- On what physiological principle does regeneration by the hardening method work - how does cold water affect the rate of regeneration processes?
The basis is that we train vasoconstriction vasodilation, or we train the whole vascular system to be more efficient. By doing so, we also optimize the function of the cardiovascular system. We strengthen the vascular structures that open and close the heart.
The second level is then the inflammatory response and optimizing the triggering of anti-inflammatory processes. Any athlete nowadays, but also any person living a Western European - fast pace. He's in a stressful environment and stress at the cellular level triggers inflammation. If I'm stressed for a long time, but also long term training triggers acidity in my body, the amount of Ph - there is acidity in the body environment. Through hardening, anti-inflammatory processes are triggered and this in itself speeds up recovery.
- How is it possible that the inclusion of hardening in the athlete's recovery plan accelerates it?
It is anti-inflammation that accelerates regeneration in the athletes body. During training, lactate is flushed out and acidification occurs - this is also related to respiration and gas exchange in the body. If there is an increased CO2 level in the body acidity occurs. By both hardening and breathing techniques we significantly support anti-inflammatory processes. So that the body produces more anti-inflammatory proteins.
Wim Hof in one of the Entodowin studies proved on laboratory measuring instruments that only with breathing techniques we are able to trigger and increase the production of anti-inflammatory proteins, increase the Ph in the body and thus accelerate recovery.
To promote constriction and opening of the bloodstream it is then excellent to alternate cold and warm showers.
- Why would you recommend hardening as part of recovery for athletes involved in water sports? And in what period?
In my own experience, when I did the athletic decathlon, immediately after the performance I really appreciated the scotch squirts (alternating cold and hot showers) on the periphery of the lower and upper limbs. Definitely need to incorporate them gradually. And keep a distance after the exercise before hardening off. It is definitely recommended to stretch before hardening.
For aquatic athletes who are in areas of water year-round, even during the cold months, hardening immediately after training should be avoided. It is advisable to warm up the body first and adapt to the normal environment. And start the shower with calmly warmer water, then reduce the water temperature and end with warm water again. In the warmer months, a dip in an ice pool once a week - otherwise, alternate hot and cold showers (up to 4 times a week).
Knowing and following the three phases is very important for hardening. Phase one - mentally tuning into the hardening, relaxing the muscles and deepening the breath. Phase two is the actual hardening and the last phase is warming up the body e.g.: jumping jacks, squats, yoga warrior position. It is necessary that the hardening ends with warm blood flowing in our body again.
- Why would you not recommend it?
Lesson number one is not to overdo the hardening. People are not taught to feel their body and breathe properly. There is a disparity between training and recovery. Even with hardening, the body can get overloaded. It is also related to lifestyle. Rather listen to your body and do exposure from 0-2 minutes. The key principle is to use hardening to get to know my body better and feel what length of exposure to hardening is appropriate on any given day. It doesn't mean that one day I harden for 2 minutes, the next I need to last longer than 2 minutes. So use hardening consciously based on training doses, stress levels on a given day. Quality of sleep and diet.
- Can sleep be positively influenced by hardening? Psyche? Concentration not only during training but during a race? Willpower of athletes?
Absolutely. Hardening is also a training of the mind. The Wim Hof method is made up of three pillars - cool mind, breath. One intertwines with the other and they go hand in hand. I use them to optimize the lymphatic system, the cardiovascular system. In order to regenerate the body properly at night, the body is cooled down. So certainly, long-term conscious hardening helps to streamline a number of systems in our body and therefore helps with better regeneration, which includes sleep.
Studies have shown that people who have taken antidepressants and started hardening have been able to wean themselves off of these medications over time.
Just by working with the mind, during the hardening we also promote visualization, which is a very positive perception for athletes. Whether in training or in competition. For example, Emil Zátopek used breathing techniques, specifically reduced and functional breathing to increase his performance.
- Sauna training, when to include, when not to include in the training plan and why?
It is advisable to choose it as a support for recovery, according to the doses of training units about once a week. Not too close to peak competition and in the morning. During flu periods it is advisable to include sauna twice a week but initially reduce the intervals to about 3x10 minutes. It is necessary to learn to read the reactions of our body and not to adhere to the set instructions. It is also recommended to keep a hardening diary, where I write down the phases in which sauna and hardening helped me, when I felt the best during the training, when I felt fatigue after the sauna or the hardening itself. I perceive sauna and hardening more as a self-discovery tool.
Downloadable here: Interview with Jakub Chomat.pdf