Episode 2: ‘Shock’

December 16, 2022

In this episode, Hemsworth’s task is to face extreme temperatures with the help from sports scientist Ross Edgley. Over the course of three days, Edgley puts Hemsworth through three different tasks for him to be able to undergo the final task: the arctic swim. Edgley explains that when the body is faced with extreme temperatures, the body upgrades its defenses and will give Hemsworth a higher chance of living longer. Throughout the episode, more real life stories and experiences come out showing that putting the body in extreme temperatures can be used as different coping mechanisms. The most intriguing thing about this episode is how Hemsworth is never alone in any of the tasks he did. He always had someone doing it right along with and this really helped him analyze what was happening and what he can do to improve himself. 

To start off, Edgley has Hemsworth jump right into 37 degree water for him to get the feel of what the cold is like and how his body will react. A change from the last episode is that Anikola was never the one to do the task with Hemsworth, but what to notice in this episode is Edgley is right along doing it with him. This shows how much more difficult shock is than stress-proof because it takes more than one person to achieve the goal. After exiting the water, Hemsworth explains that it was the hardest thing he has ever done. He feels that he is outside of his comfort zone more than ever. But even though this is something new, learning how to control his reactions to harsh temperatures like that will impact his health overall in a positive way. 

On day two, Hemsworth was sent out into the water to surf, with three-time champion surfer Mike Fanning. Back in Hemsworth’s hometown of Australia, he had been surfing since he was 10, but surfing in these conditions in the Norwegian Arctic was completely different. He explains that this was a brutal experience because at first, he had a winning sensation going through him but soon, the cold took over and all the strength left his body. 

As day three came around, the task was simple; be cold for as long as possible. Hemsworth was accompanied by his brothers and friends that were on the shock journey with him. This made him think less about the cold and more about the time he was getting to spend with all of them. The overall goal was to keep the muscles strong so they would not get weak and break the body’s resistance. Being exposed to such extreme temperatures made it easier for Hemsworth on day three to become more comfortable with it. As the show progressed, a group from Japan was up to a task to face a waterfall so cold it could cause heart failure. It is interesting to see the different ways people expose themselves to temperatures like that and for different reasons such as, the Japanese would have to stay under the waterfall until their master was satisfied. This relates to what Hemsworth is doing as this is another way individuals are putting their bodies up to new and difficult tasks. 

On the day of the swim, the water temperature was at 36 degrees. Much of Hemsworth’s adrenaline kicked in during the beginning of the swim, where he just wanted to get it over with, but the cold once again took over his body and mind. The most captivating part is how Hemsworth was able to overcome the cold and push himself into positive thoughts and get through the swim despite being completely weak. The swim showed different perspectives of how he was handling the cold and what steps he took to push himself to the end. While it took a lot of concentration for Hemsworth, in the end, he was grateful for getting this opportunity to achieve these goals.