I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro shirtless, trained with Iceman Wim Hof, pushed my body to the brink of human endurance with some of the craziest guys in the world, and wrote a book about it called WHAT DOESN’T KILL US. I’m Scott Carney, AMA.
TLDR: Too many words, show me a 2 minute video, instead
A few years ago I heard about a Dutch fitness guru named Wim Hof who claimed to be able to give people what sounded like superpowers--consciously controlling their body temperature, their immune systems and oxygen consumption. I had just written a book and given a Tedx talk about another guru making similarly outlandish claims in the deserts of Arizona. That story ended in tragedy, with a man dying on his search for enlightenment. I thought Wim Hof was just another charlatan, so I got a commission from Playboy to set out to prove he was a fake.
Obviously, I was more than a little bit skeptical when I met Hof at his training center in Poland. However, within a few days, he completely changed my mind. I ended up meditating on the banks of a snowy river, melting the snow around me with my body heat. I learned to hold my breath for three minutes at a stretch and stand in the snow for hours at a time. At the end of the week I climbed a mountain in Poland wearing only a bathing suit while the temperature plummeted to 4 degrees.
The 2014 piece in Playboy turned out to be a hit and I spent the next four years studying the method more closely and examining scientific explanations for why it worked. I interviewed top athletes using cold exposure and high-intensity training to maximize their workouts, and military scientists who are trying to make the perfect soldier. I delved into the anthropological literature on human evolution that suggested that our ancestors survived frigid winters by cultivating a vestigial tissue known as brown fat, which uses ordinary white fat to heat the body. Then I learned how to cultivate brown fat myself.
I know that a lot of this sounds crazy. I thought so too. But as I learned more, I began to see results for myself. I learned to control my body temperature to such an extent that last January, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro without a shirt--at a pace that was three times faster than almost anyone ever attempts--making it to the rim of the volcano in just 28 hours.
All of this is in a book I just wrote called What Doesn’t Kill Us
Ask me anything.
Update 2:27 ET - Well this blew up didn't it? I've been typing furiously for two hours and can't keep up with all the questions. This is absolutely humbling and amazing at the same time. I'm going to step out for a little bit I need to drive to BoulderBookstore to sign copies of my book to get them to the people who pre-ordered. But I'll come back to check in throughout the day. If you want to keep updated I've got all the normal social media outlets--I'd be thrilled if you liked myauthor page.
Update 6:24 ET Holy cow, people. How on earth am I going to get through 1537 comments? I want to thank the Reddit community for being so engaging and asking really thought-provoking questions. I especially enjoy the skeptics, because I'm a skeptic, too. I'll keep trying to get to your comments, but if you don't get a response please do either check out the book, or check out some of my past articles on the WHM that are free online. If you are so inclined you can follow me on twitter and all the other normal social media platforms. It has been an absolute blast and an honor to have held your attention today.