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9 Reasons Why Everybody Should Know Who Wim Hof Is

9 Reasons Why Everybody Should Know Who Wim Hof Is

We are all fascinated by the idea that humans may be able to surpass our expected physical bounds and exhibit superhuman abilities. From Spiderman to the Avengers, people happily shell out millions by the masses to quench their thirst for fantasy.

It isn’t often that someone actually possesses superhuman abilities, yet we generally give it little attention. Who has heard of Stephen Wiltshire and his extraordinary ability to recreate detailed, panoramic, city landscapes after a split-second glance? Or how about Ben Underwood, a child blinded by retinal cancer who utilized echolocation in lieu of vision?

The point is that incredible talents exist, and though it’s fun to see Hugh Jackman rip apart villains with Adamantium-reinforced claws, we don’t have to turn to fiction to witness superhuman performances. The extraordinary can be found in reality.

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Who Is Wim Hof?

One superhuman that has caught my attention is Wim “Iceman” Hof. Wim has garnered global fame for his ability to embrace freezing temperatures that routinely send victims into hypothermia. He has run bareback marathons in subzero temperatures, climbed the highest mountains on the planet shirtless, and proven to science that he can control his autonomic nervous system with his mind.

Interested yet? We are just getting started.

9 Facts About Wim Hof

  1. He climbed Mt. Everest in shorts. Though he never experienced a hint of hypothermia or altitude sickness, Wim surpassed 22,000 feet before a lingering foot injury halted his ascension.
  2. He submerged himself in ice for almost two hours without his core body temperature lowering a degree and broke a world record. Who holds the record for the second- and third-longest attempts? Wim himself.
  3. He completed a marathon in the Namib Desert without water. Temperatures surpassing 104 degrees Fahrenheit and losing over fourteen pounds of water water didn’t discourage him from finishing this amazing feat. Apparently he does alright in the heat too!
  4. Dressed in nothing by shorts, he completed a full marathon north of the arctic circle in less than six hours.
  5. He reached the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro (5895 meters) in less than 32 hours. And yes, he did it in shorts. Who has time for altitude acclimation anyway?
  6. He eats just once a day, past 6 pm, and has done so for 38 years. Wim claims that this alleviates stress on his body by not having to process excess food. He’ll only cheat and have breakfast on days when he breaks a record.
  7. He swam over 80 meters below an ice shelf north of the arctic circle with one breath. Yes, that’s right — over 250 feet in -30 degree water in one breath. No big deal.
  8. He can take control of his autonomous nervous system. This startling discovery was found by researchers after they attempted to refute his claims by inviting him into into the labs. He was injected with an endotoxin that causes people to get severely sick within minutes. But that was not the case with Wim. Researchers found that the endotoxin didn’t affect him in the slightest, and credited this to his unique ability to harness control over his autonomous nervous system.
  9. He claims that anyone can be like him. Wim teaches thousands of others to harness the strength of the breath, the importance of cold showers, and the practice of meditation. He offers a ten-week course encompassing his meditation practices, as well as numerous retreats and trips that he leads.

Anyone Can Do It

Perhaps the craziest of the facts about Wim Hof is it that he swears that anyone can experience life as he does — if they have the determination to learn.

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Wim first realized his tremendous tolerance to extreme temperatures when he was 17. According to him, he was “attracted” to jump into a freezing cold pond where he experienced an awakening. Since then, Wim has taught himself how to harness physiological control over his body in order to coexist in hostile environments.

For years, he accomplished incredible feats in frigid climates, and for years science eschewed him as another crackpot who liked to boast. It wasn’t until researchers brought him into the lab that his claims were scientifically confirmed.

When Wim isn’t breaking records, he dedicates his energy towards teaching anyone who’s willing to listen how they can eschew their learnt conceptions of the cold and experience an awakening through the breath. And at 56, it doesn’t seem like he is slowing down anytime soon.

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“I want to set up orphanages to help children, and I’m sure I’ll be climbing more mountains. Let the world challenge me — I’ll be there.”

He offers retreats in various mountain ranges across Western Europe and shares his experiences online for those unable to travel.

I have been practicing his techniques and the results have been literally breathtaking (no pun intended). By just practicing his guided meditation technique (known as the Wim Hof Method) twice a day, I have noticed an intense transformation in my perception. Cold showers have become a vital event to my daily life.

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So what is Wim’s advice for all that are eager to learn?

“Believe in yourself, take cold showers, and practice deeper breathing.”

Seems simple enough.

Featured photo credit: Iceman Wim Hof via icemanwimhof.com

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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