Many factors contribute to your health and fitness. That’s why you are careful about what you eat and make daily wellness a priority. It’s why you’re making a constant effort to develop and enhance your lean body. And it’s why you always use the best supplements for muscle gain.
But there are other factors. These are the variables you can’t control. Like the weather.
Can the weather really have an effect on your workout? Is it better to work out in hot or cold conditions? And why?
There’s one very good reason why you may want to train in hot or cold conditions: your goals demand it. Consider two examples:
A runner is preparing for a December marathon. She knows that the weather is going to be chilly (at best) on the day of the marathon. So she makes an effort to get outside even on frigid days for her runs. Sometimes she wishes she was inside the gym on the treadmill. But her goal demands that she get accustomed to running in the low temps.
An amateur hockey player is getting ready for the winter season. He wants to do his best and he needs to feel comfortable out on the ice. So he doesn’t shy away from working on in the cold. In fact, he embraces it. He knows he needs to be nimble and agile even when the mercury dips way below freezing.
Are you aiming to lose weight? In that case, you’re trying to identify the best methods for burning fat and shedding those excess pounds. You should be using a fat burner pill and drinking green tea for weight loss everyday. Both will boost your metabolism and give you energy for your workouts.
But how is the weather affecting your weight loss goals?
A 2014 study found that “exposure to cold temperatures can convert white fat tissue from the thighs and belly to beige fat that burns calories for heat, but this biological response is hampered in obese people…”
What does that mean? Beige fat?
Brown fat is a specific type of fat tissue. Your body uses it to generate heat in cold conditions. Beige fat is white fat that has taken on certain properties typical of brown fat.
It tends to do this when the body is exposed to cold temperatures and demands warmth. But because the process is hampered in obese individuals, this benefit is only helpful if you’re trying to burn off those few last pounds.
Many endurance athletes - like runners and cyclists - know that the mental game is half the battle. Sometimes more than half.
When you work out in any extreme temperature - heat or cold - you develop mental toughness. Michael Joyner, an endurance athlete and an expert in human performance at the Mayo Clinic, told Men’s Fitness about this effect. He said, “Any time people can do things to harden themselves mentally, or give themselves confidence, that can definitely be a competitive edge.”
Need the mental boost to reach the next level in your training? Don’t shy away from a run on a hot day or a workout in frigid conditions. That may be just what you need to up your game.
Yes, the weather can definitely affect your workout and your performance. Don’t expect to have the best results on a hot, sweaty day. Or to do your best when you can’t stop shivering.
But don’t fear the weather either. It can help you develop mental toughness - an invaluable skill for all athletes.
Keep up your fitness efforts - whether it’s during the icy cold winter or the sultry summer. Don’t slack on your diet either.