While fueling yourself properly is imperative for every workout, it becomes especially important when you exercise in the cold. As our bodies are made up of over 70% water, being in freezing conditions means that your body is going to be less elastic and more stiff. Have you ever put a rubber band in the freezer? Do that and see what happens to the rubber band; that is a simple example of how our body reacts to the cold.
Lucky for you, there are ways to combat the cold and still manage to exercise in it. The easiest way to keep your body warm is to dress properly, but we are here to talk about your body and how you can be more efficient with it. Food provides your body with a direct way to generate heat. That being said, if you ever feel like you are hungrier in the winter than you are in the warmer months, you are probably right! Because your body knows that food can fuel that fire inside of you and make you warmer, you might find yourself wanting more food when it is cold outside.
If you are exercising in cold weather, it is especially important to feed yourself before heading out for a workout. Your body generates about ten percent more heat if you eat 30-60 minutes prior to your workout than if you did not eat anything. So, by eating, you are able to provide your body with fuel to do the workout and provide your body with a way to heat itself! Not all foods are great for pre-workout meals. If you want to be efficient, you should look into fuels that burn quickly and easily that also provide energy for longer time periods. Here is where our friends fats, protein or carbohydrates come into play.
In the morning, you might want to try out oatmeal. You do not have to eat much oatmeal in order to have a full meal. Oatmeal is full of carbohydrates and to make things even better, they are the type of carbohydrate that will provide you with instant energy that will also last a long time. Also, oatmeal acts like a comfort food, so you might even get a mental boost from eating it. You should try putting toppings into your oatmeal, like honey. Honey is great because it can help provide an instant burst of energy that is easily digestible and delicious. Another carbohydrate that would be good to add to your morning routine is whole wheat bread. Whole wheat bread has nutrients, protein, and carbohydrates. Remember how we were talking about your body becoming a frozen rubber band? You can prevent that by eating bananas (and staying warm). Bananas have potassium and carbohydrates in them. They are also easy to carry around.
Working out in the winter requires extra precaution. While you might have been able to get away with skipping breakfast before your workout during the warmer months, I think that you will find that eating breakfast before entering a cold environment will be necessary. Plus, you want to get the best workout that you can, so you might as well fuel up your body with the right “stuff” before you get hurt!