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Overcoming our own Limits: Saying ‘Yes’ when you want to say ‘No’!

If someone told me that I would walk into a small room that was minus 166 degrees Fahrenheit wearing only a t-shirt, shorts, socks/slippers, mittens and headband. I would have exclaimed, “Do you think I’m crazy?!” Yet, that is exactly what I did one day last week to undergo Cryotherapy at USCryotherapy. Cryotherapy is a localized or whole-body exposure to cold temperatures to decrease inflammation, pain, spasms, and promote healing. The therapy that I did was the whole body which is in a small room that fits up to four people at one time.
Luckily I did this experiment with three other women. I highly recommend doing this with a few friends; we made the most of the situation and had some fun in the process. We began by putting on protective clothing for our feet and ankles, hands and head. Before entering the anti-chamber they measure your body temperature on the skin of your arm. My temperature was 87 degrees. Our host said that was a little low and asked if I was nervous. While I tried to remain calm and casual I admitted that I may be just a tad bit nervous. We started in the anti-chamber, which is 92 degrees, for just a few seconds. They let us pick a song to listen to while in the main chamber and we agreed on Katy Perry’s Hot n Cold as an appropriate distraction. We entered the main chamber which was minus 166 degrees and began to jog in a circle as instructed. And it was FREEZING!!!! At first it was slightly bearable, but with each second it became very difficult. We did joke around and laugh quite a bit, which helped. Toward the end of the 2 ½ minutes I (and I know at least one other person) expressed serious doubts about being able to stay in much longer. But we made it until our host came on the speaker and let us know it was time to get out. It was like a mini-stampede to get through the door! I’ve never been so relieved in my life! Well maybe on a few other occasions, but this was among the top. On leaving the anti-chamber my body temperature was again tested on my arm and I was 48 degrees. My skin was freezing to touch but it felt good to be back in the main room. Next they had us do 10 minutes of cardio on the machine of our choice; an elliptical trainer in my case.
All in all, I survived, but it was an interesting experience to reflect on. How many times do we venture into a situation that we think is impossible? How often do we completely avoid something while we think or openly exclaim, “I could never do that…” I wonder if I am able to endure minus 166 degrees for 2 ½ minutes how many other seemingly impossible tasks could I overcome? In the past two years I have been on a mission to improve my physical fitness. I went from a self-proclaimed ‘pudgy executive’ to competing in triathlons, running marathons, climbing Half Dome in Yosemite National Park and feeling that I can literally do anything I set my mind to at this point. And I started all this the year I turned 50.
This Cryotherapy was like a microcosm of my last 2 years. I’ve done things I only dreamed of accomplishing. After our recent Olympic triathlon competition, my coach and friend Lorriann Code, founder of Mama Bootcamp, asked if I wanted to do cryotherapy with her to see how it felt. Naturally I said, “Sure!” I didn’t really know what was entailed and I knew it would be cold, but I decided to give it a try. I could have made a long list of reasons not to attempt it, and for some there are health reasons why you shouldn’t because it’s not safe for everyone, but I knew it was an option for me to try. I thought afterwards how we all have choices to make along our journey. Sometimes it is a matter of getting out of our comfort zone and giving something a try. It feels good to be adventurous and experience new things. Give yourself a challenge and try something new, who knows…it might lead to a new favorite hobby or activity!

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