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The answer to burning extra Calories lies inside a freezing Cryotherapy Chamber?

Posted on July 3, 2018 by The Athletic Room Team

As a company that prides itself on having a smart and evidence based approach we have purposely never marketed nor claimed that through Whole Body Cryotherapy you can burn 500-800 calories in a 3 minute session.  We never doubted that there is a positive effect on the metabolism by getting cold but we recognize that the amount of calories burned depends on your body type, diet, and the temperature of exposure.  So, in order for us to better understand Cryotherapy and the effect on the metabolism we did an experiment….and what we learned “FROZE” us all.

We teamed up with Composition ID (click on link to find out about CompID) an amazing company that provides science based tests for their members to better achieve their fitness and health goals.  Melissa, the owner of Composition ID, brought a Resting Metabolic Testing Machine to the Athletic Room that could objectively test and interpret the results.  Our goal was to learn more about what happens to the metabolism after a 3-minute Whole Body Cryotherapy Session. 


Three members of the AR Team took the 12-15 minute Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) test before and then again after Cryotherapy.  Here were our results:

Kailee –  (42 year old male) Cryotherapy boosted his Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) from 2390 => 2966 (+576) calories over a 24 hour period.  That increased his metabolism +24% which took his metabolism from ABOVE AVERAGE to VERY FAST.

Sherlyn – (20 year old female) went from 1181 => 1368 (+187) calories burned over a 24 hour period. That increased her metabolism +16% and took her metabolism from BELOW AVERAGE to ABOVE AVERAGE.

Heather – (22 year old female) only had a slight increase in her RMR 1297 => 1327 (+30).  It increased her metabolism by +2% and took her from 7% below normal to 3% below normal.  That was very different results from the other two tests and we have a theory as to why.  A Hint, it may have to do with Shivering or in her case NOT Shivering at ALL.

So, why were there such varying results among these three participants?  Since we cannot give a definite answer, here are a couple of our thoughts:

  • Shivering vs Not Shivering – and most obvious one was that Heather (purposely) did not shiver.  Instead of shivering she flexed all of her muscles which created a different way for her body to create heat and deal with the cold.  Sherlyn and Kailee took the opposite approach and relaxed allowing for their body to shiver naturally. Shivering to increase metabolism is not new and one study conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health showed that just 15 minutes spent in the cold can be the metabolic equivalent of a full hour of exercise!  

*Fun Fact – shivering burns up to five times more energy than a body at rest, and even mild cold that doesn’t cause you to shiver activates brown fat stores, jump-starting your caloric burn rate.

  • Frequency of use – another difference between the 3 candidates may be how often they use Cryotherapy. Kailee is a daily user of Cryotherapy as a treatment due to the cumulative damage from his 9 years of playing in the NFL.  Sherlyn uses Cryotherapy more regularly 2-3x a week; whereas Heather uses Cryotherapy sporadically and typically only when she is involved in heavy training leading up to a Weight Lifting Competition.
  • Size and Gender – difference is size and gender. Kailee has much greater mass (more than 2x as much as either of the Female’s who took the test) and because of his increased size and gender he is likely to have higher levels of Testosterone, and Growth Hormone.  Cryotherapy in studies have proven to ramp up the production of Testosterone to burn more fat and increase the metabolism.
  • Temperature – Kailee used a lower temperature during his Cryotherapy Session as opposed to Heather or Sherlyn.  The difference of -10 degrees celsius does not seem like a lot but while you are in the Cryotherapy Chamber it is very noticeable.  

While it is clear there is a positive impact from Whole Body Cryotherapy on the metabolism there are still many more questions that we want to explore.  Most importantly, how long does this increase last for? We are curious to do more experiments and we will continue to share our findings and spread the word of the wonderful benefits of voluntarily exposing yourself to Mild Cold Stress.