Woman cold plunging and keeping track of her time and temperature.

Cold Plunge Before or After Workout?

How to get the most from your cold plunging routine

Should You Cold Plunge Before or After a Workout? Why?

Cold plunging immediately after exercise activates a powerful
anti-inflammatory response that dampens the positive inflammation required for muscle growth.

If your goal is to grow muscles, then you will want to cold plunge prior to working out.

Muscle growth is known technically as "hypertrophy."

If you examine:

  1. Cold exposure peer reviewed science
  2. Cold exposure experts like Dr. Andrew Huberman, Dr. Rhonda Patrick, and Dr. Susanna Soeberg
  3. Active practitioners of cold exposure

They all point to an optimal daily / weekly contrast therapy routine:

1. Cold Plunge First

2. Then Workout

3. Sauna Post-Workout

Daily Cold Plunge, Workout, Sauna Routine to Maximize Muscle Growth

1. Cold Plunge First

Cold exposure increases

  • Motivation
  • Energy
  • Anti-inflammation
  • Brown Fat (mitochondrial density)

It is the best pre-workout you can experience. Forget coffee. Forget caffeine.

More mitochondrial density (your cell batteries) means increased endurance and power.

2. Then Workout

After cold plunging, warm yourself naturally. Stretch and engage in light workout for 10 to 15 minutes as you adjust. Then go into your exercise.

You will notice more power, endurance, and energy going through your workout.

3. Sauna Post-Workout

It is opportunistic to sauna directly after your workout. You increase muscle growth factors and experience an anti-inflammatory response simultaneously.

It is ideal to sauna at the end of the day. Sauna causes the body to cool down, and cooling down is biologically associated with sleep.

If you are having trouble sleeping, try taking a sauna at the end of the day!

Weekly Cold Plunge, Workout, Sauna Routine to Maximize Muscle Growth

Once Per Week Full Contrast Therapy

3 Rounds of Cold plunge and Sauna

Total Time: 1 hour to 1.5 hours

Cold Plunge Temp: Below 59Ā° F or 15Ā° C

Sauna Temp: Above 180Ā° F or 82Ā°C

Cold plunge for 2-3 minutes, then sauna for 15 to 20 minutes, back to back, for 3 rounds.

Studies have shown that this routine, performed once per week, can increase Human Growth Hormone (HGH) by 16x.

It is strategic to perform full contrast therapy on active recovery days.

Full Contrast Therapy has Diminishing Returns

If you perform full contrast therapy more than one time per week you will experience diminishing returns on HGH increase.

It is also difficult to set aside a full hour of time every day for contrast therapy.

If you perform a daily cold plunge, workout, and sauna session throughout your day, combined with full 3 round contrast therapy session once per week, then you are maximizing hormetic stresses.

To achieve results and lasting habit formation, focus on daily consistency rather than intensity of every session. It is more important to cold plunge every day for less than a minute than to cold plunge once in a blue moon for 15 minutes.

Cold Plunging, Working Out, Sauna are All Hormetic Stresses

Hormetic stresses are useful body stresses that reset our metabolism, nervous system, and hormonal system.

There are four hormetic stresses:

1. Exercise
2. Fasting
3. Heat Therapy (Sauna)
4. Cold (Plunge)

The hormetic stresses are tools to reset your biology to your advantageā€” experience greater energy, engagement with life, and mental clarity.

Start slowly incorporating hormetic stresses into daily and weekly goals.

It is difficult incorporate several new routines at once.

But as you slowly stack these activities over time, you can maximize the benefits you experience from working out.

Cold Plunges Can Eliminate Anxiety and Depression.

Cold exposure therapy may be even more therapeutic and visceral than Psilocybin (mushroom) treatment.

Cold Therapy and Anxiety

Cold Plunges are 20x more effcient than Cryotherapy Machines at transfering heat from your body.

In a cold plunge, the water molecules are all touching vs. a cryotherapy machine which experiences gaps in air molecules (thermal transfer friction).

Cold Plunge Tubs vs. Cryotherapy Machines

Cold Plunges can help you overcome procrastination and increase your motivation.

Dr. Andrew Huberman shares key ways to increase your dopamine baseline, which consequently increases your motivation to engage in hard activities. One of those methods is Cold Plunging.

Cold Plunges Increase Your Dopamine Baseline