A lot of athletes have been emailing me about training in the cold. Today in Florida, we have a high of 79 degrees. On Thursday, our high is in the mid 50's and low is 39. Although we don't get snow days here in the south, we certainly get a taste of what it feels like to train in winter temperatures.
In the Dec 2011 issue of Consumer Reports on Health there was a great article titled "Heat up your winter workouts". One thing that has advanced tremendously in the past few years, is the number of reputable companies that offer quality "winter" gear. Just like training in the heat, proper clothing is essential in keeping you comfortable as you exercise or train.
According to the article, January is usually when people in the U.S. exercise the least, according to the 2010 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. But according to the American College of Sports Medicine, you can burn up to 40% more calories while exercising when it's cold.
A few tips in improving your cold weather workout:
**Note, not all tips will be applicable to your specific training routine but rather, for the average individual who is is exercising in the cold
1) Layer up: During exercise, your body uses 20-30% of its energy for movement, with the remaining 70-80% released as heat. To retain that warmth, wear clothes in layers that can be loosened or removed to regulate your temperature. To avoid overheating, dress so that you feel slightly chilly at first. For your innermost layer, choose synthetic underwear made of materials like polypropylene or Thermax, which draw perspiration away from your skin and toward the next layer. For your middle layer, add warmth, not bulk, with merino wool sweaters and lightweight fleece jackets. Turtlenecks are a good choice, since they can lock in heat. Top your layers with a breathable, water-repellent shell. Look for a jacket with a vent flap on the upper back and underarm zippers to help keep your middle layer dry.
2) Shield your extremities
They suffer in cold weather because your body reacts to it by reducing blood flow to the surface of the skin to protect vital organs. To stay keep your head warm: at least 40% of your body's heat loss occurs through the scalp. Minimize this by wearing a wind-resistant cap. If your face gets cold, cover with a fleece or wool scarf or a bandanna. protect ears with earmuffs or a thick headband.
*Note: it is recommended to NOT wear multiple socks when riding your bike in the cold. For proper circulation to the toes, it is recommend to buy a quality pair of shoe covers/booties to keep the wind from hitting the toes.
Dehydration remains a concern. In addition to sweating, your body loses moisture as it humidifies the cold air your inhale.
Here's a recent article I did on staying hydrated in the winter:
Plates Not Pills: Water : LAVA Magazine
Product Review - Winter gear
Louis Garneau SF-2 Base Layer
Wearing a base layer is highly recommended while biking or with any activity when wind and cold has the opportunity to hit your chest or upper body. According to Real Cyclist.com website, this base layer is designed with super-soft Supra Filo 2 material. The SF-2 wicks sweat so you stay cool during hot summer rides and warm during chilly winter rides.
Karel's favorite base layer clothing include:
Louis Garneau SF-2 Base Layer
SF-2 Plastron Base Layer - Long-Sleeve
If anyone knows a thing or two about winter gear, it's
Gretchen Bleiler .
When I was picked to be an Oakley Women Ambassador in June of this year, I had no idea what was in my future. With a campaign encouraging women to perform beautifully, a quality sunglasses line that not only protect your eyes (better than any other sunglasses available) but are comfortable and a must-have to any training, fitness, lifestyle, exercise assemble and a fantastic line of clothing to keep me comfortable and stylish when moving my body, I absolutely love my new Oakley Women family (and all the ambassadors!).
I met Gretchen in Napa and she was so down to earth and easy to talk to. It was neat hearing how she trains for snowboarding and what she enjoys doing in her "off season". She is a true ambassador for the clothing line as she absolutely embraces what it means to perform beautifully.
A wonderful surprise was waiting at my doorstep on Friday and as I continue to search for snow in order to sport my new gear, I must share the following pieces of clothing with you, in an effort to open your eyes to the most comfortable winter gear that I have EVER put on! Oh, and it all looks so cute..especially when it is 80-degrees outside and I am modeling clothes for Campy :)
Oakley Women Gretchen Bleiler collection
GB FUR BEANIE
(MY FAVORITE piece!! From the website:
Tapering out from its empire waist, this flannel shirt has a babydoll-inspired fit. A patch pocket and pleats add personality to the GB FLANNEL. Its polyester pulls moisture to the surface where it evaporates quickly to help keep you dry.)
GB Favorite Shell Pants
GB Layer Sweater
GB CINCH JACKET
Personalized mesh harness
Although this next product is not "winter" focused, I wanted to share Campy's new harness as he loves it MUCH better than his last one.
Seeing that is no fun to run in the heat (even for a dog), Campy is loving his daily walk/runs with the cooler temps. I found Campy's harness at our local pet store (Petmart) but when looking it up online, I came across this personalized harness, which I thought was a great idea! Certainly, if you were crafty enough you could personalize it yourself, but I think that having a name and number (easy to read unlike on a dog collar tag) is a great idea in the case of a dog being lost and a possible rescuer afraid to get close to the dog.