Over the last 10 weeks, I’ve been taking part in the Wim Hof Method online training program (affiliate link). In this post, I’d like to share my experience with the program and the effects I’ve noticed as a result of Wim’s method.
I noticed that most other WHM reviews online are pretty detailed and talk a lot about Wim’s history and the benefits of the program. In this review, I’m going to cut to the chase a bit quicker but I encourage readers to do their own research before starting the program.
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Who is Wim Hof?
Wim Hof (a.k.a. “The Iceman”) is Dutchman who’s accomplished some incredible feats of human achievement by pushing his body and our understanding of human biology to the limits. As described on the WHM website:
Wim Hof got his nickname “The Iceman” after he broke a number of records with regards to resisting cold. Some of his feats include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle on his bare feet, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes. Wim is convinced that our bodies are capable of doing the same exceptionally things his body allows him to do. Therefore, he has developed his Wim Hof Method that gives ordinary people the tools to take control over their body.
To learn more about Wim Hof and his method, these are the two best resources I’ve found:
First, have a watch of this 40-minute documentary on YouTube:
For more detail, listen to this in-depth interview with Wim on the Tim Ferriss podcast.
What is the Wim Hof Method?
The Wim Hof Method is Wim’s training program that uses a combination of very simple breathing exercises and cold therapy designed to:
- Boost your immune system.
- Reduce stress.
- Increase your energy.
- Improve your sleep.
- Strengthen your willpower.
- Increase focus and concentration.
Overall, the program is designed to make you a healthier, stronger and happier person.
When people hear this list of benefits, most people (myself included), are sceptical of Wim Hof and these claims. That’s why Wim and his team have spent years working with doctors and scientific researchers to validate and prove that his method works. You can read more about the science behind his method here.
The most notable experiment involved Wim teaching his method to 12 Dutch volunteers before doctors injected each of them with elements of the E-coli bacteria. Normally this would result in severe flu-like symptoms. But Wim’s students were instead able to use their training to dramatically suppress and fight the bacteria so they were almost completely unaffected.
This has resulted in the claim that Wim and his method will teach you how to control your immune system (something scientists always thought was automated and outside of our conscious control).
My impression of the WHM program
Before signing up to the program, I did plenty of research to make sure this was something I could commit to and could take seriously. There are some amazing testimonials on Wim’s website where people suffering from all sorts of auto-immune diseases, joint issues and even depression have been able to dramatically reduce or completely get rid of their symptoms.
I’m already a very healthy person. I’m 26 years old. I eat well and don’t drink a lot. I exercise multiple times per week and I don’t currently suffer from any kind of health issues. Therefore, I don’t think I got as much out of the program as other people but that’s only because other lifestyle factors mean I already have good energy levels and natural immunity.
However, I’m still very happy that I completed the program and will continue to practice the WHM in the future (see benefits below).
I enrolled in Wim’s original 10-week program (affiliate link). There is also a newer, more detailed fundamentals program (affiliate link). I enrolled in the original program as I just wanted to learn the basic breathing and cold therapy techniques and wasn’t too fussed about the extra stuff that’s offered in the fundamentals course. However, if you want the full Wim Hof experience, then the fundamentals course is the program for you.
In order to commit to the program, you need to be able to set aside at least 30 minutes a day (for at least 5 days per week) to practice the breathing exercise. Ideally, you need a bit longer so you can practice the meditation and stretching exercises as well.
The program was very easy to follow. It starts off nice and easy and gradually get’s more advanced as your body adapts. You’re given a logbook to track your results and there’s one video to watch per week where Wim instructs you on how to apply and scale the breathing and cold therapy techniques for that week. If you want Wim to guide you through the breathing each day, you can watch that week’s video again and again. I found I would watch each video once on a Sunday to get the gist of what I needed to do. Then during the week, I would go through the exercises “unguided”.
Overall, the program is well designed and easy to follow. Wim is very likeable and is entertaining to watch. My only criticism would be that because English is not Wim’s first language, I sometimes found his explanations of the theory to be a little unclear and I had to re-watch certain parts a few times. I’m glad that Wim is the one delivering the lessons but this is just something to keep in mind.
The benefits I’ve noticed as a result of the WHM
So, how did the program benefit me?
Well, like I said, I’m already a very active and healthy person, so I can’t say I noticed any life-changing benefits. However, I will say I noticed:
I became less affected by the cold – This was probably the most noticeable change. The first few times I took a cold shower, I was shocked by the cold and found myself short of breath. As the weeks went on, you become more resistant as your body learns to generate its own heat and you even start to enjoy the cold. I’ve been taking cold baths and where I used to shiver uncontrollably, now I can get into a bath with a few bags of ice and sit comfortably, no shivering and enjoy the experience. I really like the idea of not being as affected by the cold. It’s empowering. Which is why I’ll continue to practice the cold therapy in the future.
The breathing made me feel really “refreshed” – The breathing exercises get you to breath in more than you breath out, in effect, helping you to saturate your body with oxygen and lower the concentration of CO2. This results in less acidity and inflammation in your body. I found that at the end of the breathing exercises I felt refreshed and buzzy with energy. It’s hard to describe, but upon completing the breathing, I just feel really good. Like something magical is happening inside my body.
I feel stronger and more flexible – At the end of the breathing exercises, Wim gets you to test your strength by breathing out all the air in your lungs before doing as many pushups as you can. I found that over the duration of the program I was slowly able to do more and more pushups each week. On top of this, Wim gets you to perform some stretching exercises and I noticed a modest improvement in my overall flexibility.
I’ve become more mindful of my breath – Breathing is so automatic and natural we never really think about how we’re breathing. By doing the breathing exercises on a regular basis, I’ve become more aware and mindful of my breath. I now find myself taking more frequent deep breaths throughout the day to help refresh and energise my body. I really liked how the breathing exercises are a form of meditation without really having to meditate so I’m sure this must also be helping with focus and concentration as well.
So there you have it. Hopefully sharing my experience of the Wim Hof Method was useful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out with comments below!