How is Cold Exposure better at performance than Steroids

Everyone who has ever gone to the gym knows as a man that thoughts about steroids use are widespread.

It’s almost an epitome of gym – we can just look at how in every community, most lifestyle celebrities are discussed whether they are natty or not, whenever a picture is posted.

How does that look in terms of numbers?

Use of steroids globally

In UK, over 1 million men use steroids. Imagine that as of writing this post, it’s at 6.4% of the general population.

Now think about how many people don’t even exercise. and you may start to realize that the number of people that exercise and are natural is lower by each year.

However even though there are risks in taking steroids, it would be quite obvious that they work very well.

We’ve seen many transformations in the past which completely changed people’s careers. For example in Hollywood.

Actors in Hollywood

Hollywood is a famous example of actors getting in some of the best shapes we’ve ever seen consistently over the years.

When you actually look at the pictures of those actors in their early 20s – you’d think they are any normal other guy you will see in your school.

However we’ve already seen that Hollywood is really good at transforming their actors. Think about transformations into super-unnatural body shapes that many naturals have issues to get to even after 5-10 years of training. Consistently over, and over again.

Obviously take this statement with a grain of salt, but we can’t deny anymore that the fast transformations people go through are not done through natural means.

However, is there a better way?

Cold Exposure: Research

Before we jump into cold exposure, I should point out the reason why it has even been studied.

There has been a substantive amount of research into the role of temperature in our body, since it’s the one vertical that controls majority if not everything that happens in our bodies at any time of the day.

Enzymes (which control metabolism and breakdown of chemicals) react differently to hormones thanks to changes in body temperature.

Temperature also covers the most important functions of our day to day lives – your sleep, wakefulness and movements you do with your body.

The reason why I’d suggest it’s so powerful because it’s the one thing our bodies had been built upon with evolution.

Just couple of degrees can even kill you, which is why our body has evolved to put every lever in place to control temperature as well as it can over millions of years.

After the studies I’ll point out, I would like to emphasize that the US military and all of the NFL teams in the US had been using this type of cold exposure for couple of years (if not decades).

Cold Exposure: Protocol

To give you the protocol straight: The way the cold exposure works in the fastest way, is to cool your core and muscle in the simplest and fastest way.

The only lever of when your muscles and nerves – you – want to stop during exercise is when there is an increase of temperature in the given exercised area.

To prevent complete burn you’re then “forced” to stop. Mentally – you could perhaps go slightly longer, but at some point you will be limited.

You may also say that this is already a common practice – for example in boxing matches where people put cold towels on their head and neck to cool off.

However this is the exact opposite of what you want to do. Unfortunately, it still happens often.

What does the research say?

The research we’ll walk through points out that cold exposure in those other parts may even be counteractive to cooling off your body.

This would help you to perform more reps with higher weight per minute of time.

There are three specific body parts which will enable you to cool very fast (up to 3 minutes is enough). Are not counterproductive to decreasing your temperature. And work better than steroids.

Which body parts matter the most for cold exposure?

These 3 body parts are – Face – particularly cheeks, bottom of your feet, and your palms. Which you want to cool off in any way possible.

The reason why these work so well to cool off your body is that veins in those spots do not contain valves.

This helps the blood to travel much faster than from other parts of your body without any additional obstruction.

You may also remember that in any species (even noticeable in humans), we do not grow hair on these places.

Face is slightly more tricky due to beards, but you can mostly image the cheek area to be the center point in the face.

By how much cold exposure works better than steroids?

By this study and a separate study which outlined cold exposure benefits (non-related), the people who took steroids got better (as expected) by around 1% per week.

This is counted in terms of number of reps, and increase in possible weight lifted.

However, people who used cold exposure effectively gained 300% improvement in number of reps, or 40% increase in strength.

I will expect this will be one of the most used tools in fitness industry in the future. However, how can you use these findings now?

How to use these findings to lift more and heavier?

Obviously we have to state – it would be very hard to cool off your feet or face in the gym.

Bringing a bucket of cold water each time isn’t ideal. What I’d believe is the simplest way – cool off your palms with cold water in your bottle.

How cold you may ask?

Colder than what was your temperature of your body before you started exercise.

Anything between that and the temperature of ice water (0°C, or 32°F) can be used.

Any lower than that and the temperature will start to constrict the blood vessels, which will limit the blood flow from the cold hand into your body.

Cold exposure vs steroids: Final conclusion

Androgens (steroids) and cold exposure work through completely different means.

There however seems to be an even better way to increase your performance by using neuroscience’s findings on our basic body principles.

I haven’t personally seen any health risks in lowering your temperature unless you’d try to run and then use ice lakes completely alone while exercising outside.

But let’s face it – that isn’t a very likely scenario to happen as well.

What is absolutely amazing is that this seems to be an area that is being increasingly developed and leveraged by even militaries and professional sports teams, which then can be used by ourselves as well.

All of fortunately comes with major thanks to the funding that has been put into the research of the role of temperature in health.

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