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Wim Hof talks about using cold temperatures and breath to increase performance

By June 7, 2017 No Comments

“The effectivity of the body suddenly is triggered, awakened. And it’s beautiful. It’s like feeling alive.”–Wim Hof

Wim Hof (@Iceman_Hof) is the holder of 26 world records for his feats withstanding cold temperatures using breath-work. He is now devoted to spreading the message of how to use his methods of breathing to maximize people’s physical potential.  Most recently, he is the author of “The Way of the Iceman,” which is about his own exploits and how anyone will be able to use his methods. Anyone familiar with Unbeatable Mind and SEALFIT will also be familiar with the importance of breath-work. Find out how you can use Wim’s breath methods to up your game by visiting .

This podcast is supported by Ample. Ample is a new company that has brought you convenient and healthy meals in a bottle. The Ample meals aren’t just protein shakes,  they are complete meals, including fiber and healthy fats as well as protein. Mark loves Ample and tries to have at least one Ample meal every day. Check them out. With orders of fifty dollars or more, listeners can use the code “unbeatable” on to get 2 bonus meals on your order.

The Neurohacker Collective have recently come out with Qualia, an extensively researched nootropic that combines natural ingredients with the best synthetic ingredients to maximize our capacity to think effectively.  When you purchase an ongoing subscription for Qualia at, enter the code “unbeatablemind15r” to get 15% off the price of a monthly subscription.

Love the Unbeatable Mind Podcast? Click here to subscribe on iTunes. We’d love your feedback, please leave a rating and review.

Other episodes of our podcast that you might be interested in are Mark’s interviews with Dr Belisa Vranich on breath-work and our 2015 episode with Dan Brule.

Transcript & Shownotes

Hey folks, this is Commander Mark Divine with the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Thanks so much for your time today. Really appreciate your time, because I know you don’t have a ton of it. Well, you’ve got as much as I have, but whether you use it wisely is up to you. So here we are. I am super-stoked to have Wim Hof as my guest today.

Now we were just talking beforehand. I’ve known about Wim Hof for a number of years and we’re all about the breath and integrating the breath with our physical, mental, emotional training here at SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind.

Wim Hof is a breath master and a pioneer and I’m so excited to really dive in and ask him some questions and kind of figure out what the hell makes this guy tick. He’s an unusual one. And we have… not as an unusual to me as it might be to most people because I think that the stuff he’s doing is actually going to be mainstream someday.


So Wim Hof, thanks so much for your time. I know you’re busy and it’s night-time over there, wherever you are. You’re not on top of a mountain right now in your shorts though, are you?

Wim Hof: No. Not right now… (laughing) But I feel on top of it. I feel on top of the world.

Mark: That’s awesome. So do I. Yeah, I got my workout in. I got my breath practice in this morning. And I got my cold shower in. And I haven’t eaten anything but a little bit of coffee with butter and an Ample, so I feel like a frickin’ million bucks too.

So let me give the guys and the ladies who are listening a little background and then you can fill in the details. But you’re from Holland and you got into working with the breath… and I’m really anxious to learn how you got into that… and when you started to experience the positive benefits and some of the unique aspects of the breath, you wanted to kind of prove the capacity of the human being to take control of his own health.

And so you’ve done a lot of different things to kind of prove that. Both from an adventure-slash-“hey, look at this. This is really cool that the human being can do this.” Such as climbing Kilimanjaro in your shorts, and going from extreme hot to extreme cold with over…

I think you’ve got 20 world records or some crazy thing like that?

Wim: 26

Mark: 26? Oh, that’s awesome. And now you’re working with universities to try to help other people understand why this works. Why the human being has way more control over their health than they’ve been led to believe, or we’ve been led to believe.

And you’re working on a new book called “Way of the Iceman.” I can’t wait to see that.

So tell us a little bit more. How did you get into all of this? Like, when did you first kind of think, “Hey, I’m going to start doing something different with my breath?” Than just breathing.

Wim: Yeah. You know actually I was as a young guy, was doing a… all this yoga, karate, kung fu… Sufism. I was into Buddhism, Hinduism… soul search. Traditions, cultures, philosophies, religions… anything I could get my hands upon, I took it on. But the cold… when I was 17, that really made me go deeply aware of my deeper physiology. And there’s where the breathing all began.

What do you do when you go into the cold? (Deep Inhale)

Mark: Yes. Well what triggers that? What was like first time where you’re like “Holy shit. I need to get control with the breath?” Did you, like, deliberately put yourself in the ice bath? Or did you fall through the ice somewhere? What happened? Why did that happen?

Wim: Yeah, I was in the soldier from early age on. But at a certain day when I was 17 years old, I saw this thin layer of ice on the water and it just attracted me.

And you know what you do when something attracts you. You go to her. And then… looking around… nobody here. I undress myself. I go in.

I went in. I felt good. I didn’t feel our concept of cold. I didn’t feel “cold.” I felt powerful like, at ease.

Being in the ice water for the first time, I felt at ease. And that… only for a minute or so, but that gave me a rush throughout the day. And you know when you feel so good, you will come back and do it again. And see if it happens again. And it happened again.

Mark: Yes. I actually have… I had experience with that when I went through… early in my Navy SEAL career, when we first went up to Alaska for our cold weather training, we did something similar. But we had a bunch of instructors who were forcing us to do it. I’m not sure we would have done it on our own.

But we got into the water. We still had our clothes on, but we stayed there for 5 minutes and we just breathed. And it felt really, really good. I mean, it was uncomfortable at first, but I totally get what you mean and it changed my perspective on cold water as well. It can be a really good teacher.

Wim: Yes. It is. And that’s the way I consider the cold. It’s a natural element which is able… merciless but righteous to show you the depths of your full potential.

And, as it does, you find out that breathing makes a difference. Once you begin to follow the breathing, you are able… within the water… Like, 25 breaths it took me to be able to oxygen the body fully, become fully alkaline and be able, very controlled, to go under the ice every time I did it, for 5 to 7 minutes. And no problem. Completely in control and yeah, just hearing this “ch-ch-ch-ch-ch, coo-coo-coo-coo-coo.” Peace. Peace under… fully controlled, it fills your mind. It brings you back in this connection. And it’s a great teacher. It’s a great element. It’s for free. Anybody can do it.

You optimize your vascular system. You optimize your mental health. Your energy levels are going up. Cause the transportation system of yours is being optimized. It’s incredible what the vascular system… you know, a big war commander, that’s the vascular… cardiovascular related diseases in the US.

Mark: Right.

Wim: That’s a big war. Half a million every year are just dying of it. And a whole lot of more millions have less quality of life because of their poor blood flow, vascular condition. If they will train a little with the cold, like a cold shower a day, really keeps the doctor away.

And we are… we have to pass this knowledge. So this podcast could… with a guy like yourself… you are a former SEAL, still the Commander, still in command within your body and your mind.

Mark: Right.

Wim: And that’s what you show. And that’s what we actually are able to do… all of us. Only we lost this belief. We lost the connection. And we are losing it.

Mark: Yeah, well we’re going to bring it back. And I really appreciate and honor the work that you’re doing because it’s starting to have an impact and so is ours.

The… you know, I learned breath–as I mentioned earlier, before we started this–through… first through my martial arts training, like you. The power of the breath and different breathing exercises to induce explosive power. To create extreme calm, clarity. Those things…

Wim: Yeah, you know what? I do this training with Tsooki from Japanese… but then I take 13 kilos here, 13 kilos here. 26 pounds, 26 pounds. I can do at the beginning and I’m amazed. The best of them, they train here. And I see them… they have a hard time doing `100 times. And then I used my breath, and I do it 400 times.

Mark: Right.

Wim: That’s the breath. The breath is able to alkalize the body while you are performing. It’s like a drill can be without air, without being pneumatic is a lot less strong than a pneumatic drill. So if we use the breath, we become so much stronger.

Mark: Right. Well, there also is an intense concentration effect with the breath. And so it stabilizes the mind on that single point focus so you can do 400 without getting distracted or fatigued or whatnot. So it’s a really… there’s a twofer right there. So not only does it have the physiological impact that you’re talking about, but it has a deep concentrating effect on the mind so you can stay focused on that task.

Alkaline Body

Let me… cause you’ve mentioned this word “alkaline” a couple times. So what you’re suggesting is that in a normal… let’s say a common person that the body is an acidic state and that the breath has something to do with that? Talk to me about that a little bit.

Wim: Yes. Mark, you know, you can prove it to yourself if you do these breathing techniques I’m showing all the time. You can take these trips. They go from… ph trips. From being acidic to alkaline. Like yellow to green then to blue. Blue is alkaline. Yellow is acidic.

So the morning, you can pee on it or use your saliva, and it’s trustworthy because I just finished a study. A new study… big study with a university. They all peaked within 20 minutes going to 7.8 and then going back to 7.3, 7.4. Which is the absolute optimized chemical level of alkalinity in your blood.

They saw this. But you can measure… Everybody can measure this. Just do the breathing exercises in the morning, and take a ph trip before… and you see, “bang,” this is acidic. Okay.

Then you do 20 minutes of this breathing. 20, 25 minutes. Like, 4 cycles. And you are like retention after exhalation for say… guys like us, we can do easily 2, 3 minutes. 4 minutes without air in the lungs. That means that you are oxygenizing the body, going into the tissue and make the acidity over there–which is a result of our stressful lives–that like all the people in the West. They have a slight acidity in the tissue.

And now we have found a way to tap into this tissue. These breathing techniques, they do it. Together with the right mindset, they go past the firewalls, into the lymphatic system and they bring the lymph tissue into this alkaline state. And they say–these professors who are dealing with biology and chemistry–they tell me, “Yeah, this is probably the cause…Taking away the cause for autoimmune disease.” Diseases. All of them.

So, and we found this now. So anybody can see if you become alkaline to within 25 minutes because of these breathing techniques. And just use your mind. Don’t be somewhere else, be in the breathing. Because it’s neurology. The mind is neurology.

I will explain on that just in a moment. Cause I just have proven in university studies in Michigan under a brain scan what is happening. That’s amazing what is happening.

The thing is alkalinity… from being acidic to alkalinity within 20, 25 minutes. And it’s not only that you become alkaline at that moment. No, it stays all day long. And that’s amazing.

Mark: That is amazing. So hang on… I can see how acidity will lead to long-term inflammation and ill-health and degraded performance. But how does it affect performance in let’s say you hop in that ice-bath, like you said, or you go under the ice for 7 minutes. How does being alkaline help you in that moment versus being acidic? What’s the near-term effect?

Wim: Going into the cold, alkalinity is the chemical environment for the performance neurotransmitters. Performance neurotransmitter in muscle tissue. When the muscle tissue is alkaline, then the neurotransmitters to perform, they move. They keep on moving. Because there is no hindrance when it becomes…

Mark: So they’re shut down when you’re acidic and so the performance neurotransmitters don’t get transmitted. Interesting.

Wim: Yes, sir. That’s it.

Nutrition and Eating

Mark: That makes sense. You know, I don’t wanna get…This question we can probably come back at later, but the connection between diet, you know, nutrition, thinking–how you think–and then how you move and train. So when I say movement, I mean moving energy. That means, moving your body, moving the breath, right? Moving even fluids through your body. The connection between those 3 is just very intimate. Far more intimate than I think, than Western medicine has ever been able to really been able to see. So when you start to combine… Like, I know that one of the things that we talk about is caloric reduction. Not caloric restriction but caloric reduction. Because I eat about maybe a third less than my peers, and it’s just the way my natural body has… I just don’t feel the hunger. And I eat fewer meals, or more small meals… I don’t like to sit down for big meals because the digestion gets all cantankerous.

And so eating less… eating higher quality of less food. Moving the food through you by taking it in in smaller bites and more frequently.

And then same thing with fluid. Drinking fresh water throughout the day, so your body becomes like a flowing river of nutrients, you know?

And then…

Wim: Logical.

Mark: Yeah. It’s logical. Moving the breath, having breathing exercises multiple times per day. Moving the breath. And then that starts to move the energy and you so you get the elimination or the detoxification.

And then your mind starts to get really clear. And my sense is the opposite happens if you get food kind of coagulating in your system, and you’re not hydrating properly and you’re not moving the breath then all of a sudden all your thoughts become inflamed. Just like your body becomes inflamed.

Isn’t that interesting? So your psychology and your biology are intimately linked.

Wim: Yeah, and they say if you eat less, and it’s logical, then you become like the hunter. Animals only go to hunt when they feel hungry. And you know what happens with the animal? It becomes much more alert. And it feels itself like a prowling leopard. It feels all these senses.

So if you go to that feeling inside… cause we are mammals. If you go and eat restricted… not thinking about it, no. Go to the feeling that you feel more alive. You can feel it through your eyes. And the ketogenics begin to… they get into the chemistry of the brain. You think more alert. You are overall more alive.

And the affectivity of the body suddenly is triggered, awakened and it’s beautiful. It’s like feeling alive. So I’m really a fan of eating once a day.

Mark: Once a day.

Wim: Yeah, that’s what I do. Another thing is…

Mark: What time, by the way? Do you have a particular time that you feel is optimal?

Wim: Yeah, after 6 o’clock.

Mark: 6 PM. Okay.

Wim: Yeah, it’s like, I already passed three quarters of an hour my time. And it’s all all right, because I feel great. I feel good.

Another thing is aerobic dissimilation. And as you said, water together with conscious breathing, as you said, it brings about aerobic dissimilation in the cell. Conscious breathing brings in more oxygen into the mitochondria. It’s called aerobic dissimilation. And the mitochondria… the thing is food equals energy. It goes through the process of the mitochondria and that makes ATP molecules, which is energy. But good breathing also creates more ATP through aerobic dissimilation, and then becomes energy. So deep breathing makes you able to make energy, thus the less food you need. And when you eat less, you become more alert. Ketogenics… they begin to awaken within our brain. We are not only think better, we are more alive. The body goes into an affectivity mode, and then the magic of life happens. We should eat less, and when we eat, we eat with all the pleasure of the world, because all the enzymes work. Everything works. It’s peace.

Mark: So when you… let’s talk about in your…

Wim: I love to eat.

Mark: (laughing) Yeah, you should love to eat. I agree. Have no guilt over it, and no, “can I eat this or can I eat that?” When you eat less and you train hard then you can enjoy whatever, but generally speaking, because you feel so darn good, you know, what I find is you don’t have any interest in eating crap. So you eat really healthy whole foods, and a lot of fat.

Do you eat a lot of fat? Or what’s your meal look like?

Wim: Really, most of it is vegetarian, but actually doesn’t matter. A mammal outside in nature is an opportunist.

Mark: Yes. It’s true.

Wim: So it is as you just mentioned now. It doesn’t really matter what you eat. You don’t need to think about restricting this, restricting that. “Oh no. This is not good.” Bah-bah-bah.

Go away. Just have an appetite and like the bear you know what is good and what is no good. The appetite is very strong chemistry. It knows how to deal, to convert food into energy.

And another thing is my opinion on food… Food should be food.

Mark: Yes.

Wim: Not too much processed. Because then your body needs to process all the chemistry which we are not built to work on that. For that, it takes a lot of energy and it does strange things with our chemistry. Our chemical metabolics.

So, yeah. If food is food, then you don’t need to think about what you are going to eat. Maybe you can consider, “I don’t want to eat so much meat, because living animals…” I can understand that. But in the sense of chemistry, it doesn’t really matter what you eat, but don’t eat too much. Because then the body is not as effective mode and the enzymes and all the chemistry is not able to take it on the right way, and to convert it.

Know that there’s a lot of waste, there’s a lot of processing and we live in this society in which our mind is completely engaged, thus the sympathetic nervous system is on. And what do you need when you eat food all day? You need the parasympathetic nervous system.

Like any owl teaches us, it’s going to sit down. And digest and then go, like a Buddha, it’s just digesting its food. And what do we do? “Hup-hup-hup. I can do this! I can do that!”

It’s creating conflict in your body. So that… something’s going on in there. Take your time for your food, cause your body is built to take it on. And to give you great energy. But let it convert it into the energy. It is working for you.

It’s like we are punishing those who work for us. And that… of course, body’s going to protest.

Mark: Let me see if I can summarize for the listeners. So you’re saying, you know, eat less. The way you do that is by eating once a day after 6 PM. I’d be interested to know why that time frame, but maybe it’s just your instincts or your body.

Also, eat real food. Which is what your body instinctually wants to eat. Which I heard you say. So when your healthy, and your mind is not engaged in the craving of sugar and cake and whatnot, you’re body’ naturally going to want to eat the healthy, whole foods. So eat that. And just eat less than, you know, what society tells you to eat. Which you’re going to do if you’re only eating one meal.

And that allows us to slow down and digest the meal. Or after the meal we’re going to want to rest and digest. Trigger that parasympathetic nervous system. And everything comes back into balance and you can just extract the nutrients.

Wim: And the breathing. During the day.

Mark: And the breathing, yeah. Is there any breathing practice you have around your meal? Like before and after? Or do you just sit down and eat?

Wim: Sit down and eat. And enjoy it very much. Yeah, I did my training, man.

Mark: (laughing) You’ve already done the training.

Wim: The pushup exercise is great, hunh? Did you do the pushup exercise? Without breathing?

Mark: I do that, yeah. We got… we borrow that from Systema, so we do breath retention pushups and single breath squats… 2 squats, 3 squats. We call them breath ladders. I think a lot of these things have kind of percolated over here, and we forget where they came from, you know? The Tibetan Tummos, the Tibetan monks used to do a lot of the breathing to stay warm and I’ve referenced that a few times. I’ve never been to Tibet, but that’d be really cool to go see them.

It’s really… but like you said earlier… it’s universal knowledge. I’ve done over 2000 hours of yoga teacher training… actually, no, not 2000… I’ve done about 700 hours of teacher training, but I’ve been teaching for 2 to 3000 hours. It’s about 10 years. I don’t teach much anymore. But you just kind of become a little Borg for information, and we here as a SEAL, we take what works and we discard what doesn’t.

And we strip all the cultural nuance out of it so that we… for me I wanna be able to teach something without having to have someone think it’s yoga, or think it’s tied to Buddhism or something like that, you know what I mean? These are universal practices, this is universal knowledge. And, like you said, it’s utterly necessary for optimal health. Both for the individuals and for our collective species I think.

Wim: Yes, yes. Absolutely. And that’s why I bring it to the universities. To non-speculatively show the shortcut into our brain and our body the way nature meant it to be. That’s it.

And you know, as a SEAL, as Special Forces, if you are dropped somewhere it’s not about yoga or sitting there or something. No, to just learn to trust, to be the best of yourself.

Mark: Right.

Wim: And I’ve tested that on the rocks, climbing without gear. Or swimming under the ice. A breath-hold or being in the elements in extreme cold or heat. And then you’re not thinking you are dealing with the best of your body, the brain-body connection. It needs to be there and I just cut the crap. Be there and do it. And then… now, I bring it to the universities. Laboratory settings. And it shows that suddenly we are able to tackles that what kills us.

And that’s the wrong… no control over the immune system. That what kills us the endocrine system or the hormonal system.

We can’t control it now. We can control our health, happiness and strength and bring it back for everybody. And I think that war, we have won. And we’re gotta bring it to the people. We gotta bring these to the people. Peace. Right on.

Mark: Deep. Right on. Hooyah! I love that. And so back in the 60s, a bunch of yogis came over. Swami Rama being a famous one of them. Who did a lot of these things, and they had researchers kind of look at him. He was able to manifest tumors on his arm and make them go away. This is all mind over matter, mind over body kind of stuff.

And he also demonstrated control over the limbic system by being able to deeply slow down his heart rate, and they buried him alive. Crazy stuff.

But the problem is, you know, he was considered like a circus act, and like a one off. And he didn’t… or maybe conditions weren’t right back in the 60s to have a university come in and actually validate this. And say, “You know what? This is actually the human condition. This isn’t one nut-case who does this.”

So that’s really powerful. I think it’s extremely valuable, cause as you know, the Western doesn’t believe anything unless there’s a scientific study validating it.

I could go… I could say I’ve trained 100,000 people and they’ve had transformative breakthroughs and the Western world is going to say, “So what? Prove it.” Unless I’ve got a scientific study to prove it that I’m making these people healthier… or they’re making themselves healthier with these principles. And able to think better and to have breakthroughs and transformation, we’ve gotta have the studies.

So I really applaud you for doing that. I think that’s killer. That’s really important. And I wanna be able to tap into those, so when we get together you’ve gotta show me those so I can share those with my people, you know? With our tribe.

Practical Breathing

Mark: Let’s get into some practical stuff, like what does your core method look like? Can you share that with our listeners? So that… I don’t recommend people try it without having, you know, actually having someone train you in it. But what’s your core method?

Wim: Really, it’s changing the chemistry into alkaline. Anybody can do it, in the morning. If you do that, you know, 4 rounds. We got the basics for free on the website, then you will become alkaline. That’s very important.

To get the right chemistry in your body.

Mark: So you’re saying to actually learn the method, they should go to your website?

Wim: Yes. And it’s for free, you know? You get all the knowledge behind my… Keep it simple. The natural optimized chemistry in the body is being alkaline. 7.3, 7.4. Anybody can do this within 20, 25 minutes.

That… for hours you will stay that way. And that is the best way to perform in the day. If you want to make best use of your body… of your body’s chemistry to perform, become alkaline. Number 1. Through the breath.

Then Number 2. The cold. Gradual cold exposure is bringing the cardiovascular system to its optimized condition the way nature meant it to be. The transportation system of your nutrients, vitamins, oxygen and minerals… it should be there the right way. Otherwise, what happens is that our hearts… our heart is pumping more to compensate for the lesser condition of the vascular primitive muscles and reflexes. And it’s not helping. They are not… you know what happens if you don’t train muscles. They become weak. So we’ve got primitive muscles in our vascular system. And the vascular system is about 80,000 miles in each and every one of us.

Mark: (laughing) Holy shit.

Wim: So if they are not optimized, then the blood-flow, it still needs to go through. The heart is

Going to pump more.

Mark: Mm-hmm. So how does cold exercise those vascular muscles?

Wim: It stimulates the vascular contraction, and dilatation. Or the little muscles–the primitive muscles and reflexes directly. And I always say gradual cold exposure. Don’t go into the ice cold at once, cause your vascular system is fatigued. You cannot go like 30 kilos or, you know, 60 pounds at once. First you take 10 pounds. And then 15, 20, 25, 30. Because the muscle is there.

Mark: So how do you recommend people do that? Through just turning the shower cold?

Wim: Yes. The cold after in the first week, take 30 seconds cold after a warm shower. And then you feel by yourself that you are able to do more. And that 30 seconds of cold, you cannot only bear it a whole lot better at the end of the week. It’s your vascular condition going up.

You feel a lot more energy. More energized. You just feel overall better. So, you get this natural, gradual vascular condition improvement. Okay? And that makes sense.

And then you take it for 1 minute. The second week. And then, you know what happens then, is that the brain-body connection suddenly begins to appear. And what happens is that when you think you go into the cold shower, just to begin with the cold shower for 30 seconds, something like that. That what happens from the brain, the hypothalamus, it instructs the vascular system to close around the core body. And that’s… the core body temperature remains the right temperature to function. You know, warm blood? Not hypothermic. It is not cold. Because it closes. And that’s what you do with your mind. There begins the interesting road of the mind over the matter.

So anybody can do this. So after 2 weeks, I say to the people, “Now try not to add cold for one minute, now try 30 seconds to begin with the cold and you program your vascular condition… vasal constriction around the core body, and you will see you are able to go into the cold and have a great time.

Why? Suddenly, you connect with your body. That makes you feel good, and the cold is only improving your inner power. Your inner connection. And that feels good. Suddenly you are more in control all over the day, because you’re learned consciously connect with your own body. And that’s amazing.

So, from there, people begin not only to feel better and more energy, they begin to understand what it is. And that they are able to go in more colder, etc.

You know, like running. Like muscle training. Vascular condition training is also muscle training. Primitive muscles, primitive reflexes of the 80,000 miles everybody has. That means about all the body.

And that’s amazing. When that happens, Mark, and this is the gravity of it all. If we bring this knowledge, this little bit of breathing… alkalinity and the belief that it is right. It’s based on science. And then the vascular training like cold showers. A cold shower a day keeps the doctor away. I mean, it is the biggest killer in the US, in the West… here in the Netherlands as well. As in Germany, as in England. And we live in the West, we have a mindset for living in the West. To deal with stress, it all works on our vascular system. We’ve always got it warmed up… warm, warm, warm.

Nothing is trained. It is not able to deal with the adrenaline coming in. We get so much stress and it’s not running right. So we can tackle the biggest war of ours, is the war of the bacteria, the virus and the bacsil. That’s the biggest ever risk. And we can take it down.

We have to bring this knowledge to the people that it is so simple and accessible. And there you get the mind change. Because people have got this mindset, “I take a pill. I take medicines.” And that’s… now instantly it’s gotta do… it’s sorry, my French… It fucks us up.

Mark: Yeah. We’ve got a cultural mindset of weakness because we’ve outsourced our health. And so, what you’re saying–and a hundred percent agree–is we gotta get ourselves mentally strong. We’ve gotta commit to taking control back of our health, and these practices that you’re talking about… cold–I’ll call it “cold therapy” or “cold exposure,” breath, and caloric reduction all will take you back in control of your immune system.

So, you know, all those viruses and bacteria and shit… your body will be able to fight them off like it’s meant to.

Wim: Yes sir.

Mark: And you’ll be in optimal health. You’ll feel good about yourself. You’re back in control. You don’t need the healthcare system; you don’t need the government to take care of you. Boom! That’s a nice vision.

Wim: That’s it! That’s it! That’s the war won!

Mark: Yeah, that’s the war won. I agree with that.


We’ve been going for about 45 minutes almost, and so I wanna be sensitive to your time, but I had some questions from our social media. I’d love to ask them and see where they go and then we’ll kind of wrap things up.

But this is from… I’ll probably brutalize these names, but Verangean Enley? Anyway, this person’s asking… I’m not sure if it’s male or female… “What’s been your most profound epiphany through your endeavors that we’ve been speaking of here?” Your most profound epiphany. Like…

Wim: The “Wow” factor. You know, what we are doing right now. You know what we do namely… it’s going beyond my person. People just because of this knowledge, and I see many. I got a community of 45,000 active members. And they are doing this, and I see people with the strangest diseases. Severe diseases. Terrible diseases.

I mean, like severe depression, arthritis, Crohn’s disease. Even leukemia.

And they heal! And they heal. And they come, like on daily basis. It’s a miracle. That simplicity. The way we are talking about really makes them able to find out whatever has been caused by bacsils, viruses and/or bacteria and this stressed daily life of ours wherein we lost the belief and the connection with ourselves to become happy, strong and healthy.

So, that’s the greatest epiphany. And I have to say, climbing a mountain is just fucking beautiful. I go up and I see I can climb… I’m in shorts and I’m in temperatures way down in freezing points. And I see all that beauty. So much more intense. It’s amazing.

And also to see that you’re able physically… if you physically feel strong and you do these things we said like with the breathing, alkalinity and the cold… the transportation system of the oxygen and nutrients and all, then suddenly if you do pushups for 2 minutes without air in the lungs.

I see all my life at once. I understand the purpose. I understand why I love life so much, and why I love to breath. So epiphanies… yeah, we should go every day for that. Because life, spirituality is every day. And every day the miracle is there to be embraced.

Mark: Miracle’s right here. Right now. I agree. That’s awesome. I love that. Thank you for sharing.

And so Oppa Mata asks… and this is kind of… I was going to ask you this earlier, but I forgot. I’m glad she did. But as far as breathing methods, what’s your take on Buteyko. Buteyko was before his time, and he got ostracized and I think he even got thrown in jail. Maybe not, but he got ostracized in Russia because he was making claims that his method was healing people like that. So what’s your take on the Buteyko Method? Is it similar? I mean, I know it’s not exactly the same method, but it’s something similar happening.

Wim: Yeah, what’s in a name? What’s in a name? We don’t fight each other. We actually complement each other. And people are sometimes confused. “Oh, ah, this looks like controlled hyperventilation.”

Let’s slow down. Hyperventilation to begin with is completely different. So, but my method is being proven through science and scientific scrutiny and research and it really works on inflammation or pain or depression.

Okay. We put it aside. Buteyko. He goes not… he doesn’t talk about oxygenation. He talks about the CO2. The CO2 is the trigger to effectify our breathing. Our oxygenation in the body. The right amount of oxygen to have the right molecular and chemical processes in the cell are being awakened, triggered by longer breaths.

And actually what we do in our breathing session. Technique number one is the retentions. Built up oxygen. Blow off CO2. Bring oxygen into the tissue. Making it alkaline. Making you able not to… no need for breathing for a long time. It’s also very much taking away the oxygen on deep levels in the body, and suddenly the affectivity of the brain stem… it goes to work. Brings in and peaks with adrenaline and makes the body the utmost. To be effective in survival. S

So we do this all very controlled. So his method is about, in fact, CO2 enhancing. Slower breaths and the affectivity of malaca level and also in the brainstem. He had these scientific devices, but now I can tell you, he was there too. So we are there too. And with these breathing techniques I do, we actually go faster into the system…

Mark: yeah, I was going to say, it seems like your method is a little bit more of a rocket ship into that CO2 balance, the alkalinity. Whereas Buteyko, I think it took several months of that nice, slow, controlled breathing to neutralize or normalize the CO2. Interesting.

Okay. So I get that. That was a great question Oppa Mata, and so a couple more here. Will from Facebook. What’s your internal dialogue when you’re doing some of the challenges that you do? For instance, the Kilimanjaro or what’s going on in your head? I know you said earlier, you’re really present and you just focus on the breathing. But do you have a mantra or an internal dialogue?

Wim: Yeah, the breathing. I follow the breathing. Mostly when I do my challenges I follow the breathing.

Why? Because if you follow the breathing, then the only thing I mind is the chemistry. I make sure my body is alkaline, that’s number 1. And I make sure that… let me explain this. Just 2 months ago I was in Michigan. They had me dressed in a suit with tubes. And those tubes were connected to a basin. And they filled it up with water together with ice cubes to bring down the temperature. Then that water–while I was in the brain scan–that water was being pushed into the suit. Into all these tubes to get my skin temperature down.

And the only thing I could do is think. To think makes a difference to the skin temperature while being exposed to ice water, not to go down or to go down. Not being able to do something, or to be able to do something. And they saw in the brain that I was just controlling the sympathetic nervous system in the brain the insula together with the adrenaline, which is the hormones, to be effective against danger coming in. Which is the cold.

But also the parasympathetic nervous system. The peace. The control. The feeling good. And then they saw these hormones–endogenous opiates, endorphins, serotonins–all present. Dopamines. And they were present.

And then the skin temperature did not go down only because I was thinking about it. I had programmed my body…

Mark: To follow your mind, yeah.

Wim: Yes, sir. And the skin temperature did not go down anymore. Four times. So what do I do when I do a record? I want to do whatever I programmed my body to do. To execute the climb of the mountain that you do it successfully. Or to swim under the ice for say 50, 60, 70, 80 meters. You know, yards.

Breath hold. Or hang by one finger in the air in mid-winter in the freezing temperatures a mile in the air between balloons. Or running, or whatever… Crazy stuff, you know? You can do crazy stuff, but we have to believe.

Mark: We have to commit, yeah.

Wim: We have to connect our beliefs with the right chemistry inside of our body. I tested it first into nature and I felt I could do it all. And then I brought it to a laboratory setting and now it’s becoming mainstream where I’m able to pass it on to say groups of people in just a couple of days. And that’s amazing.

Cause we got these big problems. Disease, depression, anxiety. I tell you we can tackle them. That’s what we’re doing together.

Mark: You reminded me of a couple stories–and I’ll keep them really short–from the warrior tradition. Cause warriors have known this for years. The one is the story about the Apache scouts and they would trek the entire continent of the United States. All the way from the Arctic Circle down… tracking herds and food and whatever. And the stories of the Apache scout named “Grandfather”–this comes from Tom Brown, trekking through the wilderness up in the Arctic just in his loincloth essentially. Basically just like you would.

But he’s sweating because he’s using a breathing and mental control techniques.

And the other is more modern. My friend Stew Smith was on TV a while ago. He’s a Navy SEAL, and they did a test where they submerged him an ice-bath for 5 minutes. And then he basically got out and he ran a combat conditioning course, and did a marksman shoot. And he did, like, effortlessly perfect shots because… and the other people who did were just soup sandwich… they couldn’t even move after the ice-bath. But he was in there doing his Navy SEAL techniques, and it worked. It was very cool.

So I love what you’re doing. One more question and then we’ll move on.

For vets, cause you know, it’s a big passion of mine to work with vets. Especially those who are really, really suffering from depression and PTSD and are kinda hooked into the system.

Wim: I’m into that. I think we got some… I want to go into that PTSD. PTSD, trauma, anxiety. WE are into that. You know, whenever bombs fall, shooting, deaths and that… it is just too much for our nervous system. So it gets deregulated. And now we’ve found ways to regulate again. To re-regulate the nervous system at the autonomic level. So the breathing and the cold, they are able to do that.

Mark: We’ve started an organization called the “Courage Foundation.” And right now we’re working with… we’re starting to work with the vet population. Accessing them is the challenge. You know, finding them. Cause a lot of times they’re kind of hidden from view. But maybe we could organize a seminar for vets where we go in and do some training for a day or two. Through the Courage Foundation. Would you be open to that some time down the road?

Wim: Yes, sir.

Mark: That’d be exciting. I’d really love to do that.

Wim: And we have the… we will have a great story with them. We love them. So we bring back their sense… the brain-body connection, the way nature meant it to be. We got the tools, and we gotta share it with the lot. And determination. And if we are able to bring them around, then we got proof for everybody else. In the meanwhile, I do the neuro-scientific research.

Mark: Right. You keep doing that.

Hey, so what is your…? Do you have any seminars in the United States coming up in the next 6 to 9 months?

Wim: Yes. Now I go to LA. And next week I’ll be in LA, and then San Francisco. Then Canada, Toronto, Vancouver. Then in New York, Dallas, and Hawaii with the SEALs. Yeah, maybe some more. I don’t know. But the most important of what we do is what we do right now. Bring the information. Bring the belief. Bring data. You know, there is no speculation about it, we got it. We only need to get the fuck out of this train of daily stress and disbelief and bring back sense right here and right now. Comradeship. Very important.

Mark: Hooyah. I agree.

Wim: And that’s not only because it’s so nice or something. You cover my ass, I cover your ass. No, it’s chemistry. It’s chemistry. And PTSD… I’m your comrade, man. I give my life, anytime. No problem.

Thing is, we gotta help those who cannot help themselves anymore. If we do that, and then you are my real friend.

Mark: Well, we’ll work… I’m committed to that, so we’ll be in touch. I wanna figure that out. We’ll figure out how to get some vets together and train them and then as far as everyone listening on this website or on this podcast. If you got any ideas on how to help us with that please send it to [email protected]

Wim Hof’s website is I’m sure you can also just Google it or find him on Facebook and all that. But I’m going to try to get to one of your seminars too. I’d love to see you in LA or San Francisco. Or maybe I’ll find out how to come out when… are you working with the SEALs on the east coast or west coast? Do you know?

Wim: Hawaii.

Mark: Hawaii. Oh wow. Okay.

Wim: Yes. I’m flying out to Hawaii after New York. After the 22nd.

Mark: So you’re working with STV guys.

Wim: I think it’s very interesting what you do. Monday, I got to Skype with an officer.

Mark: Oh cool. Okay.

Wim: And I will talk about you, Mark.

Mark: Yeah, I’d love to… the SEALs just came up from BUD/S and there’s some real interest in kind of sharing ideas in how we do mental toughness training and integrated training and resiliency. And the breath is a big part of that. And I’d love to have you be part of that kinda discussion too.

And I’d love to see you over in Hawaii, if I can make that work, you know what I mean? That’d be really cool.

I used to be over there. That was my… I was at… SEAL delivery vehicle team vehicle 1 and the submersible units are over in Hawaii and I lived there for a couple of years. And it’s a neat place. You’re going to enjoy that, meeting those guys. They’re pretty cool. They’re spot on. Awesome.

Well, sir. Thanks so much for making your time. Sounds like you’re ready… your stomach’s growling. You’re ready to feed. (laughing)

Wim: (laughing) I can eat anything now.

Mark: (laughing) You can eat anything.

Wim: Going to enjoy my meal. I had a great time with you Mark. And this is just the beginning.

Mark: I hear ya. All right, sir. Thanks for all you do. Keep up the good work. Look forward to seeing you.

And everybody, go check out Look out for his new book coming out, “The Way of the Iceman.” When is that due out?

Wim: I don’t know. I don’t know. I mean, Scott Carney’s the… I don’t know nothing. We are just going to win the war, that’s what I know.

Mark: All right. Well we’re going to win the war with you. All right, buddy.

Thanks very much and hooyah. Keep up the great work.

Wim: Right on. See you.

Mark: Yup. We’ll see you around. Take care.

Well there you heard it from Wim Hof himself. That was awesome. What an interesting cat, man. He’s sure passionate about what he does.

I’ve been trying get that going for like 3 months. Every time we tried to hook it up, he was under the water or on top of some mountain top. Finally pinned him down and hope to see him at a seminar. Maybe I’ll see you there as well. Go check out his work at

And I’ve got some friends who are doing it, and we do a lot of that same stuff, but I’m going to check into it. And see maybe if I missed something. But I think just the fact that you can… or just the point of practicing breath for 20 minutes every morning–part of you morning routine–is huge. It’s super-important for that alkaline balance, the CO2 balance, mental focus and clarity and preparing to win in the day. It’s awesome stuff.

All right, that’s it for now. Stay focused. Do your work every day. Take control and win the war.


All right, now for the warning. Now I fully support the cold therapy and the nutrition recommendations of that podcast, but I’d like to warn you about the intense breathing exercises.

There’s 2 types of breathing exercises. One are slow and controlled, to be done as a practice such as our box breathing.

The other are intense and energetic like moving a ton of energy, such as what we just discussed with Wim Hof’s breathing practices.

The first in the ancient traditions–the warrior traditions–is called a pranayama or breath control. The 2nd is called a kriya, which is more of an energy activation.

The pranayama’s are meant to be done on a daily basis. And even then, the type, the method and the duration of the holds those types of things are usually offered up under guidance or taught under guidance of someone who has a lot of experience with them. And the reason being is that you’re moving a lot of energy, including mental energy, psychological energy. And if you have an imbalance then an improper breathing practice or a practice done improperly… the wrong practice for you or the right practice done the wrong way can lead an imbalance to be even more imbalanced. Meaning if you have a mental imbalance, which many people do in our modern society, then over time it’ll magnify that imbalance and lead to some instability.

And the kriyas, the intense energy activation were meant to be done once in a while. Usually for a specific purpose. To clear some emotional energy, emotional blocking. To prepare for an intense event of some sort. For some healing of some sort.

But they weren’t necessarily done daily as a practice. In fact, rarely unless it was prescribed to you for a specific duration.

So that’s my warning. If you’re going to do the Wim Hof breathing exercises… try it out. I encourage you. There’s benefit to it, but I wouldn’t do it every day for months on end. I’d give it a week, see what happens and then use it as necessary if you get into a situation where you need to warm yourself up or prepare for something that’s going to be rigorous or cold.

Okay? So that’s my warning. And I think there’s enough said on that. So, probably heard that here first.


Coach Divine out.