Wim Hof Method Fundamentals – Best (and WORST!) Parts – Week 1 Review

Parts of the Wim Hof Method have been in my life, off and on, for over a year.   Here’s the backstory.   I’ve finally made time to do the 10-week Fundamentals course.   As you probably know, the Wim Hof Method is comprised of three parts: breathing, cold water training, and stretching.   Here are my week-one thoughts:

Wim Hof Breathing


  • Felt Incredible
    • As  in the past, the Wim Hof breathing transported me again to an amazing place.   Really, it’s the holds that feel incredible.   I’d call it a sense of serene power.
  • Love “Whys”
    • I loved getting to hear all the science behind why the breathing works.   Alkalizing the blood, etc.   The journalist in me wanted to leap up to jot down notes.   But I care so much more about getting the results of the Wim Hof Method that I resisted, choosing instead to fully participate in the experience.   The stuff he’s explaining in the videos during the holds makes them feel that much more incredible and powerful.
  • Guided is Better
    • Also loved the guided breathing exercises.   When I was doing the breathing on my own, in the past, always running the timer and counting my breaths was distracting.   I’m constantly asking myself, “is the Wim Hof course worth it?”   Considering I’ve thought about putting enormous amounts of time into making videos that keep track of the times and breath counts for me… I might recommend the course based solely on that.   Siri or Alexa could help with the hold timing, but not the breath counting.
  • Figured Out Breathing?!
    • As explained in Wim Hof Breathing Not Working?   Try This. … I’ve had struggles before with Wim Hof breathing.   Am I doing it right?   Should you breathe through your mouth or your nose?   Inhale through one, exhale through the other?   How deeply do you breathe?   With the diaphragm?   Finally all the pieces are coming together and I understand how to breathe in a way that gets results!   More on this in another post, later.


  • Crazy Pants
    • Wim is a nut-job!   Don’t get me wrong.   I really admire the guy, and I’m loving the Wim Hof course so far.   But as a science-minded, logic-driven person, it takes a bit of accepting to listen to him use these broad stroke “hippie” phrases all the time.   But just when I think “what does ‘go deep into the body’ even mean?”… he throws out a sciencey fact I can relate to.   Maybe this complaint is more about me than the course?
  • Wanted More
    • When I did my Wim Hof breathing before, I thought the goal was to do a hold for as long as possible.   So I did.   But the Wim Hof Fundamentals Course prescribes breathing times (1:00, 1:30, 1:30) the first week.   Because of all the inconsistency problems I had with Wim Hof breathing before, I was afraid to go outside of the prescribed times.   But I wanted to.   I really enjoy the long holds, but chose not to enjoy them all the way to the end… just in case.   Which sucked.
  • Rigor Mortis?!
    • I had this weird experience on day 6 and 7 (I’m on day 9 as I write this), where my arms, and especially hands, started to kind of lock up and curl on my third set of breaths.   It didn’t feel scary or dangerous… just really weird.   It hasn’t happened since.   I wonder now, as I go into week 2 and have been encouraged by the training videos to follow my intuition, that maybe I was breathing more than my body needs to get the “charge” to do the holds?   If it happens again, I’ll be sure to let you know (and drop a link here).
  • Sexual Tension?
    • In the lead up to the rigor-mortis feeling, I was also overcome with this sort of intense sexual urgency.   It dissipated eventually.   Who knows.   I was ovulating.   And on the cusp of a new sexual relationship in my life.   So maybe it had nothing to do directly with the Wim Hof breathing and just happened to occur during it?

Wim Hof Cold Water Training


  • Yeah Right.
    • There were no “best” parts about the Wim Hof cold water training this week.   It would be a stretch to say there were two days where the 30 second cold showers didn’t absolutely suck.   But sneak preview… everything changed for me on day 8!   Which I’ll talk about next week.


  • F*cking COLD!
    • Ow.   Being cold sucks.   Hurts.   Even though I did cold water training last year and ended up absolutely loving it, even though I knew academically that I would eventually love it again, no part of me was even a tiny bit excited to thrust my naked body under the cold   (well-drawn!) tap water for 30 seconds straight.   I bet my work exchange hosts wondered what the hell I was doing in their bathroom and who I was doing it with!

Wim Hof Stretching


  • Basic, but good
    • I do a lot of yoga.   So the stretches in the videos were not new to me.   The most important takeaway for me is that it’s helpful to do some yogic stretches before the breathing to open up space in the chest cavity.   For most of the days this week, I achieved this by doing  my regular yoga.


  • Basic, but fine.
    • As above – they could go way deeper with the stretching stuff.   But I think they don’t want to overwhelm people by handing you a program that takes hours a day.   As it stands, you need about 5 minutes for the stretching 20 minutes for the breathing and a few minutes for the cold water training (if you weren’t going to be taking all your clothes off and getting wet anyway).

Wim Hof Fundamentals Course – Week 1 Review

Overall, I’m really happy with things so far.   Really looking forward to the cold water serenity (which I got my first taste of on day 8!).   Worried that I will have the same hold-times fall off that I had before.   But also hopeful that I won’t, because I understand so much more now, after just a week, about how to really make the breathing work for me.

The approximately one-hour “class” sessions each week have been really helpful.   I generally don’t like watching videos and had all sorts of activities (hair brushing, self massage, etc.) planned to “get through”   the Fundamentals course material.   However, my attention ended up being captivated the whole time.   Hearing others experiences was really helpful!

Loving this!   Looking forward to next week!  ♣

Read about week 2 here.

Want to do the Wim Hof Course?!

If you’re grateful that I didn’t just take my Wim Hof benefits and keep them to myself, and you think you’re going to give the Wim Hof Fundamentals Course a try, I’d really appreciate you using any of the course links on this page.  

It doesn’t cost you anything more.   Instead of keeping your whole purchase to themselves, the Wim Hof people will give me a little “thanks for spending hours of your time writing about your experience” funding.

At the end of the day, I have spent hours writing about my Wim Hof experience, because I love helping people.   If I can unlock a self-improvement opportunity for someone else by  spending hours in front of a screen, I will. (Wait… now that I’m “saying” this, it sounds kind of crazy.   But… I guess I am crazy!)    

Here’s more about my blogging ethos.


  • January 9, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    Hey, the rigorous mortis is called Tetany: A neurologic disorder caused by forced overbreathing, due to reduced levels of CO2 in the blood.

    • January 11, 2020 at 4:32 pm

      Thanks for sharing the actual term. It makes it so much easier to do research. Cheers!

  • May 9, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    “I had this weird experience on day 6 and 7 (I’m on day 9 as I write this), where my arms, and especially hands, started to kind of lock up and curl on my third set of breaths.”

    Don’t ask me why but I have once traumatized myself by watching a video of someone who livestreamed herself committing suicide by asphyxiation. The hands curling was very strong (bending mostly at the wrists), and it was the last thing her body did before she stopped moving and died…. It might be a symptom of lack of oxygen. Wim Hof’s method involves hyperventilation, which reduces the amount of CO2 and delays the gasping reflex, which allows you to hold your breath longer and reduce your O2 level further than what is healthy. Did it happen during the breath hold or during the breaths themselves? Maybe don’t push it too far…

    • May 12, 2019 at 6:55 am

      Hi Trip. Wow – I appreciate you sharing your perspective. If you check out the comments on the Wim Hof breathing page here, you’ll see some alternative explanations for the rigor-mortis-like experience so many people have. Mine happened on the breath holds. I’m definitely very observant now every time I do my Wim Hof breathing!

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