Tips for Winter Training Survival

Make training during the winter easier with these 6 tips and pointers

Training isn’t easy during the winter. There are many factors (the ones that go beyond adding holiday pounds from family dinners) that can stymie a lifter’s progress. Here are some tips and pointers that can help you survive the tribulations of winter training

Tip 1: If you’re gonna bulk, make it intense
That sounds like it goes without saying. But you have to remember that the best way to encourage blood flow, sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, and a super pump is to limit rest interval and focus on complete muscle exhaustion. That’s going to come from high lactate training methods that don’t involve much rest time. Training methods like ladder set training, 8x8 training, and German Volume training are just what the doctor ordered for low rest, high lactate methods

As a bonus, the lactate production can help with elevating your testosterone, and also be responsible for burning plenty of fat. The take home point is to work lots, and rest a little

Tip 2: Running outside? Change your cardio to long runs

The last thing you want to do is head out into the cold and go sprinting or pushing the prowler with an insufficient warmup. When temperatures drop, it takes that much longer for working muscles to heat up, and for the joints to release fluid for lubrication. It’s best to play it safe and take things slow and steady. Go old school and structure your workouts with cardio runs on off days, and treadmill incline walks following your workouts themselves

Tip 3: Train the squat MORE than once per week

Not only will this help with additional weekly calorie burn, but it’ll also make you both bigger, and stronger. Period. You can train the squat pattern twice weekly by doing 2 full leg workouts per week, or you can make more of a strength focus by squatting heavy for less volume each day. Lately, I’ve personally been employing a daily max squat to my routine

Tip 4: Beware of Seasonal Affective Disorder

It sounds crazy, but weather can affect our mood and our motivation to do things like be active, train, and play sports. It may be common to see someone feel lethargic on a cold or rainy day, but sometimes this can be taken to the next level. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, some people are vulnerable to a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. For them, the shortening days of late autumn are the beginning of a type of clinical depression that can last until spring. This condition is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. If you notice a trend from season to season that’s more than noteworthy, it may be something that goes beyond shaking it off and toughing it out. Talk to your doctor to determine if you need treatment or medication

Tip 5: Carb up and Drink up

Logic would tell us that it would take longer than normal to warm up the body during cold weather. That means warm up routines would be more elaborate, and the body will be using up its glycogen stores earlier in your workout – even if you’re in the gym and not outdoors, the cold state the body will likely be in when you’re on your way to the gym is something that can really cause the muscles to cool off. With that said, we need to make sure our glycogen stores are completely topped up before hitting the iron or track. Have plenty of carbs before a tough workout

Cold weather can also have an effect on our thirst; it may not be as evident that we need to drink and are dehydrated, because, though we may be sweating, the temperature isn’t sweltering. Be cognizant of this and make it a point to keep yourself hydrated during your session. As a general rule, try having 250ml of water (1 cup) every 15 minutes of your workout

Tip 6: Take up an Indoor Sport

Join a men’s league for basketball or volleyball, or get into a squash club. The added activity, calorie burn and cardio training will help to keep you conditioned and athletic during the winter season. Plus it’ll serve as a great interim to your weight training workouts, which could begin to feel redundant when there are few other options for exercise. Plus, you get to sharpen up your game
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What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
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