Deliberate cold exposure can be beneficial for health and performance. Here are some guidelines based on my discussions and reviews of scientific literature:
Frequency and Duration: Aim for a total of 11 minutes of deliberate cold exposure per week, divided into two or four sessions of two or three minutes each. This is not a strict threshold and can be adjusted based on your comfort and challenge level. If 11 minutes per week becomes easy, you can safely lower the temperature, extend the duration, or increase the frequency.
Post-Exercise Cold Exposure: If your main goal is muscle hypertrophy and strength, it's best to avoid cold water or ice bath immersion in the four hours immediately following strength training. If you're very focused on maximizing strength and hypertrophy gains, you might want to move the cold exposure to a different day entirely.
Cold Showers: If you're using cold showers for deliberate cold exposure, aim to have the water hit your head, the back of your neck, and your upper back. These areas have most of your brown fat stores, which are key for triggering the adaptation of increased brown fat stores.
Remember, the most important thing is to do it safely and consistently. Adjust the parameters to allow you to continue deliberate cold exposure consistently.