T Nation

Cold Therapy Fat Loss (Increasing Brown Fat)


#1

After reading "Cold Therapy, Hot Body" here on T Nation I was intrigued as to how I can add this to my fat loss arsenal.

Since I am approaching the last hurdle in relation to fat loss. I need every "edge" I can get.

Has anyone had experience with cold therapy/cold thermogenesis in regards to fat loss and overall body composition?

The benefits that are listed are long but the main one that struck me was Increased brown fat.

Apparently brown fat helps us stay lean and can be increased through cold therapy. But I have also read that to reduce fat you should increase blood flow to fatty areas ? Would it not be better to sit in a sauna as opposed to an ice bath ?

I am thinking of just taking a quick 60 degree shower and standing outside in the 50 degree cold after for 10 minutes since I don't want to keep buying ice for a bath.

Tim Ferriss also preaches claiming you can burn fat 3 times faster.


#2

I lost 50 lbs doing this with no changes to diet/exercise. I used the protocol defined over at hypothermics.com

Basically, I didn't sleep with a blanket, didn't use hot water in showers, and made sure that I was immersed to the neck and moving in 75 degree F water for at least 20 minutes, at least 5 days a week, for three months. Progress stopped when the water got warmer, the weight has stayed off for nearly two years with literally zero effort on my part.

I also tracked my diet for a week or so before starting (generally, I eat a lot of the same stuff, so it was mostly making sure I was doing what I thought I was doing) and made sure I didn't change it at all, which is probably important, because I could see someone compensating for the calorie expenditure with more food if you're not conscious of intake.

I firmly believe that "cold water immersion, walking at a leisurely pace for a few hours, and building healthy eating habits" could go against Jillian Michaels and win, with less stress and fewer orthpedic injuries.

That said, a friend of mine dropped 20 lbs of fat and put on 10 lbs of muscle on the V-Diet, and I just finished my first week on it for "teh funz" so we'll see.

To add, I am an Indigo-3G user, I exercise regularly, and was doing both at the time.


#3

Wow thats quite a dramatic amount of fat loss, 75 degree water is a bit warm. I take cold showers in 60 degree temperature. and stand in the cold 50 degree weather for 10 minutes. I have not noticed any extra weight loss but I have benefitted from an increased concentration and mental toughness.

I am already on a deficit though and would like to push out every last bit of fat I can.


#4

Tim Ferris writes about this in The 4 Hour Body. Not sure if its bullshit and hype (the same could be said for about 90% of that book) but he has a couple interesting case studies and small-scale experiments that show varying degrees of success. He also outlines several protocols, one including full-on ice baths and another based around using ice packs on the upper trap/ back of the neck area. The rationale for the ice pack protocol had something to with there being a higher concentration of brown fat in that area than anywhere else in the body.

Personally I'd rather just diet and do some cardio, but I can certainly understand the desire to take more drastic measures. To each his own.


#5

Ray Cronise of hypothermics.com is the guy who started this. The immersion and time are key. "Mild cold stress" rather than "cold shock". He actually collected data and realized that the point of diminishing returns was 75 degree water, dropping from 85 to 75 is huge, dropping from 75 to 65 is small in terms of the effect on your metabolism--it's pushing the pedal to the floor at 75. When I say "at least" 20 minutes, I mean that some days I was in the water for an hour and a half, but I was never in for less than 20.

I went for as much time as possible in cool rather than as cold as possible for as long as I can handle it, then try to warm up.


#6

I usually have cold showers in the summer to enhance the fat burn but it's difficult to measure what effect it has. I have only tried a cold bath on a couple of occasions and found it deeply uncomfortable and can't see me sustaining it on a regular basis. As for actual ice baths, hats off to anyone who can actually sustain that for up to 20 mins.