Ice Barrell CEO and founder Wyatt Ewing may have found one of the best solutions to alleviating anxiety and stress in the COVID era. Are you ready?
Wyatt Ewing is earnestly taking care of two babies — his newborn and his cold therapy training tool Ice Barrel. The latter was a winner in Men’s Health 2021 Fitness Awards and, as the CEO and founder of the product asserts, is indicative of why he believes cold therapy is here to stay.
“I think cold therapy here in the United States specifically is still about 4-5 years behind [in comparison to the rest of the world],” Ewing tells Athletech News. “I don’t think people in the West like to get uncomfortable. But as we change that and we help people take more and more ice baths I think we’re gonna see an Ice Barrel in every home. I think we’re going to have different retreats and pop-ups in a lot of cities where people are gonna be having ice baths daily in their homes as well as practicing it as a community.”
Even with time management as a daily challenge, juggling both family and entrepreneurial life, Ewing has unwavering faith in Ice Barrel, from its benefits to ease of use. As someone who struggled with anxiety and depression, cold water therapy improved his life, and can do the same for others, particularly as the world slowly emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic fog. He says, “There’s a lot of research showing how cold therapy can improve your immune system. Through COVID, we’ve talked to a lot of our customers and a lot of them are really thankful to be able to practice ice baths in a specific tool that engages the mind and body differently versus trying to lay down in the family bathtub.”
If you’re still on the fence about cold therapy or whether you could use an Ice Barrel in your own home, follow on to learn more about the brains behind the “simple, fun, and easy way to add cold exposure” to your wellness routine.
Athletech News (ATN): Please tell us about your current company and how either your role or the company (if you are a founder) came to fruition
Ewing: My name is Wyatt Ewing. I am the CEO of Ice Barrel. Ice Barrel’s a cold therapy training tool that offers a really easy and convenient way to add ice baths to your routine. It has a really lightweight and portable design, and it’s compact, durable and it’s designed to fit most body types as well. It enables you to sit upright with your spine straight in the upright position, which also allows you to focus the mind and relax the body.
ATN: What was your journey like to get to this point?
Ewing: It was really tough. My journey started a few years back. I was super stressed out. I was anxious. I struggled with depression, and just between work and family I was just burning the candle at both ends. There was this one day where a stranger in a gym came up to me and encouraged me to try some just basic breath exercises and to take a cold shower. I was very reluctant initially, but gave it a try and I immediately felt better, just with the cold. It helped my mood, my energy levels, helped take away some stress over time. My symptoms with anxiety and depression went away. It was incredible.
ATN: What is your greatest strength?
Ewing: I think my greatest strength is some form of mental fortitude, or even equanimity. I’ve been able to just stay consistent and whatever I set my intention on just continue to push on it until it comes to fruition.
ATN: What motivates you?
Ewing: Whenever I help somebody take an ice bath and they go into the barrel with some injury, stress, anxiety, some struggle, some form of suffering. And then when they get out of the barrel they’re smiling and their perspective changed. They come out of the barrel being a more well-adjusted human. They come out feeling better. Helping people achieve that is one of my favorite things in this world. It gets me up every morning. And it also, which is so important, it gets my wife out of bed too with me. We have such a vision together that it’s just a mutual effort and that strengthens what we’re doing.
ATN: What are some of your daily habits?
Ewing: A few things that I like (which might be a little weird) – I like sleeping with mouth tape on. I’m a big fan of just nasal breathing, so unless I’m talking or eating, I keep my mouth closed and at night I tape it shut. The other thing is I always take an ice bath every day. If I’m traveling and I don’t have access to one of our barrels, I will take a cold shower. The last thing is if I’m in a place where I can do it, I always like to get up and watch the sun rise and then at night I always like to take that time to watch the sunset.
ATN: Where do you accomplish your best work?
Ewing: I accomplish my best work in two places: first place is when I’m sleeping. I tend to dream about ideas and how to fix things. [The second place is] when I’m awake my best work comes out of the ice barrel. It’s a place where I can quiet my mind. I can kind of reset my body, and in those times I feel the most creative.
ATN: What makes a good CEO?
Ewing: I believe that what makes a good CEO is somebody that is driven to create the best quality of life for their employees, members, and customers. This means relationships over transactions, and we do this by caring for the needs of those around us and leading those around us by serving them.
ATN: How do you manage stress?
Ewing: I manage stress in two different ways. If it is active stress, which we’re all a part of, I manage it through breathing. So I slow my breath down and when I become consciously aware of my breathing, the active stress slowly passes into the background.
The second way would be managing long-term stress, which also ends up helping short-term stress. But that would be through the ice barrel. When you’re in the cold you’re reconditioning your mind to what real stress is, and I want to say real stress because there’s a difference between somebody cutting you off in traffic and being chased by a grizzly bear.
One of those ignites a stress response that needs to be there, and that would be the grizzly bear. The other one ignites an irritation within us that is easily overcome through reconditioning the mind to what real stress is. So when you’re in those tough active stress moments, you can slow down and you can readjust.
ATN: What decision would you take back and do differently?
Ewing: About six months before I started the Ice Barrel, I was in a position where I could leave my corporate career and go full-in to cold therapy. I was reluctant and if I could do it differently I would have cut all the ties and I would have just jumped in a hundred and ten percent.
ATN: How much sleep do you get?
Ewing: I average between seven to nine hours of sleep. I like to go to bed early. But we recently had a new baby, and I get a lot less sleep through that process. But one thing that has helped me improve the quality of sleep (maybe not the quantity ) would be cold therapy. I primarily take my ice baths at night, right before bed, and so I am going to sleep with a lower heart rate. So the sleep that I do get it’s a lot deeper and effective.
ATN: Who is your mentor? Role model?
Ewing: I’ve had two amazing mentors in my life. One of them, I met him when I was 14 years old and he was the first person in my life to give me actionable tasks to grow myself just from a personal development standpoint, as well as kind of help me get my feet wet in entrepreneurship. He was a retired Colonel for the Air Force Academy. He was a friend of my granddad, who has since passed away. And he didn’t ask anything in return of me and he never has. He probably spent three to four hours a week with me from the time I was 14 to about 18 years old. So I’m forever grateful for him in my life.
Another amazing mentor who also changed my life – his name is Andy. He’s [based] out of Austin, Texas. He’s just a super-successful, down-to-earth caring individual. He’s probably one of the most caring people I’ve ever met and he’s forever changed my life, and kind of helped me get to where I am today.