Why You Need to Shiver More to Lose Weight [A Cold Thermogenesis Primer]

Posted by: Thaddeus November 03, 2018

It’s winter and you shiver as you trudge through the sloppy parking lot of slush and salt. Jumping into your car, the heat seater goes on and heat is blasted out of the vents to warm you up.

When you arrive home, the house is a toasty 72F and you strip down to take a hot shower. Finally, you jump into bed under a mound of covers.

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Meanwhile, your distant ancestors spent much of the day in the cold and without many clothes.

They were cold adapted and could spend long hours outdoors.

They would jump into a lake or stream to wash off. Yes, without clothes and while the air temperature was near zero.

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Forget cryotherapy chambers that you pay big bucks for! Cold therapy is FREE.

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Our ancestor's bodies were adapted to make use of cold. So are ours.

The problem is we never get cold anymore. Our world is so nerfed that our bodies never experience much beyond room temperature.

 We all know that our environment determines what genes we express. This is called epigenetics and is a huge deal for health.

Basically, it means that even if we have a genetic predisposition for breast cancer, we don’t ever have to get breast cancer if we tune our environment in such a way that those genes are never expressed.

Well, when our environment doesn’t vary much and therefore we lose the benefit of genes that are turned on in response to cold.

Cold Exposure is Important

When we expose ourselves to cold, our bodies go through a process of cold adaptation. This is built into us from the time long ago when the dinosaurs went extinct.

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The meteor that hit the earth caused decades, no, centuries of cold temperatures and ash covered the earth. It was dispersed in the atmosphere and didn't come down for a long time.

Much of the world was then covered in ice during the ice ages that humans adapted to and lived with until very recently.

Our bodies adopted mechanisms to deal with cold that kept us healthy.

And from the ice ages until 50 years ago, humans continued to get cold. We spent more time outside. 

When we were indoors, we spent more time indoors in evironments that were cooler because we didn’t have the resources and technology to condition our spaces as we do today.

And now, we don’t even turn these cold adapted mechanisms on anymore. We’re missing a huge part of our biology.

Cold Exposure done safely can

Shivering has been shown to deplete muscle glycogen similar to an intense workout, thus inceasing human growth hormone (HGH) which builds lean muscle and burns fat. You can lose weight without even working out if you get cold.

Safe Cold Exposure Process

Don't go out and jump in a frozen lake your first time working with the cold!

But don’t think it’s impossible to jump in a frozen lake either. I've done it and lived. Yes, there’s a group of us that voluntarily cut holes in the ice and soak in the cold water all winter in Minnesota.

 Ice hole

I've seen many people jump in their first time, freak out, and immediately jump out and run. Their bodies are in fight or flight mode, and they will likely never try it again.

Do it right, and it'll be fairly easy and far more likely to stick, allowing you to reap the benefits. 

  1. Read Jack Kruse's CT [Cold Thermogenesis] Start guide
  2. Start with face plunges into ice water (photo). Hold your breath and plunge your face into a sink or bowl filled with cold water. Repeat a few times and work up to keeping your face in as long asd possible.
  3. Wear fewer clothes when you leave the house. Bring warm clothes with you but start out with just a t-shirt in the winter and no hat. Cover up only when you jcan'tcant stand the cold anymore
  4. Open your windows when you drive in the winter.
  5. Try a cold shower for 2 minutes at the end of your warm shower
  6. Next, take a cold bath that you’ve added ice to. 55F is the righ water temperature. You don’t need to go colder. Put on a hat, some mittens, and possibly even some scuba neoprene boots.
  7. You don't need to be super uncomfortable. Just get your skin temp down to 50-55F. Spend 5 minutes. Work your way up to 30 minutes max.
  8. Now you're ready to get cold! Find a group and introduce yourself. Watch them cut a hole in the ice and prepare yourself. When it’s your turn, take a breath, relax. It’s going to be cold, so don’t be shoicked when it’s cold. Your body WILL have a stress response. You will want to scream and jump out. This is menal tougfhness. Smile and relax. You are not going to die. Spend about 1 minute and be done. It takes time to adapt to spending more time in the water. You can eventually work up to 5-10 minutes. This is true cold!

Once you have cold adapted you will be able to walk to your car in the parking lot comfortably in a t-shirt while your friends are shivering in their parkas. 

The small amount of discomfort you experience as you cold adapt leads to far more comfort in the cold from then on.

In February, we’re running a retreat in Minnesota where we’ll teach you how to cold adapt properly and together with master instructors we’ll get cold, get hot, and eat amazing meals together in the norrth woods.  

Thaddeus Ice

About the Author


Chris began his journey outdoors foraging medicinal and edible plants, hiking, hunting and camping in the woods around his childhood home in central Indiana. After spending a few years inside a windowless office he knew he needed to be outside and started working outside as an ironworker building tall commercial buildings all around the Midwest. After a serious accident that resulted in numerous injuries to internal organs and trauma to his brain he began to study and research ways to heal himself and make sure his body and mind was operating at peak levels. After experimenting on himself and helpingfamily and friends to do the same he realized that optimal health and performance through biohacking and ancestral health was one of his biggest passions and decided design his life around this.

PrimalHacker is the combination of those two passions. Chris loves spending time in the woods with his four boys, foraging, practicing martial arts and exploring ways to improve all aspects of health and performance. He is a certified Bulletproof Coach from the first ever class of coaches and a certified holistic health practitioner.

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