Cold exposure will build brown fat... and fool your body fat scanner!

Updated: Apr 12

I was a fat kid, who grew up to be a pudgy young man, who matured into an obese, middle-aged adult Dad. By mid-40’s, I was setting a bad example for my kids, my wife was unhappy, and I was embarrassed by the shape I was in. This is my story.

When I decided to do something about it, I started skipping lunches and experimenting with different exercise classes. I tried yoga, spin, kickboxing, and weight training. My favorite was a cardio ballet class.

I stuck with the fasting and I quit alcohol and I increased my caffeine intake about 3-fold.

I dropped to 185 lb.

My wife was buying my clothes at Goodwill. She’d take them back after a few weeks and buy me smaller clothes, because I was shrinking so fast. My waist went from 44 to 34 inches.

That was over three years ago and I’ve mostly kept the weight off, although the shirts I bought when I was 185 lb don’t fit me now that I’m back up to 204.

Because my son has been Type 1 diabetic since he was six years old, I’d already learned a few things about the Atkin’s diet, low carb diets, blood glucose levels, insulin, and ketosis. So I eliminated carbs, took some of my son’s keto strips and started running my metabolism in and out of ketosis.

As part of my journey, I’ve learned that most of what I thought I knew about diet, health, nutrition, metabolism, and weight loss is plain wrong.

To learn what worked for me, I had to read things that didn’t come from official or popular sources, and run my own experiments on myself. One of the most important books was Scott Carney’s What Doesn’t Kill Us, which described the incredible health benefits of hyper ventilation and immersion in freezing cold water.

Carney's book chronicles his own journey towards fitness under the tutelage of the brilliant Dutch eccentric Wim Hof, who pioneered cold immersion practice and revealed the benefits of maintaining brown fat. (The medical term is called brown adipose tissue.)

Most of the fat in our body is in the form of white fat, which is a store of energy. But brown fat is different from white, because brown fat contains extra mitochondria for thermogenesis (generating heat to keeping our body warm). In other words, when you build brown fat, it is easier to boost your metabolism to burn off white fat.

Although all human babies are born with brown fat, most people lose almost all of it by the time they reach adulthood. Only regular cold exposure will cause our bodies to build brown fat.

The thing about immersing yourself in 32F water is that it hurts. It’s painful.

To withstand that, you have to gain control of your own nervous system, because every fiber of your body is in a state of panic. Staying in the ice water requires a meditative control of that panic.

I’ve been doing the ice baths for close to a year now. I can bathe in 45F water indefinitely — at least up to 15 minutes, after which I get bored. And I’m doing 32F for 3–5 minutes (which is tough).

I get cold, but I don’t even shiver anymore.

According to the theory of cold immersion response, I don’t have to shiver anymore, because my body has enough brown fat, to withstand prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, including freezing water.

This video shows Adrienne Jezick coaching Blake Hyman thru his cold water immersion experience in Sedona AZ during the summer of 2019. It's an illustration of why Jason Stauffer and I have started this company called Morozko Forge that turns livestock-watering troughs into beautiful, refrigerated baths.

Since learning about and practicing ice baths I’ve been feeling better than I ever have.

There’s just one problem…

Although I was feeling better, the body fat measurements I was doing at the g