The title What Doesn't Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength pretty much does it for a synopsis of investigative journalist Scott Carney's new fitness and self improvement book. The main point I'll add is that Carney uses Dutch fitness guru (and literal X-Man) Wim Hof as a foundation for his research, and ultimately his personal quest to spend 28 hours climbing to the frigid and snowy summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro wearing not much more than his birthday suit.
CrossFit and Tough Mudder die hards are going to love What Doesn't Kill Us because it reinforces much of what they already believe: if you want to get better, you must get uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. The book recommends a complete disruption of comfort not only while working out, but while living our climate-controlled, technology-enhanced, biologically lazy lives in general. Run in the freezing rain! Sleep in the bed of snow! Puke it out at the highest peak!Rrrawwwrrr!
But what about those of us who kinda like our climate-controlled, technology-enhanced, biologically lazy lives? The ones who don't care if trading their 30-minute elliptical sessions for What Doesn't Kill Us levels of rawness and grit will make them peak-performing athletes because they don't want to be peak-performing athletes? Carney, backed by some scientific studies on Hof and his ability to control his body temperature in extreme cold, explains that sucking it up and learning to survive the elements could give much greater returns than just hard bodies and braggin' rights. Cold adaptation may also "help combat autoimmune diseases and chronic pains and, in some cases, even reverse diabetes. "
What Doesn't Kill Us shares Carney's study of cold adaptation and journey to make it a part of his own life in 3 interlocking narratives. If you want to shiver, sweat, and explore going shirtless in negative wind chills with him, check it out in hardcover, e-reader, or audio form.