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Monday, October 4, 2010

Preparing For Fitness Training In The Cooler / Cold Weather

With October upon us, the weather is changing. You have to prepare for the seasonal changes so that your fitness training continues without a hitch. Cold weather doesn't mean that going outside is out of the question. It means that changes have to be made to how you operate in the environment. Here are some simple steps to take to ensure you continue training hard yet safely, regardless of the weather.

Clothing: You can't continue to train in a tank top and shorts when the temp drops and the wind picks up. You need to layer your clothes and cover extremities. The easiest way to determine what you need for any particular day is to stand outside for awhile and assess the environment and weather. It's always better to have too much clothing available and to strip off a layer at a time as needed rather than show up too lightly dressed and then freeze with nothing to put on. This is part of planning. Hat and gloves are crucial. So bust out your cold weather clothes and make layered options to wear to your workouts. Keep in mind the wind chill factor regardless of the temp. Choose the right type of material for cold weather training. Being soaked by sweat and being hot, with too many layers on will cause you to freeze when you take layers off. Moisture wicking material like polypro and outer insulators like fleece work great when used properly. 

Hydration: Many people don't drink as much water in the cooler months as they do in the summer. This can be an issue if your workouts are just as hard. The water is still needed. Continue to maintain your water intake.

Nutrition: This is a year round necessity for continued success. You have to stay on top of your food intake regardless of the weather. Eat a little a lot! Keep your body fueled and your metabolism high. The cold weather causes you to burn more energy by shivering and you still sweat, especially with layers on. Proper nutrition is essential.

Daylight: It gets darker, earlier, in the cooler months so reflective clothing or reflective bands are important for safety. Running in the dark is fine if your smart. Don't assume a driver can see you- make sure they can see you.

Flexibility: You must warm up and stretch in cooler weather. Warmup first and then do active flexibility drills. Never stretch cold. Cooler weather can keep you tight and injuries are common. Don't allow yourself to cool down until it's cool down time - stay moving. Jog in place or do jumping jacks in between sets or rounds to stay warm and limber. Don't forget a good post workout stretch. Stay limber and keep your range of motion and mobility levels high to avoid injury.

These are some simple steps to follow that will allow you to train in cooler / cold weather. The fat loss / muscle building battle continues regardless of the weather. So make a smart plan, be safe and continue to excel.  

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