Does Cold Thermogenesis Really Help You To Burn Body Fat?
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Some people claim that you can burn fat just by being cold, the technical term for which is term cold thermogenesis. But what’s the truth in this?
The claim is that rather than doing a high-energy workout, especially if you’re fasting, then you can get close to that fat burning effect just by inducing cold thermogenesis and maintaining it for a short time each day.
The downside is its bloody freezing. The upside is you get to lose body fat without having to put yourself through an hour or more of rigorous exercise, which can be a problem for the body if you do it too often, or if you aren’t that young anymore.
So let’s take a look today at cold thermogenesis in detail. How it can help you if it can help you, what the science says, and if there’s anything else you can use which can build on the effects, or that you can use instead of being cold.
What Sort Of Cold Exposure Are We Talking About?
Some people swear by a fat-burning routine based around cold thermogenesis. I’ve tried a bit, and it does work. For me, it’s a cold shower. I don’t do all the time because it’s horrible, but a week of doing it really seems to kickstart weight loss.
It can consist of things as simple as taking that cold shower, something many people have always advocated for a variety of health reasons anyway.
Or it could be gently stretching, doing some yoga, outside when it’s cold. Basically, doing something when you’ve got goose pimples and shivering going on.
Taken further, look at the guys jumping in holes in the ice in lakes, and people swimming in cold rivers. It’s not just about being crazy, the health benefits they state it brings include increased fat burning.
So do you have to live somewhere cold, or jump in a cold lake every day to benefit from cold thermogenesis?
The Potential Benefits Of Cold Thermogenesis
Before I tell you how you can induce cold thermogenesis without jumping in cold rivers, let’s just quickly look at the potential benefits you can gain from doing it:
- Can help to lower body fat
- Is reputed to lower blood sugar
- Can improve the immune system
- Helps prepare the body for the day
- Cold thermogenesis can help with depression
- Reduces inflammation in the body
- Helps to tone muscles
Let’s take a look quickly at some of the other benefits around this in slightly more detail:
- There’s a special sort of fat in the body called brown adipose tissue. It’s mostly located in the upper body. It’s able to create heat through burning standard fat in the body. So by inducing a state where this brown fat tissue is activated to keep you warm, it taps directly into your standard white fat supply, often located lower in the body around the organs, and burns that. Net effect: weight loss.
- The introduction of cold helps to upregulate the metabolism, to help it produce more heat to keep the body stable. This means burning fat rapidly to help do this. The mechanism that is thought to do this is generated by a protein in the body called cardiolipin. When activated it taps directly into the fat supply telling the body to supply and burn energy via the white fat supply.
- When you’re exposed to cold fuel is needed, and it doesn’t just come from fat. Immediately blood glucose is burned to raise the temperature when you are exposed to cold, then the processes we just talked about starts kicking in to burn fat to maintain that heat generation. So if you’ve got a lot of blood glucose, which would be converted via the liver into white fat, instead of by exposing yourself to cold days, you are heading off that process and minimizing fat conversion.
What’s The Scientific Evidence That Cold Thermogenesis Helps To Burn Fat?
In terms of the brown adipose tissue fat, there’s literally tons of evidence that it taps directly into glucose and white body fat to rapidly-produce heat. As an example, this study found that that exposure to cold could increase fat oxidation by up to 70%.
It’s the same with burning glucose, and with using white fat to generate heat. The science just backs this all up. It’s a fact.
But what do you have to do to achieve it?
Well, you can’t freeze yourself to death. But advocates of these techniques suggest a 5 or 10 minute cold shower or bath in the morning can help to induce this in a minor way.
If the climate is cold, just being outside and gently exercising with minimal clothing, to the point you got goosebumps, also helps to induce this state.
Obviously, swimming in cold water also does this. But a word of warning for me, unless you are a competent swimmer and know the risks and work your way up to this gently, just jumping into cold water can induce a shock reaction that can kill you.
Can I Just Use Ice For Post-workout Recovery And Fat Burning?
So let’s now talk about how this madness works for the average gym-goer who is not going to be taking 10 minute cold showers every morning jumping into cold Icelandic lakes.
Couldn’t you just use ice on certain areas of your body to induce this? Well, not really because the body has to feel it’s under threat from the cold to provoke reactions that burn fat.
Also, it’s the pronounced shivering across the body which tenses the muscles and works them at the same time that body fat is being burned.
But a lot of people advocate using ice post-workout anyway, to relieve inflammation. Now you’ve read this, you’re probably thinking there’s a dual benefit to it. It’s not really inducing cold thermogenesis though, but it is using cold locally to induce beneficial effects.
It slows down nerve conduction and helps to minimize the activation of muscle spindles. Because there is less pain, and more relaxation, then you can get tired muscles functional more quickly.
Ice helps to reduce inflammation as well, only locally, but it stops resources like white blood cells being rushed to the area so quickly because it narrows the blood vessels. That reduces inflammation.
So yes, you should use ice post-workout, and it’s also why it’s been known for so long that an ice bath after a particularly heavy workout can really dramatically help you to recover more quickly.
Can I Realistically Use Thermogenesis?
So what we’ve got here is a recap is a fact that cold thermogenesis involves inducing body responses that help to burn fat and make us shiver, thus also helping burn calories through the muscle movements.
Basically, guys, it means getting cold. You don’t have to go wandering off into the snow and dropping dead somewhere or jumping into freezing river and dying of shock.
Run a cold bath and spend 10 minutes in it. Have a cold shower. On a cold morning go out for a walk in jeans and a T-shirt.
It doesn’t really matter what you do, just get cold in a sensible way for at least 10 minutes each day if possible. To stop your body shivering and its temperature dangerously dropping, the brown fat routine kicks in, using glucose and then white fat to raise the temperature and maintain it.
The thing is though, it’s not always possible. So what I do is also use supplements to induce similar benefits.
Let’s look at SARMs. Although these are often looked at as muscle builders, you can also get SARMs like Ostarine that cut fat, and SARMs like Cardarine that boost energy levels, making muscle movement easier.
Using SARMs is a great thing to do anyway if you want to make better progress in the gym, especially if you stack them. But if you’re also combining them with cold thermogenesis, you can induce higher levels of fat-burning than you can even use SARMs.
If you don’t want to use SARMs, then you could use herbal bodybuilding supplements like the powerful ones from CrazyBulk.
Although not as potent as SARMs, you can buy these supplements with natural ingredients in them (legal steroid alternatives) that help to burn fat while maintaining muscle mass, like Ostarine does.
Using either of these methods alongside gentle cold thermogenesis can really help you to burn more fat, and also have the knock-on side effects are potentially faster recovery times, improve metabolism, and better general health.
On top of all that, thermogenesis helps to improve the immune system, and aid you with better sleep.
Alongside a progressive gym routine that really pushes you, and the sensible use of SARMs or natural supplements, cold thermogenesis could definitely be something to add to your armory really easily that could have a significant effect in just a few weeks.