working out in the COLD

Since my gym is in a big, drafty shop, winter means working out in the cold. While getting myself out there first thing in the morning can be rough, I get a lot of benefits out of living this way. Obviously, there are the benefits of the work out itself. On a psychic level, there's also the communion with nature, experiencing the cycles of the seasons, living in the elements. My office job lifestyle would keep me indoors all the time if I let it, so this keeps me in touch with reality. I know exactly how cold, foggy, rainy, or clear, sunny, and warm it is, because I'm part of it. On the character front, it hones my discipline and ability to generate my own motivation. It keeps me tough, and just cocky enough to get through the day.

It has forced me to modify my work out, and I present the following work out and tips for dressing. My holiday gift to you.

This regimen is a grab of exercises that work together nicely for a fast, full-body work out that gets the body warmed up quickly (both athletically and literally), keeps you off of cold equipment, puts you through aerobic and anaerobic paces, generally minimizes risk of injury (for me, vs. not warming up and moving big weights), and is a satisfying start-up for the day. It also doesn't involve running.

The Work Out

  • Dumbbell swings
  • Heavybag work
  • Light squats
  • Static lunge stance-lateral dumbbell raises
  • Band lateral raises
  • Dumbbell one-arm snatches
  • Pull-ups
  • Step-ups w/dumbbells
  • Lateral step-overs
  • Snatch with hardly any weight
  • If time and body allow, clean & jerks
Insert bagwork intermittently; it's a perfect balancer for everything else.

Getting Dressed
  • Layer (duh)
  • Use silk and synthetics. Leave the cotton.
  • A down vest makes a great outermost layer, since it leaves arms free and is easily shed
  • layer head coverings (oh yeah, you'll look GREAT). Start with a bandanna or Buff, then follow textile guidelines above - a heavy, woven silk hat is great; fleece always works, too.
  • Gloves - Right now I use worn leather work gloves. The palms are slippery, which forces my grip to develop on pull-ups. But I am going to look into more high-tech alternatives, because I still need to be bare-handed on the Olympic bar (suggestions welcome).

That's all it takes. The biggest part is getting your butt out there. I'm always reminded of Jack La Lanne saying "It isn't easy. You have to leave a warm bed and a hot woman for a cold gym." (er - modify as necessary :-D )

photo from museum of the gulf coast


ohio fall