Sure it’s all well and good to use ice baths for the recovery benefits. They’re also great for the immune system. It’s like strength training for the capillaries and other blood vessels. You get flooded with endorphins. You convert white adipose tissue to brown adipose tissue which burns fat instead of storing it.
But the real reason we like ice baths, is because they’re stressful. It’s stress.
All you want to do is panic in there. All you want to do is hold your breath or alternatively take short, choppy breaths. All you want to do is get out. But over time, you learn to control that autonomic response - much like you can control a sneeze before your body automatically lets one go.
You can get better at dealing with stress. You can get better at dealing with that panic. You learn to not panic in uncomfortable situations. Shit, you actually start to thrive.
You’re not an awkward loser on that first date.
You kick the goal after the siren to win the game.
You keep your cool when that asshole cuts you off in traffic.
You nail that presentation at work because you don't panic.
We like ice baths because ice baths are stress. Much like lifting weights.
We don’t lift weights and train really hard to get better at lifting weights and training really hard. We do it to get better at life. We overcome adversity in the gym to make the real struggles in life - real adversity - a little easier.
Life is stress. Life is struggle.
Let’s get better at dealing with it, by going out and not only tolerating discomfort, but actively seeking it out.