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Working out in the winter can be a bummer for most people. And no matter how dedicated we are, we’ve all used cold weather as an excuse to skip out on sweating and slide back into being sedentary.
But embracing the chill and taking your workout outside can be an invigorating and stimulating experience—and in the coldest months, it can even reignite your love of exercising.
So we asked Don Saladino, trainer and owner of Drive 495 and 443 in New York City, for his tips to heat up winter workouts. To have fun working out in the cold, says Saladino, you want a complete workout, as it gives you a lot of balance.
But before you start getting sweaty, you need to gear up properly. Saladino likes performance layers of synthetic fabrics or wool better than going with thick cotton sweats, because synthetic and wool will wick moisture while still keeping you warm. (Cotton, on the other hand, soaks through, which can put you at risk for hypothermia.) Snythetics also typically have a slimmer profile that won’t restrict your movements.
Wear thinner, long-sleeved shirts and tights under thicker mid-layers, topped off with a heavier outer layer that you can shed once you get warmed up. Also consider putting on a thin hat made of synthetic material or one made from new and improved merino wool, and some gloves also made of the same stuff to keep your hands protected. And remember: If you’re outside in low-visibility scenarios (whether at night or in bad weather), make sure you’re wearing bright and/or reflective clothing.
This is a really simple workout with minimal equipment that hits the entire body. Kettlebell swings hit the posterior chain severely and the pushup works the entire body when using tension—treat the pushup like a plank by squeeze your glutes as hard as possible. The hang is like a “strength stretch” because it works on grip strength—the stronger the grip, the stronger the forearms, the stronger the shoulders. Sprinting is another total-body workout that’ll get you huffing and puffing. Finish strong with the plank, again focusing on the glutes and activating the core.
First, you need to warm up—and this is non-negotiable. “Set a timer for 10 minutes and do some dynamic warmups: skipping, hopping, moving side-to-side, and neck rotations,” says Saladino. “Just get every joint in the body to move. You don’t have to be so rigid in structure, but do stretches that you know, and just start getting that body temperature up.”
Once you’re ready to begin, get ready to move on to the workout. You’ll do this as a circuit: Perform each exercise in sequence, resting for one or two minutes once you’ve completed all the exercises. That’s one round. Do as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes.