This week in San Antonio, we can expect below freezing temperatures to ring in the New Year. Since many of our athletes are not familiar with training in the cold, I have complied a quick list of tips in order to survive this week as our Heartbreaker and Arnold prep continues:
Sleep at least six hours per night before training.
The need for sleep and recovery varies from athlete to athlete, but sleep deprivation can cause a significant loss in one’s ability to regulate body temperature. As a general rule, if you have slept less than five hours, I advise athletes to stay home and go to bed early (just don’t make missing training a habit). In the cold, we tack on an extra hour to that rule. The extra energy required to maintain your internal body temperature in the below freezing temperatures requires more recovery time. Aim to go to sleep an extra hour more than you normally would this week!
Before you leave your house, make sure you are wearing a base layer, sweatpants, a sweatshirt, an outer layer (coat) and some form of headgear and gloves, even it’s just to run outside and into your car. Once you get to the gym, slowly remove layers as you begin to warm up.
Turn the heat on high in your car.
With all of your layers on, turn up the heat as high as possible in your car. You should be sweating in your layers by the time you get to the gym in order to reduce warm-up time. This is a suggestion that is valid year-round, by the way (I stole it from Sean Waxman).
Drink plenty of room temperature water.
Even though it’s cold outside, it’s important to stay hydrated for training. Though you may not feel the urge to drink as much water as normal, aim to consume as much as you would on a normal training day if not slightly more (though excessive hydration is unnecessary). If room temperature water isn’t your thing, hot tea is great, too.
Plan to warm-up an extra five to ten minutes.
A dynamic warm-up is necessary to raise the internal temperature of your body in freezing cold weather: Think high knees, butt kicks, arms circles, air squats, leg swings, etc. Save the static stretching and mobilizing for after your workout.
Rest should be as limited as possible between your working sets in order to stay warm. Set a timer on you phone or watch (permitted this week for this purpose) and limit your rest to two to three minutes between sets, max.
Bring you space heater, heating pad, and blankets.
If you have a personal space heater, I would highly recommend plugging it in next to your things so you can rest by the heat in between sets. If you normally train in an unheated gym or garage, this is especially important. Even in a “heated” warehouse gym (many which lack insulation) plan to bring a large fleece blanket to wrap yourself in between sets. Bring a heating pad to sit on or keep on your shoulders, knees, hips, etc. warm if you have old injuries. If your feet are cold, place your shoes by the space heater or in your heating pad before you put them on or in between sets. Avoid sitting as much as possible in between sets.
Do not train outside.
Absolutely forget weightlifting outside if the temperature is below freezing. No space heater, heating pad, or fleece blanket is enough to make up for the windchill or icy conditions. Plan to get a weekly pass at a globo gym or a CrossFit gym for the week. Please let your coach know which equipment you have available to you if it is different than the equipment you normally train on.
For TSS Barbell members this week, we will have twelve black fleece blankets folded in the cubbies in the gym as well as two extra large heating pads in case you forget your own. Please fold them back up and place them back in the cubbies when you complete your training.