Ice Baths - Methods and Results

Hey everyone,

This is my first post -- I have seen Tim talk about Ice Baths in 4HB and he said he had two bags of ice from the gas station, and was in it for 10-20 mins.

So what exactly does the ice bath accomplish and what would be the best method of going about doing one? Just jump in? Has anyone tried it before? Just curious, I'd like to try it just to see what effect it has if any. Looking forward to hearing from you :)



current weight: 208.2lb

lbs lost on slow-carb: 30lbs and counting!

target weight: 185lbs


The Best Answer

United-States flag

The Dr. Oz clip on ice therapy shows some good illustrations relating to what ice bath's accomplish. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/four-hours-your-perfect-body-pt-2

I added an ice bath on my cheat day and actually ended up losing .5 lbs the next morning. I'm a believer so I'm starting it 3 x's a week.

I didn't want to spend $48 on ice a week for the the baths. (10 lb bag where I live is $8+). So I took 3 gallon freezer ziplock bags and filled them with water and stuck them in the freezer double bagged. They weigh 21 lbs on my scale. Put them in the tub and open them up so they will melt and just fill them up again and it will be frozen again for the next night. You can use smaller bags or more bags. But it will save a bunch of money.

All Answers


Germany flag

I found it the easiest to first step in, wait for a minute with only my feet in the water.

And then just sit down.

Really fascinating is: After doing it twice you really get used to it.

As for the ice I use about 9 lbs of those ice packs you use for portable ice boxes.

Really handy, after you're done, use your towel to dry them and back in the freezer with them.

One more thing:

Don't underestimate the power of your body to heat up the water!

When not moving it can get quite comfortable in their, because there builds up a screen of "warmer" water around your skin.

That's why I keep constantly moving to have the water circulating. While this really gets kinda ... cold ... I always tend to think "I'm not doing this for fun anyways, so why not do it really nasty"

Though I do not have progress in numbers, it really helped me break through plateaus.


Canada flag

i use cold therapy . the reasoning is that it promotes brown fat growth - and brown fat eats white fat (the kind around your waist/lovehandles) i buy two bags of ice from the gas station and throw it in a full bath of cold water... i then get in up to my waist quick is better i find...and i wait 10 minutes... then i try to submerge up to my neck for another 5-10 minutes...this is usually all i can take

i also use the ice packs on the back of my neck and traps on off days...the first bath is the worst...after that you get used to it


United-Kingdom flag

I have no idea what's the fuss about... C'mon it's not that bad. I've took my first cold* bath 10min ago and.... it was fine. not pleasant, but you start to focus better. I was reading while in the tub.

*I wasn't prepared to take ice bath(had no ice), will do it next time. But I live in England, and tap water here is pretty damn cold. so it sort of equals :)

P.S. cold shower is much "harder" than bath. I've tried cold showers for few days and it was unpleasant - your heart races first minute but then you just start ignoring it.

P.P.S. i love that feeling of "electricity" when you wipe yourself after cold bath/shower.


Denmark flag

I have not found ice baths unpleasant at all. I like the feeling being submerged in the cold water. I stay in my tub for at least 45 mins 5 days a week, and sometimes i will stay in longer for 1-2 hours.

The feeling i get from doing it i unbeliveble. My body feels so good and im clear headed


he has a method in the book, he says to put 2 20# bags in with water then he goes like up to his waist for 10 mins. then up to his chest for 5 and the up to his neck for another 5 or something similar to that, he also suggests a few easier methods, he also explains the ice bath in detail in the book


I used to take ice baths to speed up recovery after basketball practices in college. It absolutely heals muscles/tendons quickly & I couldn't have played without them. However, they are extremely painful for the first couple minutes! Whatever weight you supposedly lose from creating a blood rush/increased heart rate you can get from less painful methods. Tim is a brilliant guy & I'm a big fan of his work....but after taking hundreds of ice baths myself there is not a chance I would do it again regardless of positive results.


Australia flag

Anyone know if cold showers are just as effective as ice baths?

  • justin commented Mar 17th 2011:
    The book says they are 60% as effective if done 5 times a week. I found it to be about 10% along with ice on neck and back.


United-Kingdom flag

I'm in England too and the water here is pretty damn cold.

I found the best way to start is to fill the bath with about 4 inches of luke-warm water. Jump in and then turn the cold tap on and get reading something interesting. The bath fills up in about 3 minutes but you don't get the shock of jumping in when the bath's full with cold water. Having something to focus on other than how cold you are makes the experience less unpleasant.


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From what I have read,

- Tim does an Ice bath for 2 reasons: (1) reduces fat (2) improves sex drive -- may be sperm count, testosterone level.

- He sits in ice water with legs extended for 10 minutes and then the last 5 he fully immerses himself - breathing as needed.

How to do it – it all depends on how well you tolerate cold. I personally would take it gradually and just put my feet in initially.

Yes I have taken an ice bath up to the waste before - it was part of rehab in college days. I did not like it, but I am a wimp. Will I try it again - maybe. First I need to conquer a 5 minute cold shower.


United-States flag

Well, I tried an ice bath yesterday for the first time & let me tell you it was horrible!!!!!! I will keep doing them but not happy about it at all! I'm interested to see the outcome of all of the 'rules' I'm trying really hard to follow.

I need to lose 20 lbs & if the ice helps with my metabolism, I'm all for it!!!!

I have much more to say/ask but I'm guessing I'll just have to go to a different thread, don't want to upset anyone by posting in the wrong thread!!!

I will say this though, I'm really glad this forum is here cuz the book is somewhat daunting, trying to follow everything to the letter.


United-States flag

search the forum there are a lot of good posts on this.


Canada flag

I haven't mustered up the courage for an ice bath yet (I am waiting until I hit a plateau so I can use that as motivation to sit in a bucket of ice :)).

Although, I have been playing with cold showers just to see the weight difference before and after. With a 3-4 minute cold shower, I consistently lose 0.4 pounds (I guess that would be 4 ounces??), which isn't a whole lot but this is only a 3 minute shower.

I was just doing this for fun but I was also curious to see if there would be instant results from sitting and cold water and it definitely looks as though this is the case.

I am really curious to see what my before and after weight is with a 20 minute cold bath and I am pretty confident my curious nature will win out soon and I will be trying it, so I will keep you posted.


Canada flag

Interesting that they now offer a method for destroying fat cells using extreme cold called Cool Sculpting. It uses a machine that zaps extreme levels of cold that shrink up the fat cells and kills them off. Not quite the same as activating BAT cells, but still interesting none the less. There is some evidence developing that does show that even ice baths could result in the shrinking of fat cells, which essentially means they get absorbed into the body. I will try to find the link I found on Pubmed, but right now it is escaping my search skills on there.

If you want to look up the Cool Sculpting they talk about it here on this Plastic Surgery site.


  • Abulonna commented Jul 14th 2013:

    Hey,I don't know how old this post is and if it's still on topic.

    But I actually had a cool sculpting therapy about 2 months ago. They grad about a handful of your labs into a vacuum press and cool it down to -10 c for 30min. This shall cause an implusion of tge fat cells, over the time your body will eliminate the damaged fat cells and all in all they promise a fat loss up to 250g per treatment.

    I can hardly see any results. I lost about 1cm on my laps but I think it's cause of my diet, i had similar loss at the whole body.

    Further I tried it out at home again by placing huge cooling bags on my laps for 40min (i changed them after 20min). This finally caused a cold burn, but no remarkable fatloss so far.


United-Kingdom flag

Line a old chest freezer with rubber pond liner (EPDM - the tough stuff, not plastic). Fill it with water and run the freezer until a fair bit of ice forms. Put it on a timer to run a few hours a night to keep it that temperature and adjust if necessary (the thermostat on the freezer is no good as it can't be adjusted as high as 0C). Saves wasting cold water in the bath every time.


United-States flag

Coming from a post-work out standpoint, an ice bath is key, especially if you did any hard cardio such as running. We've all felt the soreness after working out, and a lot of that is built up lactic acid. Stretching is recommended after a workout, however it is impossible to stretch out every single little muscle. By taking an ice bath, you force a good majority of your muscles to contract. It's kinda like wringing out a towel.

The body's response to a mass drop in temperature is to increase the blood flow. This "flush" brings more blood to the muscles and helps to carry out the acid that has built up. Often, when I take ice baths, I feel like I am doing small exercises because my muscles get the post rep "burn" you get after lifting a set of weights.

I after the "blood rush," I've personally experienced a nice drop in heart rate. I wear a chest heart monitor and an instant read HRM watch as well and my average heart rate when taking an ice bath is around 55 bpm, and dropping as low as 45 bpm.

Psychologically, it toughens you up. Hard to touch on the intangibles here, but just start taking ice bath's and you'll understand.

  • DexV commented Dec 4th 2012:

    Call me a wuss, but I don't think I could bring myself to do the ice bath. I tried starting it off with taking a very cold shower, and only lasted about two minutes. Maybe one day I'll give it another go.

  • Margo Bebb commented Aug 21st 2013:

    My physio told me to do the same thing to get rid of the lactic acid. After a workout I'm so hot anyway, it's quite nice.


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From the posts here, I gather that people prefer the ice bath to wearing an ice pack. For 60% of the overall results and about 0.1% of the pain, I would always opt for an ice pack. Is the ice pack not preferred for some reason?

  • Peter Hucker commented Nov 19th 2013:

    Ice cold water is best, it cools your whole body evenly.

  • s joshua commented Nov 19th 2013:

    Try both and see what is truly more effective for YOU :)

    My daily cold showers are invigurating, I've been doing them since March. It was tough at first but not its par for the course... cold for a couple seconds then im used to it.

    If you can't muster using water, check out www.coolfatburner.com for a nice idea of a ice vest.

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