Winter Exercise – 2014

Jump rope training

In previous years, I have written several articles about exercising in the cold. And whenever I do, my inbox fills with comments from people who question my sanity. For some reason, I am considered crazy for exercising in the snow. Ironically, it must be normal to email strangers about how they stay healthy and fit in the winter. That’s an entirely different issue however, so I will limit this entry to outdoor training.

No Excuses

For starters, I am not suggesting that you must venture outside to exercise. It is entirely possible to train indoors. It doesn’t matter to me where you train. I just want to see more people living healthy and active lives. Therefore, I will continue to highlight the potential of winter training to hopefully silence some of the excuses that are common this time of year.

Exercising in the snow is not nearly as crazy as many people believe. I am regularly reminded of this simple fact whenever I watch my children. During the winter months, my kids can’t wait to get home from school so they can play in the snow. They will literally run up a sledding hill all day long if I let them. It isn’t exercise to them. It’s just what you do if you want to go sledding. You run up with your sled and then race down the hill.

As a kid, I did the same thing. I loved playing in the snow. Unfortunately, it seems like most adults have a change of heart as the years pass. Personally, I’d rather stay a big kid at heart. Just because I’m older doesn’t mean I can’t get outside and enjoy nature. Many of my best workouts take place outdoors. The fresh air is invigorating. So while some people might think I am crazy, I’m probably thinking the same thing about those who stay cooped up inside. I couldn’t imagine missing out on an entire season of outdoor activity.

I’m Not Alone

Fortunately, I’m not the only person who doesn’t mind battling Old Man Winter. Below are a few videos that will counter just about any excuse that you have about outdoor training. Whether you prefer bodyweight exercise, kettlebells, barbells, or a little of each, there’s an example for you.

Here’s one man lifting his kettlebell in the snow. He obviously doesn’t mind the cold.

Here’s another man lifting some serious weight in the snow.

Here’s another example, this time from the arctic lands of Greenland.

And lastly, here I am on a typical winter day.

In summary, if you’d like to exercise in the snow, take comfort knowing that you are not alone. There are plenty of us who also enjoy the fresh air. I am actually looking forward to getting out in the snow today. I wrote this entry in the middle of a winter storm. I will be outside running hills tonight. Hill running in the snow has long been one of my favorite conditioners. The snow cushions each step, while also providing a unique form of resistance. My legs always feel strongest during this time of year.

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“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” – George Washington


  1. I am not a fan of cold weather and do most of my training indoors anyway (Brazilian jiu jitsu and weight training), but I do occasionally like to get out there in the winter for active recovery days when I can just power-walk the trails at the nearby State Park to get some fresh air and natural light. You have inspired me to try to up the intensity a bit this year, especially if we are fortunate enough to build a decent snowpack here in the Philadelphia area. Training in the cold is good for building mental toughness as well, which, after all, is a big reason for training in the first place! I believe it also helps fight off illness; I think it is being cooped up indoors with each others’ germs that makes us sick this time of year. If Ross’s posts aren’t motivational enough, then go watch Rocky IV again! 🙂

  2. Personally, I’ll take the cold over humidity and heat any day of the year.

    I can get warm in the cold. It is impossible for me to stop the downpour of perspiration in the summer.

    Just sayin’.

  3. Hi, great post.
    I train a lot in the winter at very low temperatures outside.
    Normally I wear several slides of clothes to keep my musculature warm. In my opinion it’s less effective to train with so much clothes and I won’t risk training nude like the guy in the video above ;).

    Does anybody have a hint for inexpensive warm training cloth, so that you just need one layer of clothes?
    Thanks in advance

  4. No excuses!

    There’s a guy from the Netherlands called Wim Hof who is nicknamed the ‘Iceman’ due to his ability to withstand the cold. He holds over 20 world records including running a full marathon in temperatures of almost minus 20 degrees Celsius.

    He was featured on a BBC documentary and that is where I first heard of him. He takes training in cold conditions a little further than most people would be comfortable to do.

    Makes Rocky 4 style training seem like a walk in the park.

    “No Pain!”

  5. Love this Blog!I love this blog, and you have inspired me to continue what I’ve started years ago. Loved the last blog in regards to winter training and mentally preparing for training in winter.

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