The Wim Hof Method (Wim Hof) – Book Summary6 min read

The Wim Hof Method by Wim Hof Book Cover

Three Sentence Summary

From the ‘ice man’ himself a book detailing the method to his madness and how you too can use your natural body systems to improve your health. This guide demonstrates how beginners can start harnessing their mind and body through breathwork, cold exposure, and mindset training. Benefits of such exercises are stated as relieving stress, reducing inflammation and decreasing your heart rate.

My Top 3 Take Aways

  1. Breath with intent – 20 minutes daily to help improve your oxygen intake and reduce inflammation in the body.
  2. Introduce cold exposure by ending your showers cold to strengthen your vascular muscles and improve your health.
  3. Reflect on your goals daily to help reduce stress and make you feel more aligned and ready to complete any task.

Who Do I Recommend This Book For?

Someone who wants a more holistic approach to improving their health and quality of life. The meditative nature of this routine will be great form of stress relief and help you feel more connected to your body in this digital age. It’s also great for professional athletes to help improve performance physically and mentally without spending more time in the gym.

Full Summary

What to Expect

From the perspective of an avid fitness enthusiast this was a very interesting read that focuses not on the best exercises or diets to get ripped but on a more holistic approach to health. This is summed up as breathing, cold exposure and mindset training. I’m not a very spiritual person so the final parts were quite lost on me but I still found value in the method. I’m a scientist at heart so the evidence behind doing breathwork and cold exposure makes sense to me although I am still sceptical on some of the testimonials. For instance, the reversal of cancer just from this method seems a little outlandish although there is a school of thought that inflammation is the root cause of cancer and so this may hold some substance albeit difficult to prove and reproduce. This could instil false hope to some readers. Saying this I do not see the harm in trying the method and seeing how it benefits you however it might not be the wonder cure that Wim tends to describe it as.

Take a Breath

Breathwork training is becoming more wide spread in professional sports and when you think about it, it makes sense why. Breathing is the most natural unconscious thing yet without it we wouldn’t be able to live, let alone run, jump, climb or swim. Adding focussed training for breathing to help improve oxygen intake and let your body be used to a reduced oxygen state can really benefit many factors of your life. This can produce a meditative state allowing you to release stress which is universally helpful, athlete or not. Wim suggests beginners start with a 20 minute session as seen in the steps below.

Breathwork Routine
  1. Lying down take 30-40 full deep breaths in the diagram.
  2. On the final exhale let all the air out and resist breathing until you feel the urge to breathe (don’t force it).
  3. Take a deep breathe and hold it for 10-15 seconds before exhaling – this is one set.
  4. Repeat for 3 sets.

I’ve tried this routine a few times now and the experience is quite unique. It gave me a sense of calm but also euphoria. It’s easy to see why this might At one point I couldn’t help but smile and start laughing to myself! A very unusually and unexpected feeling. If only more people new the free powers of getting high on air, what a gateway drug!

Cold Showers

Cold exposure is where Wim gained his nick name – the ice man. He is a master of this and has many world records to show for it. The cold has many natural benefits to humans such as improving hormone regulation, metabolic efficiency and reducing inflammation. It also releases endorphins and endocannabinoids which gives you a natural high helping improve your mood for the day ahead. Getting into cold exposure is as simple as adding it to the end of your normal hot shower and I can attest it does take a little getting used to but it does feel good after.

Cold Exposure Routine
  1. At the end of your shower turn the temperature to cold starting with 15 seconds.
  2. Breathe through the initial shock
  3. Do this daily gradually increasing by 15 seconds increments once you feel more comfortable.
  4. Do this slowly with the end goal being 2 minutes daily.
Power of the Mind

Along with breathe and cold training sports are more and more regularly implementing mental health training to give competitors an advantage. Wim also implores you to explore reflection and a sense of aligning how your body is feeling with your mind. For instance if you are going to go for a new deadlift PB and your muscles and body feel good but in your heads not in the right place more often than not you are going to fail. This misalignment between your body and your intentions is something that can be trained. This training is best done when in a meditative state such as after your breathwork.

Mindset Routine
  1. Think of a goal you’d like to accomplish today or how you are feeling today.
  2. Reflect on the thought also noticing how your body is feeling at the time breathing steadily whilst thinking this over.
  3. Once you feel like you can accomplish the goal and are mentally ready and feel the alignment between your intentions and your body you are ready to go on with your day.

Making it Actionable!


Goal: 14 minutes of cold exposure weekly.

How: End each shower on cold for 2 minutes.

Overall this was a good read with some interesting concepts and some fun habits to try and incorporate. After trying them I did feel immediate changes in my mood and knowing it is helping my body in the long run is all the more reason to stick to it. I did find the book to be more repetitive as it went on, almost turning into a rant of ‘why won’t more doctors get behind my philosophy’. I felt this detracted from his message and, like I said at the beginning, he lost me on the spirituality stuff. I’m sure plenty of people will enjoy this part but for me, not my cup of tea. In the end though, I’m still going to implement parts of this method to my daily routine especially the cold showers. The main aim is to build up to the 2 minutes of cold exposure everyday resulting in 14 minutes of exposure per week. I’m all for any habits that will improve my longevity especially when there are peer reviewed scientific studies aplenty on the topic. All in all worth a read and if you give any of these methods a go let me know what you think!


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