5 Tips to Get In Your Cold Weather Workout

11/25/2013

Think that you want to blow off exercise until the New Year? You may want to think again.

A new type of fat, called brown fat, has been discovered to be the primary fuel used during cold-weather workouts. This means that when you brave the cold to get your exercise in, you’re burning the right kind of fat.

Read on to learn 5 tips that will get you in shape, or keep you in shape, this cold weather season.

Tip #1: You Finally Have an Excuse to Spend. iStock/Thinkstock

The best way to get yourself to the gym or running outside is to get the proper gear (and hey, it’s allowed to be cute, too!) to bring you there.

And lucky for you, cold weather workouts require a different set of gear. It may seem like an obvious tip but you’d be surprised how much your workout gear can help or hinder your exercise.

During exercise, your body loses heat especially around your head. As a rule of thumb whenever the temperature is below 45 degrees you have to adjust your fitness wear (such as adding a hat, like this one here).

At low temperatures, you run the risk of muscle cramping, frostbite, or falls due to variables such as black ice and snow. Remember that it is best to layer your clothes so that if you do get hot you can shed a layer at a time.

For cold weather running/outdoor gear, try checking out the Under Armor website (or look to Amazon for discounts) and be sure to accessorize your workout for extra warmth and protection!

iStock/Thinkstock
Tip #2: Update your playlist.

Beats per minute are not just for group exercise instructors. If you’re still running to the same tunes it is time to change things up. Pick a group of songs with a faster tempo and you’ll increase your exercise intensity or effort. Anytime you change intensity, your body will respond accordingly.

Make it a habit to rotate your playlist, keeping your music (and your workout) fresh and your body challenged.

I like to frequent different runners forums or check Spotify to check out which songs others are listening to to boost their workout mojo.

For some classic ideas, see here.

Tip #3: Choose a better morning brew. iStock/Thinkstock

Your morning coffee can help or hinder your efforts. For example drinking a sugary Frappuccino before your run isn’t a good idea. Studies confirm that caffeine can speed up metabolism but adding extra sugars can sabotage your results. If coffee doesn’t move you, try a metabolism boosting beverage like Dr. Oz’s recommendation of two packets to one cup of green tea. I recommend another cup of tea afterwards to increase antioxidant benefits and help your body recover faster.

Not a tea drinker? Take your coffee black and forgo the extra calories and sugar that may weigh you down on your run.

Tip#4: Get the At-Home DVD

Don’t like tips 1 through 3? Try getting a new workout DVD and put it to the test in the comfort of your own home.

Be wary, though, it’ll be tempting to quit with your couch and shower so close by, but force yourself to get back into a routine (like the one you might’ve had during bikini season) and make a deal with yourself. Tell yourself: ‘I will wake up early every morning for a month and use this DVD and if, and only if, I’m still not seeing results, I can think about an alternative.’

The importance of movement (as it relates to simple inertia) cannot be emphasized enough. In the colder months it will be tempting to stay on the couch but I promise you, the more and more you give in, the harder it will be to change the cycle!

For motivation, check out this list of the 10 Best Fitness DVDs.

Tip #5: Hit the Gym

If you’re already a member of a gym, or if there is one that you’ve been meaning to try – now’s the time to sign up!

Check out all the gyms in your neighborhood and ask about the free or discounted trial period. Most gyms offer a special deal for new members, during the New Year, or for friends of existing members.

Remember people, where there’s a will there’s a way. Be sure to tell yourself this the next time you’re thinking about skipping out on your cold weather workout!

To learn about the benefits of changing your workout when it gets cold, see here.


As a 4-time mom, I understand the many demands and challenges that come with raising a family and trying to get or stay fit. I've developed programs for pre-conception, pregnancy and post-pregnancy as well as preparing for and recovering from challenges like medical procedures.
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