The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
Nov. 3, 2022

How Cold Plunges & Cold Showers Have Changed My Life With Ryan Duey

How Cold Plunges & Cold Showers Have Changed My Life With Ryan Duey

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Ryan Duey (@ryanaduey) is the co-founder and CEO of Plunge. He sits down with Chris Van Vliet at the Plunge headquarters in Sacramento, CA to talk about the many health benefits of cold water exposure like reduced inflammation, increased energy levels, lower stress and many more. He discusses how the company got started, why he says cold is his medicine, his morning routine, tips for longevity, why Chris looks up to Tom Brady's diet and exercise routine, Ryan's experience on Shark Tank with his co-founder Michael Garrett, getting a deal with Robert Herjavec and much more!


On the success of cold plunge:

“I think about that a lot. When Mike [Garrett, co-founder of Cold Plunge] and I started we were like let’s build 20 of these. We had an email list from our other companies, so we would message them ‘Hey, this is what we have been working on through COVID…’ Our other businesses were shut down, so we were like let’s do 20. So then it was about what is the micromovement we had to do at the time? We sensed, we both knew how impactful cold plunging would be. But did we lay out a number or do this or that, we never played that game. But we did think that there was a special opportunity, and it’s all about the magic of it. I never played it out to what it could look like, we have always shot short. Whenever we have tried to plan, we have always done it short to our capabilities of what is happening.”

On submerging in cold water:

“There are a million different names for it now. It is ice baths, it is cold plunging, cold water therapy, cold immersion, all of the things. It is all about getting into cold water and getting your core temperature down. There are a lot of different benefits that show up, the big one is that it will increase your baseline dopamine levels. Dopamine is the key chemical that turns on the motivation and the drive. We commonly hear that people that cold plunge are motivated, can think clearer, all the long term benefits. It is a crazy concept but that is what is so cool, you have to do the crazy thing and you get the same sensation every time. I don’t know of anything else out there that is like it. You don’t have to go to the gym to work out, you don’t have to go for a run. With a cold plunge, all you have to do is to get in it, breathe, and then the magic happens. But why? We are still figuring out why. We are seeing benefits that we never saw. Mike was doing it for energy boosting and mental clarity, I was getting sick loads so it was to beef up the immune system. The big one we are noticing now is customers with autoimmune disorders coming in with things like MS or anything with a hormone imbalance. Cold plunging regulates that imbalance. There is not a lot of treatment for cold plunging, one of our customers with an autoimmune disease did it and it changed his life. The fun part is all the testimonies.”

On an entry to cold plunge:

“You can do cold water in the shower. I think the cold shower is actually more challenging than the cold plunge. The shower to me is more annoying how it hits a certain part of your body. But as we are getting into the colder months, you can do it with your tap water in the morning. Aim for the chest, the back and the crown of your head. If you can rotate 30 seconds in each of those sections and breathe through it, it will lower the heart rate. There’s also a ton of local facilities. If you go onto Google, there is probably a ton of communities where you can just go in and get a day pass.”

On Ryan Duey’s morning routine:

“I feel like everyone has a morning routine, mine varies. I probably achieve 70 to 80% of these things consistently. I wake up and I like to do 3 rounds of Wim Hof breath. I get groggy, don’t hop right out of bed. Also I have a trainer, so many mornings a week I will do a workout, and I will cold plunge after. If I am not working out, then I will cold plunge after the breathing. Some mornings there is a workout, but all of the mornings there is a cold plunge.”

On negative comments:

“You get people who just take shots at things like how people look, they are doing it wrong, they could do better, stuff like that. But 95% of comments are so positive, however the 5% get 100% of the attention. I’m getting better at it, but I used to just want to defend myself. I am learning to deal with the comments better though.”

On the education process:

“Of course the person buying it is excited. They have been talking about it for weeks, and they didn’t just buy it on a whim, they have seen the changes. But the coolest thing is to do it with people, the greatest feeling is to do something hard with someone. Cold plunging is a community piece. There is nothing better than cold plunging as a group.”

On who Ryan Duey looks up to for peak health at an increased age:

“I mean Mark Sisson, The Primal Kitchen guy, is like one of the most healthy and jacked guys I’ve ever seen. There’s also a guy named Doug Steiny, he is not well known. He is a Wim Hof instructor, I think he is about 70, and he is maybe the epitome of health right now. He was in his 60’s and he was on his death bed and paralysed, then he found the Wim Hof method. His family rolled him into the shower each day before, but now he can do power cleans, do the splits and he is just healthy now. Those are the guys who are doing the cold plunges at 6am and those are who I look at from a health standpoint.”

On changing your life today:

“Yes you can do it when you are 60, but getting that momentum will be harder. There will be later, but do one thing now. Do 2 pushups today, 1 degree. In 6 months you are at 180 degrees and going in the other direction. The body wants to go back into homeostasis, you just have to do it right. I would say start smaller than bigger, you are witnessing a tree that has been growing for years, you are just planting the seed.” 

On appearing on Shark Tank:

“It definitely made [a difference]. The web traffic was insane, it was really fun that first night when we aired in May. We kind of named ourself the thing, which is great for SEO but the trademark is the challenge. The show was a great experience. They reached out to us from the beginning, it was never on our radar when we reached out. They were like we think you should apply, so we were like let’s do it. So it was the most intense application process that I have ever been through. It was a lot of dots, a lot of interviews, probably took a month of things to go through. We got our flights booked and went into the studio, and I didn't know what to expect. You know, how much of this is staged? What really goes on? But it was really an authentic show, it was cool to see how much they cared about business. It was authentic, us and the 5 sharks. Everything is open and here we go. The set is silent and no one tells you a thing. They did prep us a lot with our pitch.”

Did they change anything?

“I would say 90% of it was us, they did give us feedback. If we said a stat, they need to know the study and that it was real. They would say that it is too long or too short, just trying to coach us on things. It got to a point where we went to a music festival the week before, and all we were doing was practicing our pitches.”

On the biggest lesson learned in the past 2 years:

“I think I have learned from having a co-founder, that was massive. The fact we could accomplish so much together, that is such a testament to finding the right co-founder. I think learning for us as a company and being all into the process, that has been a massive learning overall. And I am still learning every single day.”

On what Ryan Duey is grateful for:

“My health, my parents and my partner.”