Best Winter Workouts for Men
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You may love winter during the holidays, but you might find the rest of the season can be an inconvenience. Especially if you are a man whose normal workout routine has suddenly been put on hold. Because of the low temperatures, many outdoor activities you used to do during warmer times of the year become difficult to continue. After all, no one wants to be shivering in the chilly air or be wearing damp clothes after trudging through the snow. However, that does not mean you should just lay around and wait for spring to come back.
You can still make the most of your winter by having your workout indoors. Safe from the harsh weather outside and kept warm inside the structure of your home, you can work up a sweat without freezing to death. But if you are going stir crazy and cannot stand being cooped up all the time, it is possible to do your exercises outdoors. You will need to prepare the appropriate clothing and know the best exercises to keep your body heat high. Regardless of where you prefer to have your winter workout, there are plenty of options available that will ensure you keep yourself busy.
If you are a man interested in a winter workout, this article is intended to inform you of the precautions you need to take. You will learn how to dress in winter and the kind of diet you should follow in anticipation of the cold weather. Following this, you will be given dossiers about workout routines and exercises that would be possible to do during the winter. Finally, you will get to see a collection of winter workout attire that may help keep you warm yet comfortable while you are exerting yourself.
Preparation & Safety:
If you plan to take your winter workout outside, there are tips to remember if you want to prevent any potential risks to your health. Regarding what you should wear for your winter outfit, make sure they are made of materials that prevent moisture from being absorbed. To help keep most of your body heat inside, it is recommended you wear several layers of clothing. Each layer serves a different purpose. The base layer should make sure you stay dry, the middle layer helps trap body heat by keeping your body insulated, and the outer layer is waterproof to help ward off moisture and cold air. Due to the frequency of cloudy days and snowfall during the winter, make sure that each layer of clothing is made of bright colors to help make it easier for other people to see you. While it is best to keep your body temperature up, do not wear too much dense clothing. If you start sweating profusely, the sweat that evaporates will cause your body to start cooling down to the point your layers become useless. Further details about the specific types of workout attire you should wear will be covered later.
Besides your upper and lower torsos, you should make it a point to cover up your extremities. In cold weather, your bodily functions are focused on circulating blood to your main body. That means very little heat is being shared with your fingers, ears, nose, and toes. You should always put on winter gloves, socks, a scarf, and a hat to serve as barriers against any moisture or cold winds.
While your heavy clothing covers the surface of most of your skin, some exposed areas are still vulnerable to the elements such as your face. During the winter, the air becomes very arid which causes the moisture on your skin to dry up. Dry skin can cause it to become inflamed or itchy. The winter air can also dry up the inside of your nostrils which can cause nosebleeds if irritated. To mitigate this, it is suggested that your scarf cover your lower face to keep the moisture trapped in your nose and mouth.
If you stay out in the cold for an extended time, you run a risk of getting frostbite or hypothermia. Early signs that you are coming down with frostbite include numbness, loss of feeling, or a stinging feeling in your fingers, ears, nose, or cheeks. If you have one of or a combination of these conditions, immediately find a warm place for shelter. Try to warm yourself to get some feeling back, but do not rub vigorously as it could injure the affected areas. Signs you are coming down with hypothermia include intense shivering, slurred speech, lack of coordination, and fatigue. A symptom of hypothermia is that your body heat will continue falling at an alarming rate. For both cases, it is usually best to go to a hospital right away if the signs seem to persist.
Diet & Lifestyle:
If you plan to be active outside during the winter, you need to take into account your eating habits. You should never go out to do exercises if you have not had a proper meal yet. Besides providing the energy you need to do your exercises, consuming the right amount of food will help with blood circulation, generate and make up for lost body heat, and give your muscles the strength needed during exertion. You should eat food that is high in carbohydrates at least 4 to 6 hours before your workout. Make sure to eat another meal with a small blend of carbohydrates and protein at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before your workout. You should also make sure to carry light snacks and a container with warm or hot liquids with you. Make it a habit to eat a snack that has 100 to 200 calories every 30 to 45 minutes to help replenish your energy. Even in cold weather, you can still get dehydrated due to sweating or moisture being deprived due to the arid winter air. It is best to have your drink warmed up beforehand since it will help maintain your body heat and prevent it from cooling down too quickly. At the end of every workout, fill yourself up with a warm meal and drink such as soup and hot chocolate. This not only aids in muscle recovery and helps you rest after completing your exercises. This is also a way to reward yourself for making progress at your winter workout.
Workout Program #1:
This workout program is a weekly commitment that should keep your body physically engaged throughout the winter. Its purpose is to help build up muscle mass and burn excess body fat by getting rid of calories. While your entire body is being put to work, attention is mainly given centered on the lower torso. Each workday has you exercising a different muscle group in your body along with cardio exercises. While there is an extra day focused on your legs unlike the other muscle groups, each leg day works on the flexibility of the joints in only one of the following areas: hips or knees. Each week, 6 workdays follow one after the other with the final day being reserved for rest. Rests in between exercises can range from 30 seconds to 3 minutes depending on the difficulty of the sets, reps, and pace.
Workout Program #2:
This workout program is a 4-week plan which follows the same schedule for the entire duration. It is best to start this plan during the last weeks of winter as this is meant to prepare for your transition into spring. Its purpose is to build up muscle mass during the winter so that your body can better handle getting rid of excess body fat later in the spring. While your entire body is being put to work, emphasis is placed on strengthening your chest, back, and legs. All of the major muscle groups will be worked on for two days each. Each week, 6 workdays follow one after the other with the final day being reserved for rest. Rest in between exercises will be 1 minute to 1 minute and 30 seconds long to encourage muscle recovery in between exercises.
Workout Program #3:
This workout program is a 4-week plan which follows the same schedule for the entire duration. You will work on your back, chest, legs, arms, and shoulders. The plan is split up into two sections, both of them made up of 2-week intervals. The first section focuses on building up strength in your muscles. The second section focuses on solidifying the new muscles you gain. The first section will be easier since you only have to complete exercises between 6 to 8 reps per round. However, the difficulty ramps up in the second section as you have to complete exercises between 10 to 12 reps per round. During the second section, muscle fatigue should become more apparent at the end of your sessions. Each workday focuses on a different muscle group in your body. Each week there are 4 workdays with 3 rest days arranged however you choose. The example below is to give you an idea of how you could separate your work and rest days. This workout program is more liberal regarding how long your rests in between exercises are, but it is suggested you rest frequently to ensure the repair of your muscles.
Sit on a bench with your legs extended in front of you and your heels supporting your lower torso. Your palms should be flat against the surface of the bench on either side of your hips. Shift forward until your bottom is hanging in the arm, held up by your arms and legs. Try to keep your back as straight as possible. The heels of your hands should be resting at the edge of the bench. Using your elbows, straighten and bend them to lift and lower your body as you keep your bottom from touching the ground.
Stand in front of a bench while facing away from it. Take one of your legs and stretch it behind you until your toes are resting on the edge of the bench. Aside from the leg stretching behind you, the rest of your body should be standing straight. Using your supporting leg, slowly bend down into a squatting position. Your other leg should bend as well with the knee coming close to yet staying above the ground. Rise back up until you are standing straight again. Remember to alternate between legs as you repeat the process.
Lie flat on your back with your legs fully extended and your arms resting at the sides. Your palms should be flat and braced against the ground. Lift your legs off the ground. Alternating your legs, slowly wave your legs up and down while keeping them fully extended. When they descend, make sure that they stay off the ground. Try to keep mimicking a flutter motion and keep your legs elevated for as long as possible.
Incline Tate Press:
Lie flat on your back on an inverted bench while holding two dumbbells. Extend your arms fully above your chest. Bend your elbows inward at the same time so that both dumbbells turn and the flat sides come to rest on your pectorals. Straighten your arms so that the dumbbells return to their original position. Repeat the process.
Incline Dumbbell Curl:
Lie flat on your back on an inverted bench while holding two dumbbells. Have your arms hanging off on the sides and the inside of your hands facing upward. Slowly bend both elbows simultaneously so you bring your dumbbells up towards you. You complete the curl when your forearms and biceps are pressed against each other. Slowly bring the dumbbells back down so you do not accidentally pull a muscle or drop them on the ground.
Stand in front of a bench so that you are facing it. Bend down and place your palms flat against the surface of the bench while your arms are spread apart at shoulder-width. Shuffle your feet backward until your legs are fully extended and your body is in an elevated plank position. Only your toes need to touching the ground. Bend your elbows while lowering your upper torso towards the bench. Get as low as possible without touching the bench. Straighten your arms fully as you return to the elevated plank position. Repeat the process.
One-Arm Farmer’s Walk:
Hold a dumbbell in either one or both hands while you are standing straight with both arms resting at the sides. Keep your back straight and flex your arms and shoulders while lifting. Walk forward as many steps as you want while holding the dumbbell(s).
Chest-Supported Reverse Fly:
Lie flat on your stomach on an inverted bench while holding two dumbbells. Your arms should be hanging in a way that the dumbbells are right below your face yet staying off the ground. Fully extend your arms out towards the sides so that your body mimics a hanging T-pose. Slowly bring the dumbbells back down so you do not accidentally pull a muscle or drop them on the ground.
Lie flat on your stomach with your arms stretched above your head and your legs fully extended. Simultaneously lift your upper and lower torsos off the ground. You should be mimicking Superman’s flying pose. Balance yourself on your abs and hips while keeping the elevated parts of your body off the ground as long as possible. Bring both torsos back down to rest simultaneously. Repeat the process.
The exercises listed above are only suggestions for how you may want to challenge yourself during the winter. If you do not want to use a bench outside or do not have access to weights, check out this article for exercises that can be done without gym equipment.
Winter Workout Clothes:
- Viscose: Best suited for indoor exercises at home or the gym, this version is made of light and soft materials to allow comfort during exertion. It is also stretchable to help contour around various body types and durable so that they do not tear.
- Momentum: Made of insulated cotton, this version is ideal for fall and winter weather. Despite being a skintight shirt, it is flexible enough that your upper torso has full freedom of movement.
- Compression: Designed solely for workouts, this version is made of elastic materials that ensure your upper torso has full freedom of movement and improves blood circulation.
Hoodies & Sweatshirts:
- Viscose: Best suited as a base layer, this version has good breathability to allow airflow throughout your upper torso. It is also made of soft materials to promote comfort and stretchable so that it can fit different body types.
- Momentum: Made of insulated cotton, this version helps keep in body heat while you are outside in the cold. It is also highly functional due to having pockets with zippers to secure your snacks, electronics, etc.
- Viscose: Optimal as both workout clothes and casual wear, it has a range of utilities available. It has both zippered and open side pockets on the sides and back to keep your belongings secure without getting in the way of your exercises. It also has a hook to clip on any containers with a carabiner.
- Momentum: Made of insulated cotton, this version tightly wraps around your legs to help keep them warm. The hems of the legs wrap around your ankles to prevent cold air from entering and body heat from escaping.
- Compression: Fitted with an elastic waistband, this version is skintight which shows off the bulk of your leg muscles. They can hold small objects thanks to the open side pockets. It is suggested these be worn indoors since the thin materials offer little protection from moisture and wind.
Long-sleeve compression tops are similar in function to the compression version of long-sleeve shirts. The elastic materials help to stretch and fit around different body types. They also allow flexibility when moving your limbs so that you have a full range of motion.
Long-legged compression bottoms are similar in function to the compression version of jogger’s pants. The elastic waistband helps keep them secure around your waist. Being designed as skintight helps promote blood circulation and aids in muscle recovery after finishing workouts.
Trying to stay in shape is already a daunting task due to the overwhelming number of intense exercises you are expected to complete during a workout program. But the coming of winter piles on additional obstacles that make it even more difficult to finish a workout.
If you frequently visit a gym year-round, you may think your workout routine will be largely unaffected. After all, how can winter affect you if you stay inside where the worst of the weather cannot reach you? However, you may have to drop the exercises you usually practice in favor of ones that increase your body heat and balance the ratio of muscle and fat. After all, it is ridiculous to think you can avoid the freezing temperatures forever. It is best to prepare your body to endure the biting cold even if you are dead set on avoiding going out during the winter unless you absolutely have to.
If you choose to brave the frigid outdoors, it means willingly putting yourself at risk to the dangers of winter. You have to be absolutely sure of several factors before you even step out the door. Map out in your head the exercises you are going to do and for how long to ensure your body temperature remains warm for as long as you are outside. Make sure you have the right clothing to keep heat from escaping and keep cold from getting in. Make sure your body is surging with energy from the healthy yet hot food that you include in your diet. Forget any of these aspects in your workout and you endanger the state of your health.
While approaching a workout in the winter can be frustrating and scary at times, do not let it damper your spirits. You should be able to exercise at any time in the year. You should be able to achieve a masculine figure whenever you want. It just takes the perseverance to push the physical limits of your body to overcome the hurdles that winter puts in your way.