With the help of “Iceman” Wim Hof, Overeem still fights Hari. at age 42


NOS Sports

It must have been an odd sight for locals or casual passersby. On a cold August afternoon, about twenty martial artists lay on their backs on artificial grass in a park somewhere in Amersfoort.

They do exercises, holding their breath for as long as possible. Then they walk into one of the freezers filled with ice water in the corner of the garden.

The garden belongs to Alistair Overeem, the 42-year-old martial arts veteran who will face Badr Hari on Saturday night at Gilridome. The 112-kilogram heavyweight swears by Wim Hof, the bearded “snowman” who climbed Mount Everest in shorts.

Instagram / Alisterovirim

Overeem with “Iceman” Wim Hof, who affected his life quite a bit

Overeem actually met Hof in 2015, but was completely captivated by his year-long cold therapy. He does Hof’s breathing exercises every day, then steps into the icy waters and checks if he has done the exercises correctly. According to Hof, the body can do a lot with proper breathing.

Verhoeven from the throne

Overeem has a long career in martial arts behind him. He fought in Japan at K-1 and lived for ten years in the United States, where he was one of the most prominent UFC fighters. At the end of his career, he hopes to remove Rico Verhoeven from the throne of glory.

If Overeem beats Hari on Saturday, that’s usually a prelude to a world title fight with Verhoeven in the spring.

There is no doubt about the kickboxer overframe: Badr wins, then Rico

“I’ve had, I believe, twenty different dietitians. I learned a lot from them all and am now a dietitian.” He just knows how to maintain his 112 kg body of muscle.

Almost every day at 4 a.m.

Overeem eats six large meals a day and often eats a large steak in the morning. “Besides meat, I eat nuts, vegetables, and fruits. And I drink water or juice.” Some products you’ll never find in his fridge. “There are no E numbers, fast carbs or sugar.”

The fact that Overeem is still at the top at his esteemed age is due to his iron discipline. He has a consistent daily routine. “I often get up at 4 am. Then I meditate and do yoga to prepare my body for the day.”

Later in the day, follow carefully planned meals, strength training, and combat. Thus, Overeem has added Hof’s breathing exercises to his daily routine for a year now.

Harry is ready to fight with Overeem: ‘It will be a good fight’

“Nutrition is critical to getting everything out of your body, but oxygen is the most important molecule we need. And that always remains at risk. Almost nobody talks about lungs,” says Kickboxer.

“Wim is a pioneer in the field with his cold therapy,” Overeem says excitedly. “He’s mentally strong and he’s shown magical things.” This man made an impact on my life.

Private Breathing Trainer

Van der Ploeg was suffering from a disease for which no treatment could be found in various hospitals. However, he did not accept it and tried Hoff’s unconventional method. He has fully recovered and is now back in kickboxing by himself.


Alistair Overeem in the freezer in his garden. Respiratory coach van der Ploeg sits on the edge of the box.

Van der Ploeg leads breathing training at Overeem Park. And he traveled with Overeem, for example to a five-week training camp in Thailand.

Or to Croatia, where Overeem recently met Bodimir Buda Sobat. The Croatian has been in the Guinness Book of Records since last year, after holding his breath underwater for more than 24 minutes.

Such encounters inspire Overeem. “I am someone who always pushes boundaries, in sports and in life.”

Instagram / budimirbudasobat

Overeem visits Croatian Budimir Sobat, listed in the Guinness Book of Records: staying underwater for 24 minutes without breathing.

He is now striving that far through breathing techniques. Overeem could hold his breath for five minutes while he was in ice baths with a temperature around freezing. “If you breathe well and deeply, you can take in anything: cold, heat, pressure,” Overeem explains.

“Today we all get stressed. Then your body isn’t working optimally. It’s important to be able to stop that and do it through your lungs. Then a cold shower is the test: are your lungs working well?”


Shortly before entering the ring on Saturday night to face Harry, Overeem will do his breathing exercises again. The 42-year-old kickboxer feels optimally prepared for the fight.

“Really, I feel a lot stronger now than I did ten years ago. And I’m going to show that at Gelredome”

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