Dani Chats: Fitness, Rants, Hobbies

Haha thanks!! women who learn to shoot always seem to get a little bump in sassiness.

Kinda like lifting! :smile:

1 Like

The mornings are suddenly getting cooler in Colorado, which makes cold showers a wee bit harder.

Anyway, I have some strategies that actually work. And I’m writing them here so that if I wuss-out later in the fall and winter, I can scroll back to this and get back into it.


• Metabolism: The creation of brown adipose tissue (BAT) which contributes to a faster metabolism.

• Comfort, ironically: Intentional cold exposure makes cold weather and cold temps far more tolerable. If you feel like you’re freezing to death all the time, exposing yourself to small doses of freezing temps on purpose can make unfavorable temps feel pretty comfortable at other times.

• Mood: I wrote an article on this years ago and have since discovered that it’s not just a me-thing. People experience an elevation in mood following cold exposure.

• Resilience: Forcing yourself to do hard things makes hard things (in general) easier to do.

There are probably more benefits than this and more science backed reasons to get cold on purpose. But I don’t feel like searching for studies to prove I’m right about stuff that’s been benefitting me for about a decade. To be clear though, I usually do it for a few months a year, then go a few months without it, then go back.

So some of the strategies I use are stolen from podcasts (likely Huberman) and a handful of others. But other strategies, I’ve come up with over the years through trial and error and being a dork.

  1. Get your face in first. Not even sure why this works, but when your face gets hit with cold water, it’s easier to get the rest of your body in. So this is my current exposure method: turn on shower, let your face get hit first, then chest, then upper back, then armpits (the absolute hardest part), and move around so that it’s continually uncomfortable… until it isn’t.
  2. Go for 2-3 minutes at a time. I heard or read somewhere that more time in the cold isn’t necessarily better. So once you hit your targeted amount of time, do the rest of the shower like normal. With heat. If I make it a thing where the whole shower has to be cold, I may not have the discipline to do it again. Also I can’t get the tangles out of my hair if I wash it in cold water.
  3. Get in immediately when you turn it on. If your shower is far enough away from the water heater and it’s cold enough outside, jump in asap. Getting in right away can give you a good starting amount of time in the cold before it turns hot. This strategy actually saves water because you can get your face and body washed in the 2-3 minute (cold) period. Then when it turns hot, do all the other things, like shaving your legs and washing your hair.

The last podcast I heard on this topic was the most convincing and the most practical one I’d ever heard. But I can’t remember whose show it was or who was getting interviewed about it. So if you have an idea, let me know!

The amount of time you need in the cold to get the benefits isn’t as much as you think, and it doesn’t have to be as frigid as most people will tell you. But if you’re doing it right, it’ll be shocking and uncomfortable.

And then afterward you’ll feel like Roxy in this picture:


I cold showered for a year as an experiment (my dad had done it for years based on some study about white blood cells and cold exposure and kept banging on about it), but didn’t notice anything other than a growing sense of dread around showers!

But I started up again recently for this reason:

This being the reason somehow makes me dread it less.


Tell me you’re female without saying you’re female!

1 Like

I’m seriously impressed that you did it for that long! But I’m surprised to hear about the dread, since it tends to get easier over time.

You know what though, Alex? If I’d done it that long without noticing any benefits, I likely wouldn’t restart.

If you’re experiencing dread on a regular basis, maybe that’s a warning sign worth heeding. I don’t know. But it seems like the internet is full of black-and-white dogma that tells people to go all-in, all the time. And maybe listening to the body does more for us than listening to strangers on the internet. I bet you’re good at challenging yourself even without cold exposure.

During that year when you did it, did you come up with any personal strategies that made it less daunting? Because if you did, and you’re wanting to dive back in, maybe you can recall those. I have a few go-to things that make it more fun.

Really?! This is a lady thing? I thought armpits were just the warmest parts of the body, so when you put cold things there, the contrast is just a huge shock to the system. But maybe guys have chillier armpit temps?



Twig and berries. The password is twig and berries.



Oh! I feel dumb. Shoulda thought of that.

Wait, is this why you won’t hop in the shower with me when I’ve got it on the coldest setting?

Dani: Get in the shower with me! It’ll be fun!

NARRATOR: But it wasn’t fun.



The invitation is always open, husband.

The dread I think likely came from it getting colder after summer, and the fact that I’ve always loved long luxurious showers as, that just get increasingly hot, it took that pleasure away and made it a chore, with a promise of health benefits that never materialised in any discernable way.

The change in mindset has definitely been helpful, it doesn’t phase me so much now, because I experience the immediate result/benefit - doing something I dislike just for the sake of being uncomfortable (I also practice visualisation of stressful incidents as a firefighter as cold water apparently improves stress responses, so I guessed combining the water stress with the visualisation would potentially aid level calm thinking in future).

Love the confusion here! :rofl: thanks for clarifying @Chris_Shugart

1 Like

Super relatable. And doesn’t it seem like there’s something biologically therapeutic about hot baths and showers?

If saunas have a positive impact on certain health markers, it doesn’t seem too far fetched to believe that they may be present during hot showers or baths. I think I remember Dr. Teta mentioning something about heat therapy and thyroid health. There may be a duration required before any of the good stuff kicks in though.

Some people love a hot shower followed by a couple minutes of cold water. So they get the benefit of cold exposure when their body temperature has been elevated. They say it’s a lot easier and more tolerable than just jumping straight to the cold.

I can’t even wrap my head around the mental requirements for being a firefighter. That takes a level of resilience and courage most people will never experience in a lifetime.

The info about cold exposure and the stress response is new to me, but that’s really cool! The visualization sounds harder though. How do you put your mind there?

1 Like

Leg-ish Day

Shark week workouts are lower volume and intensity. This used to never be a consideration, and the results didn’t work out in my favor. So now, I go easier than ever and get more out of it. Go figure.

Leg Press: 100 unbroken reps
Then 3 x 10-15 kinda light

Just feeling it out right now. High ham was a little ticked off afterward, but that’s not always an indication that it’s going to get worse. I’m tired of working around this thing.

Booty machine: 3 x ROM drop set

Walking lunge: 3 x out and back, controlled steps

I didn’t want to push it with the hamstring, so I tinkered around with bench press:

Bench: 5 x 5

I don’t bench very often because – in my experience (don’t get mad, bro) – it delivers the least amount of visible benefits while posing the greatest risk to your joints. Machines and dumbbells can place more tension in the pecs, lead to more obvious muscle growth, and leave your shoulders feeling great.

But barbell bench pressing is probably the most fun thing to do and progress on. So I just used 95 pounds and then bumped it to 105 for the last two sets. Not heavy but I used a super controlled tempo.

Let’s Talk About Plants Now :potted_plant:

I don’t even care that this is a training log on a lifting and fitness site. #Rebel

This is my first monstera! A neighbor gave me the propagation a couple months ago, it grew all those beautiful roots, and I finally planted it.


Careful because once you start with monstera’s they take over your house :joy:

My wife loves them, we have an internal courtyard in our house and they grow so big we have to do a cull every year and seperate them. We end up with them in pots all round the house


AMAZING! I can’t love those pictures enough! You and your wife have a gorgeous little jungle. :star_struck:

Pretty sure I need an internal courtyard now. Your monsteras – and all those plants – are so cool. Feel free to post and share anything plant related here. Also, I’m gonna need to meet your wife. haha!

1 Like

She has quite the green thumb as we say down here, which is odd because in the UK we say green fingered.

The internal courtyard really helps this type of plant as there is lots of light but very little direct sun and its very sheltered from the elements. We also dont get that cold here in the winter so they grow fine outside. We have lots of them inside too and they grow just as well.

Well if you and Chris ever decide to travel down under, there is always room at the inn for a fellow TNationer.

1 Like

I feel like hopefully I challenge myself in enough ways that I don’t feel being miserable for a minute every time I shower is adding much to the equation, that’s the time I use to actually relax haha.

I always like to think of these things with a really zoomed out perspective. Let’s say we have 2 parallel universes where everything is the same except in one of them @Dani_Shugart takes cold showers/ice baths

At the end of her life what is different? Was she significantly more muscular? Wealthier? Better wife or friend ? Did she get more “grit” in other areas of her life because of them? Did she achieve anything extra aside from taking more cold showers?

Obviously not an experiment we can run, (and you can probably tell my bias just by the questions), but It’s interesting to think about for a variety of things.

Or put another way, and this is something skip lacour used to say about training. What is doing a lift a certain way (pinkies up on lateral raises for example) going to add in terms of muscle mass after a year compared to some other form? A pound? Half? A quarter? A few grams? I know we all like to take whatever we can get but what is the trade off we make for it?

Just some food for thought from someone with no motivated reasoning who happens to hate cold water haha

1 Like

Definitely, if nothing else it’s completely relaxing and about the only time you get away from everything and everyone, borderline mediative.

That’s the way round I do it, not done it the other way round to compare, I’ll have to give it a go and let you know.

It’s a fairly new thing for me, I’ve recently taken on additional responsibilities so I can be in charge at incidents, which at its worst can be all sorts of chaos, so my visualisation has been around incident control, how to direct resources, brief crews, liaise with critical control, and safely manage the incident, so I tend to crank the shower and as the cold hits me, I run through a scenario, crew brief and radio message, by the time those things are done I’m ready to turn off the cold :rofl:

I reckon there is a butterfly effect to things like this, it begins and has cumulative benefits that may not be directly attributable, but let’s say the cold shower strengthens the immune system, it might lead to 1 less illness a year, 1 less week of missed training and poor nutrition, over a lifetime, would probably have an impact. Or the ability to force yourself to do hard things means you push a little harder on a piece of work for your job and over time those qualities of grit and determination are rewarded with a promotion.

I mean it’s all speculation, but there are proven health benefits and really a few minutes of misery a day, well if that’s the worse you have to endure then you are very blessed!

(I really do hate cold showering but I’m selling it to myself!).

1 Like

I have a friend whose parents took up gardening as a midlife crisis.
They love tropical plants, especially monsteras. The wrinkle is that they live in an apartment the northern part of South Korea so they turned it into a green house :joy:

1 Like

Considering that you voluntarily went through competition prep, I’m sure you do! Getting on stage and having your body publicly compared to others, plus all those months of eating a wacky diet, and training at psycho levels… yes. That is a sign of a person who finds ways to challenge himself.

The thing we know about challenges though is that if we keep doing them, we adapt, and eventually what was once hard really isn’t anymore.

For lifters who are used to going heavier in weight, using more reps, new intensity techniques, different exercise selection, etc., at some point even novelty in the gym stops being hard, psychologically. It may be exciting, difficult, or even scary, but it’s not hard in the same way it was the first time you walked into a gym.

And that’s what makes me think maybe it’s better to limit cold exposure to months or seasons at a time instead of year round.

So cold exposure is just one avenue of challenging myself. And it happens to come with some major perks: psychological and biological.

I mentioned this podcast in my post above, and this guy (with a PhD, not just a woo-woo health-nut) is pretty convincing.

He says straight up, “Do not do ice baths for recovery if you’re trying to build muscle.” And then he goes on to say what it does actually do (fat loss, testosterone, temperature tolerance, etc.) and how to make it easier.

You could ask this question about any exercise in the gym. As @alex_uk wrote above, it may have a cumulative effect. But if you watch the video I posted, you may find that it has more direct effects than you think.

It’s certainly a confidence-builder, since the best way to gain confidence is through a whole bunch of wins.

If I can get myself to do something that’s unbearable for the most masculine of men, then that’s a win. And it’d be crazy not to think that this win may have positive implications for a lot of other tough situations.

There’s an opportunity for further mental mastery here too. If you train yourself – not just to do it begrudgingly – but to find ways of enjoying it, and even enjoying making it harder on occasion, then you’ve got a level of mental mastery that most don’t.

It means you can find joy in situations where others only find misery.

I know people prefer studies over personal experiences but I got to see first-hand some pretty cool things take place with cold exposure.

Story Time

As I’ve mentioned here before, my competition prep coach had me stop training legs, which were my biggest body part… and they happened to be the area where I gained the most fat. So when I was told not to train them – and not even to do cardio that emphasized them – it was pretty scary.

I thought I’d end up with lots of cellulite and flabby legs on stage.

But, coincidentally, in the middle of my prep, I started experiencing fibromyalgia-like symptoms: burning pain in my legs. It was so bad that I couldn’t sleep, sit, stand, or drive without pain, and it got worse after meals (an obvious sign of gut disbiosis). Anyway, it felt like my nerves were on fire.

So instinctively I’d seek out cold to numb it. I’d fill a bath with the coldest water possible, then add all the ice cubes from the freezer, and soak in it.

And what was wild was that my legs got harder and leaner, despite zero training. Was that because of the prep diet? I’m sure, partly.

But I also think it was the frigid ice baths. They may have played a minor role, but I truly believe they had an impact.

And during those ice baths I started turning them into a challenge, where I’d set a timer and spend a certain amount of minutes completely submerged up to the neck.

The Other Weird/Cool Thing That Happened

After several months of this, the cold Colorado temperatures became like nothing. I could walk around in a T-shirt when other people were wearing parkas.

When my body fat was low and my calories were super low, I could walk out in freezing cold temperatures without discomfort. This is an odd occurrence for most females, let alone one on a low calorie diet.

And in years and seasons since then, I haven’t been cold showering or bathing in the winters and the Colorado temperatures feel awful, and it doesn’t matter how many layers or fancy fabrics I wear.

The Other Other Weird/Cool Thing That Happened

I didn’t rebound super hard like a lot of the other girls who were prepping with the same coach. I actually didn’t rebound at all. My body didn’t even go back to its pre-prep state. I stayed a little leaner than I had been before competition prep. This is relatively unheard of for novice figure competitors.

Could that have been because I went on a super high protein diet? Sure, maybe. But I raised my calories significantly and sprained my wrist, so I couldn’t even train like normal.

This was a couple months after competing when I should have either gone back to pre-prep body comp or worse, and I actually maintained a level of leanness that I hadn’t experienced before competing… without even trying!


Cool stories, seems like you do derive a lot of benefit from them at times. I certainly don’t want to talk anyone out of them and that’s why these boards are so useful when people actually have experience with them like you to share

1 Like