Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Time and The Place Part III: Joys of Wintertime Training!

I've got a nifty farmer's walk variation I started doing a few months ago. I load up my Ironmaster KB with 100 lbs (or more) of weight. I shoulder a sandbag on one side, grab the kettlebell with the opposite hand and march. Obviously, I've got to alternate sides. So, in between walking around awkwardly, I clean and press the sandbag.

There's just one problem. The only place I can do this GPP is outside. I don't have enough ceiling indoors to put the sandbag overhead and my wife won't let me walk around the house with 190 lbs of weight that I have a tendency to violently drop when throughly exhausted.

She's weird.

So, I go outside... In the blowing snow and rapidly dropping temperatures. Welcome to a traditional Northeastern weather. Then again, it's only a problem if you make it a problem. The fact is that I had no choice and I just had to make things work with the environment that I live. It may be bordering inhospitable but there's upsides to this climate. That is, if you're not weird enough look at the upside of the situation.

One thing that became rapidly apparent when I was walking with big weights in snow is that this is noticeably more difficult. Even six inches made things a lot harder. We all know snow makes a great way to increase resistance to training that requires walking. I never thought to do other stuff beyond snow sprints. I'm now intrigued...Dan John's got something here...

Yeah, it's cold now, and that can be uncomfortable. It can also be best fat-burning environment to train in. One discovery that have fat-fighting doctors and scientists abuzz is the somewhat recent discover of brown fat (brown adipose tissue) in adult human bodies. The quick and dirty explanation of brown fat is that it's a form of tissue that stores and burns calories for no other reason than to regulate body temperature. Normal fat (white adipose tissue) simply stores fat. Muscle tissue gives off heat as a bi-product. Brown fat's product is heat. It's arranged near major veins and it's designed to heat up blood going back to the heart, near the base of the neck and around the kidneys.
Science has known for years that babies have considerable deposits of this stuff because they can't move enough to generate their own heat from their muscles. It was always assumed that it goes away as a human ages into adulthood. In reality, the cells stay there. They never replicate and they never change to anything else. Some dim-witted exPURTS want to come up with a way to chemically stimulate brown fat to burn more fat. I guess they're not terribly worried about the effects of hyperthermia on the heart.

Instead, why not just force brown fat to warm up a cooler body by-YOU GUESSED IT-doing some of your training outdoors in the cold? Don't take this opportunity be be a fucking frozen retard . I like to wear enough clothing so that I feel cold as soon as I step outside but I feel warm after a few minutes. Moisture-wicking clothing, as well as stuff to keep the snow out, is important. If I work out with lots of intensity, I won't stay outside much longer than 40 minutes.

One major consideration when working out, or otherwise living, in the cold climates is hydration. It's very easy to dry out because drinking fluids makes you piss every other second. It's still necessary to drink water. I just do small amounts more often. That way, I don't look like I'm trying to mark my territory.

Yeah, winter time isn't the most comfortable time of year. Yes, training indoors is more comfortable but then again when was strength training about being comfortable? Intelligent strength training happens when you work hard and smart. Doing our thing outdoors can fit into that equation, even if the rest of the world thinks we look nuts while doing it in the snow. We just end up being tougher than the rest and as far as I'm concerned, that's what it's all about.

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