Guys. This is real life.
Tim has been quietly obsessed with this subculture of a subculture Ice Bath-Sauna-Workout thing in Hawaii. Prior to this, the only thing I knew about Laird Hamilton was he made a mean coffee creamer. Tim, on the other hand, was fully aware of both Laird and Gabrielle and the string of other people in the wellness realm involved in non-traditional training techniques.
Back in early 2016, Tim had participated in “The Art of Breath” at CrossFit Virginia Beach and worked with Rob Wilson (the owner) on some mobility stuff. Tim usually is way ahead of the wellness curve when it comes to what’s cool and trending. History has taught me to always say yes to Tim’s wellness antics and adventures because I will either have an unbelievable experience or walk away with a new brain wrinkle.
Last November, Tim planned a date night to grab mediterranean food (and a glass of what would soon be my favorite red wine) before heading to CrossFit Virginia Beach. I know sounds super weird to plan date night at a gym, but the owner (Rob) was hosting a talk by Brian MacKenzie and Dr. Andrew Huberman.
Since that date night, I only really sort of understood the XPT stuff but I totally understood Tim’s man-crush on this science-squad.
As previously mentioned, I’m willing to try just about anything in the name of longevity and life experience. So when Tim found out the first ever East Coast XPT Workshop was going to be in Virginia, he was going whether I was in or not. Eff it. Sure. Sign me up.
Fast forward to July 2018
At around 12:30 PM we roll up to this magical place…
This property is unbelievable. We are immediately welcomed by coaches Lindsay, Fabian, and Kimmie.
What came next brought me to the happiest internal tears I’ve ever shed.
Since January, I’ve physically not been able to do what I once could in the gym. Beyond the pain in my joints, I’ve also felt isolated due to the fact that so much of my social life is surrounded by a fitness style I could no longer do (at least not the way I wanted to) and food I could no longer eat. My confidence in all aspects of life was nonexistent.
The XPT programming was not only doable, but I actually felt like I was skilled in the movements (Crossfit but in water!) and felt completely at ease with the people as they mirrored all that is good with my Compound family.
We began with guided breath-work that both terrified me and brought me to the most incredibly tingly zen I’ve ever felt. Just at the moment when you want to quit, the “hum” happens. You don’t audibly hum… but it’s almost like your body begins to vibrate into a state of total relaxation.
Fun fact. I can hold my breath for 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
We then did a mild, but more importantly for me, doable functional fitness workout. Tim was my partner and wasn’t letting me slack in the slightest.
We then moved on to the portion of the day where I felt the most alive. In the pool, the pain in my joints was nonexistent. The weights, even the heavier ones felt great. For the first time in almost half a year, I felt like an athlete!
Following the pool portion was the part I was fearing the most. The sauna-ice-bath circuit (the reason we were there) would be the portion of the day that challenged me the most mentally.
We all hopped in the sauna looking forward to the sweat… but not everyone was ready for the dunk.
My first time in the ice I lasted 30 seconds before asking Lindsay if it was ok for me to get out.
The second round, after seeing so many others – of all ability levels and ages – successfully complete the three minutes, I was ready.
Kimmie coached me through 3 minutes and 30 or so seconds. Oddly enough, at the end I almost didn’t want to get out.
Following my final triumphant ice dunk, we all gathered for a shared meal. Each and every item on the table was “Melissa Friendly.”
Full disclosure, I started this blog the day I got back in July. I never hit publish because I needed photographic proof of the ice.
Then “August” happened.
2018 started off challenging to say the least and in August, life became pretty much unbearable.
In the midst of the worst of it, Lindsay and Fabian emailed Tim and I inviting us back for a weekend at the end of September and encouraged us to bring friends. We both knew we needed this experience again… and we knew just the friends to invite.
Our healing journey continues and in the moments of strength and joy and laughter we are reminded of how lucky we really are. Things are never going to be the same for Tim and I… but by surrounding ourselves with people who help us appreciate this one short life we have been granted … it sure makes it easier to get up and take on the day.
Thank you Lindsay, Fabian, and Kimmie for the silver lining. You mean so much to us and I hope we will be XPT Family for years to come. (Photos borrowed from L, F and Brianna)
Here are the two groups we completed our first and second XPT with.
I know I focused more on my experience and didn’t really touch on the “Why” or any of the science.
If you are interested, here is a four part Outside Magazine documentary on the XPT Experience:
Or you can visit http://www.xptlife.com to find a workshop, retreat or experience near you.