Gary Brecka Cold Plunge Protocol – The Benefits of Ice Baths - Ascendment

Gary Brecka Cold Plunge Protocol – The Benefits of Ice Baths

Gary Brecka is a human biologist and biohacker renowned for improving the health and wellbeing of the world’s top athletes and celebrities. He is a huge advocate for cold water exposure and recommends daily cold plunges. But what are the benefits of cold water exposure and what is Gary Brecka’s cold plunge protocol?

Benefits of Cold Water Exposure

The benefits of cold water exposure can be experienced by taking cold showers but the biggest benefits are seen when the body is completely immersed in water up to the neck in a cold plunge or ice bath. This type of exposure provides an array of physical and mental benefits. Let’s take a look at these benefits in more detail:

Boosts Cardiovascular Health

Cold water exposure can stimulate the constriction of blood vessels, which may enhance cardiovascular function by improving circulation and reducing inflammation. Gary Brecka goes into more detail stating: “You’re going to have a vasospasm. Your arteries are going to spasm down, they’re going to clamp all the blood out of your extremity and force it into the core and also up to the brain in an effort to save your life. This is actually exercising your vascular system.”

Releases Feel-Good Hormones

Cold plunges and ice baths trigger the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood enhancers. Endorphins bind to opioid receptors in the brain, leading to a boost in mood and mental wellbeing. Gary Brecka says: “It’s going to elevate your mood. It’s going to improve your emotional state.”

He continues: “You’re going to get an endorphin rush, a nice flood of dopamine which Is proven to last several hours longer than using other methods of enhancing dopamine.”

Releases Cold Shock Proteins

Cold shock proteins are released into the bloodstream from the liver when we are exposed to cold temperatures. These special proteins can repair damaged cells and DNA. Brecka explains: “If you get cold enough your liver is going to release something called cold shock proteins. These are proteins that you have in your liver that are released when you expose yourself to thermal stress – both hot and cold.”

The human biohacker states that cold shock proteins can rid the body of damaging free radicals. He says: “These cold shock proteins when they hit the bloodstream scour the blood of free radical oxidation. Free radicals are what cause cellular damage.”

Repairs Muscle

Another benefit of cold shock proteins being released into the bloodstream due to cold water exposure is their ability to increase the body’s rate of protein synthesis. Gary Brecka says: “Cold shock proteins have been known to increase the rate of protein synthesis which is muscle repair.”

Protein synthesis ensures muscles are repaired and built back stronger after exercise. Using a cold plunge or ice bath increases the rate of this repair, with Brecka stating that the release of cold shock proteins in fact “quadruples the rate of protein synthesis.”

Strips Bodyfat

If you’re looking to reduce bodyfat using an ice bath will speed up the process. Gary Brecka believes that: “There is nothing on the surface of the earth that will remove calories from your body of burn fat at the rate of getting in cold water will.”

He explains the process by which cold water exposure burns bodyfat stating: “Cold plunging activates something called brown fat. Brown fat is our thermostat. Remember we measure calories by measuring heat. A calorie is actually a definition of a measure of heat. It’s roughly the amount of energy that it takes to raise 1 cubic centimetre of water to 1 degree Celsius. So, if calories are a measure of heat; when heat is leaving our bodies we can say calories are leaving our bodies. This is why there is nothing that comes close to cold water immersion in terms of stripping fat off of your body.”

The human biologist reiterates just how effective cold water exposure is for reducing bodyfat saying: “There is nothing. NOTHING. No amount of exercise hits cardio, no type of cardiovascular or weight training that comes anywhere close to immersing yourself in cold water in terms of what will strip fat off your body fast. If you want to strip fat off your body get in cold water 3-6 minutes a day.”

Can Help to Overcome Addictions

The release of feel-good hormones such as the neurotransmitters endorphins and dopamine can help people overcome addictions. Brecka explains: “If you want to get natural endorphins get yourself in cold water. You skyrocket the level of dopamine. You’ll have no cravings, nicotine, alcohol, no other kind of cravings because when we crave things like alcohol or nicotine, all these things that lead to addictive tendencies this is a deficiency in dopamine. Most addicts are not waking up in the morning going “I want to get really banged up” they’re waking up in the morning going “I want to feel normal”. It’s a dopamine deficiency. You can get a natural flood of dopamine by getting in cold water.”

Gary Brecka Cold Plunge Protocol

Ease Yourself In

When starting out it’s recommended to ease yourself into the process of cold water exposure. Cold showers are a great starting point. Gary Brecka recommends the following introduction protocol:  “If you’re a newbie to cold water exposure, you’ve never done an ice bath, never gotten into a cold plunge or the thought is really daunting – you can start here: when you’re taking a shower, at the end step out of that stream of water, put the faucet on as cold as it will go, let the water run for about 30 seconds to a minute, take a nice deep breath, then just step right into that stream of water as you’re exhaling and just deal with it.”

Get a Dedicated Cold Plunge or Ice Bath

Once you have become more accustomed to cold water exposure it’s time to invest in a cold plunge or ice bath due to the main benefits coming from the body being completely submerged in water up to the neck. Gary Brecka states that “this is going to become your new drug of choice.”

Temperature & Time

Gary Brecka’s cold plunge protocol is as follows: “The sweet spot for cold plunging in my opinion seems to be 48 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 3 minutes minimum, 6 minutes maximum.” However, you need to build up to this 3 minute minimum so you don’t shock the body too much. He says: “Start at a minute, try to work your way up to 3 minutes.”

To become consistent with using your cold plunge or ice bath integrate it into your morning routine. Brecka says: “Every day, in the morning before your exercise. Even before your coffee. Don’t negotiate with yourself. Get up in the morning, brush your teeth, wash your face, walk to the edge of the cold plunge, take four deep breaths and get in.”

Until recently, many athletes took ice baths after exercise. Recent studies suggest that is in fact more beneficial to perform cold water exposure on a morning before exercise. The human biologist explains: “We now know that doing cold plunging before exercise is the way to do it. Because if you think of what the body’s doing naturally – if you do a big squat workout what does your body do? As soon as you’re done tearing all that muscle it’s going to send more blood flow to that muscle, more protein, more oxygen. It’s going to get all the byproducts out of the muscle. The last thing you want to do is shut that down. You don’t want to strip all that oxygen and all those amino acids out of the muscle.”

Check out the Top 5 Cold Plunges & Ice Baths to Buy in 2024 for All Budgets

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