Exercising During a Brutal Winter

 In Blog

Yes, it’s cold outside. And yes, it totally sucks. But don’t let that freezing weather stop you from getting a good workout in. Here’s how.

I’m sitting on the couch writing out this blog post and it’s minus 4 degrees out. Now, I grew up in Michigan, and I use to spend my winter outside playing endless hours of pond hockey. But I just can’t stand being outside right now. Maybe I can’t tolerate the cold as I age, but  my poor greyhound is trying to bury himself in-between a bunch of pillows on the couch while I type this. If the mammal covered head to toe in fu can’t stand this weather, then I don’t have a chance.

Amidst all this complaining about the bitter cold, I still can manage to get my workouts in. And so can you.

No, I’m not advocating running outside in this. Too many wacky things happen with your blood vessels and heart’s ability to effectively pump blood when it’s this cold out. There’s also that whole ice thing to worry about. You may be having a great run until you wipe out on some black ice.

So we don’t have to rely solely on distance running. If you want to try and get fit while it’s snowing outside, there are plenty of things you can do indoors to lose some body fat while staying warm. No treadmills needed.

Short Rest Periods – If you have any home exercise equipment, like kettlebells or medicine balls, you can perform some met-con sessions to help burn some fat. Simply perform a movement, like a kettlebell swing or a medicine slam, and pair it with short rest periods. For example, maybe you do 15 kettlebell swings with 30 seconds of rest in-between sets. Short rest periods have been shown to promote growth hormone, something that can help build some muscle and burn fat.

Deck of Cards– Have a deck of cards handy? Then try this workout:

Modified Tumbling– Want a simple workout that will humble you? Try this:

Lay down on your back.

Get up as fast – and as safely – as you can

Lay back down. Repeat the process for 5 minutes non-stop.

It will be surprisingly difficulty, especially because your heart will be affected by gravity (the laying down and getting up). Gymnasts perform tumbling routines; I call this modified tumbling since I can’t do a backflip and my athletic ability is limited to getting up off the floor.

Stairs/Shuttle Runs – Short bursts of activity, like sprinting, are great for producing fat burning hormones. But it’s tough to hit the local track when there’s 15 inches of snow outside. Instead, you can use a flight of stairs in your house to sprint up, or if you have the room in your house, perform shuttle runs (a distance of 5 to 10 meters in which you run back and forth several times). Just make sure that area is safe and clear of obstacles. Basements work well here.

In the book Daniels Running Formula, legendary running coach Jack Daniel’s talks about how he coached a guy to run for a marathon while the client was in prison. This consisted of the athlete running in place…in his cell. Of course, going to jail is a bit extreme, but it shows that you don’t have to let a little bit of snow stop you from training hard. Have at it and stay focused.

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