved this conversation and hope you do, too…


TF-ItunesButton
TF-StitcherButton

Want to hear a podcast related to the science of extreme performance? — Listen to my conversation with Laird Hamilton, who is widely considered the greatest big wave surfer of all-time and who also practices Wim’s techniques. — stream below or right-click here to download:

#89: Laird Hamilton, The King of Big Wave Surfing (Plus: Gabrielle Reece and Brian MacKenzie)
Download



This episode is brought to you by Audible, which I have used for years. I love audiobooks. I have two to recommend right off the bat:

  1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – Perhaps my favorite audiobook of all time.
  2. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts – This book had a huge impact on my life and formed the basis for a lot of what has become The 4-Hour Workweek.

To get your free audiobook and a free 30-day trial, go to Audible.com/Tim. You can choose from the two audiobooks listed above or from 180,000+ audio programs. They offer audiobooks, magazines, newspapers and even classes. It’s that easy. Go to Audible.com/Tim and grab your free audiobook.

This podcast is also brought to you by MeUndiesHave you ever wanted to be as powerful as a mullet-wearing ninja from the 1980’s, or as sleek as a black panther in the Amazon? Of course you have, and that’s where MeUndies comes in. I’ve spent the last 2-3 weeks wearing underwear from these guys 24/7, and they are the most comfortable and colorful underwear I’ve ever owned. Their materials are 2x softer than cotton, as evaluated using the Kawabata method. Check out MeUndies.com/Tim to see my current faves (some are awesomely ridiculous) and, while you’re at it, don’t miss lots of hot ladies wearing MeUndies.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What physical feats do you find most impressive? And what physical ability do you wish you could improve? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Enjoy!

Selected Links from the Episode

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Show Notes

  • Wim’s first world record & his most challenging cold exposures [07:23]
  • What does Wim say to himself if he ends up in an unexpected situation and how does he deal with them [09:28]
  • How Wim controlled stress hormones and his immune response when he was injected with an endotoxin at the Radboud University [11:34]
  • The activities Wim took his subjects through on the first day of training to control their immune response to being injected with an endotoxin [17:46]
  • The reason Wim’s subjects don’t pass out when the oxygen in their blood reaches very low levels [22:14]
  • How the breathing exercises Wim puts his subjects through are used to control their immune response [26:13]
  • Can Wim control his immune response if he contracts a disease without realizing it? [27:33]
  • Why Wim is able to control his immune system and shield himself from diseases [29:22]
  • The ‘impossibles’ Wim thinks we will be able to prove are possible in the next 5 years [33:10]
  • What Wim recommends for someone who is depressed or a person just wants to lift their mood [38:19]
  • Wim’s eating routine and his typical meals [40:45]
  • Does Wim release more DMT during his breath work [43:58]
  • How Wim lowers his body temperature in a hot climate and trains himself to endure high temperatures [47:47]
  • How Wim learned 10 languages [53:03]
  • Wim discusses why people are fat, and how people can develop more brown fat [54:09]
  • How to start breathing for relaxation [56:49]
  • The person who comes to mind when Wim thinks of the word successful [59:27]
  • The steps Wim would tell someone to take if they don’t feel successful [1:00:02]
  • The book Wim has given to other people the most as a gift [1:02:20]
  • How Wim overcame dark times [1:04:17]
  • Wim’s routine in the first 60 minutes of each day [1:07:16]
  • Wim ‘s favorite exercises [1:11:44]
  • The musician Wim looks up to the most and his favorite albums [1:14:00]
  • The purchase Wim has made in the last year for under $100’s that has positively impacted his life
  • Wim finds his stones [1:15:28]
  • The advice Wim would give his 30-year-old self [1:17:19]

People Mentioned

Posted on: September 7, 2015.

Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.

Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

137 comments on ““The Iceman,” Wim Hof (#102)

  1. This is a brilliant podcast. You both outdid yourselves . Smart and well thought questions combined with heart warming answers creates the sweetest energy. I was caught by the Asian tsunami in 2004 and most people around me died. I was able to modulate my cortisol level and stay calm as I was drowning, which saved me in the end. Wim’s unique way of explaining similar experiences brought tears to my eyes but he does it in such a funny way that I was laughing at the same time. You are a more rational intellectual guy and Wim has a softer, more feminine perspective but you respect him so much and he respects you so much – the love just shines through and it’s what touched me most about this episode.

    I have been eating one meal a day for the last twelve years and it’s not everyday that I hear someone else do that! I love it 🙂 I train every day, I spend loads of time outside and I never run out of energy. Wim has a great way of explaining how this works for him.

    I am grateful to you Tim for gathering all these amazing people and creating exquisite, honest and humble interviews .

    Like

  2. Listened to this interview again, and I got even more out of it the second time. I’ve been doing cold showers every morning since I first listened to this, and they’ve become a permanent part of my daily ritual. If I can handle an ice cold shower in the morning, I can handle anything.

    Like