How to Stay Active in the Winter
I know more than anyone how difficult boxing training in the winter can be: the dry air hurts your chest, your muscles refuse to loosen up, and your skin dries out faster because you sweat less. Not to mention it can be hard to get to the gym, so a lot of training is done from home (a perfect reason to try FightCamp if you haven’t already!). But here’s the good news! I have some tips that will make exercising during winter a much better experience for you. Here are some tricks I use to stay warm, loose, and focused when training in the cold.
Tips For Training Like a Boxer In Winter
Dress For Success
The trick here is to hit a balance: dress too warm and you’ll catch a chill from sweating, dress too cool, and you’ll be a boxing popsicle in no time! A good rule of thumb is to dress for weather about 10-25 degrees warmer than what you actually expect. You’ll be a little cool starting out, but the exercise will get your blood flowing and warm you up in no time.
Bonus Tip: When training at home, keep the heat a little below toasty level so you don’t overheat!
It's always important to warm up before a workout, but it's extra critical in the winter because your muscles will be stiffer than normal due to the cold. It will also be a little harder to get a smooth rhythm starting out, so make sure you take your time with a thorough, full-body warm-up. Here are some great boxing warm-ups you can do at home:
Jab - Cross (1 - 2) punchouts: This exercise consists of shadowboxing and throwing constant jab - cross (1 - 2) punch combos at a steady pace. There shouldn’t be any power or speed on these; the goal is just to loosen the muscles and work the motion into your muscle memory.
Advanced version: Add in a little variation--go body-head, head-body, or do jab - cross - lead uppercut - rear uppercut (1 - 2 - 3 - 4) combos.
Rhythm bounce: For this exercise, move around your space on the balls of your feet in a nice, solid boxing stance. Be sure to do this inside as it’s not safe on concrete--the surface is too hard. This is a great exercise to warm up your legs and allow your shoulders to bounce and roll.
Advanced version: Add in a little pizazz! Include slips, pivots, shoulder rolls--anything you want. Keep your movements smooth and steady though, no need to go full speed.
Okay, this is a little left-field but just hear me out. The cold weather tends to dry out your skin, especially if you live in a super dry area. The skin around your knuckles is thin to begin with. Add boxing punching drills into the mix, and you can quickly get a skin tear. I always moisturize my hands before every workout in winter, and it really does help a ton. This is true, not just for your hands but for your entire body.
The Bandana Hack
I use this “hack” whenever I am working out outdoors or running. Wrap a bandana loosely around your mouth and nose. It will help warm the air you breathe in without restricting your breathing, avoiding that painful feeling in your throat and chest that comes from inhaling a bunch of cold air. I know it sounds like it will be restrictive, and we all know how uncomfortable that can be, especially in this era of COVID and mask-wearing, but wearing a bandana can provide a bit more airflow and also ensure that the air you do breathe is a bit warmer and easier on your lungs.
Adjust Your Pace
You will inherently run out of breath faster in the winter because the cold makes it harder to circulate oxygen efficiently. Make sure to account for this. If you find yourself struggling with a workout you would normally ace, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t be afraid to take a short breather and reset. You may have to adjust your pace a bit or reduce the number of reps in your boxing punch combos.
Have a Change of Clothes Handy
Nothing is worse than having sweaty clothes on a cold day. You always want to keep a change of clothes ready, or at least a spare shirt around so that you can change out of your sweaty clothes quickly after a winter workout to avoid getting a big windchill. Even when you are training at home, it’s good practice to change after a workout.
Staying fit in winter is hard, even for the best fighters in the world, so pace yourself and keep pushing forward! Do you have any winter workout tips to share with your gym mates at FightCamp? Let us know on our Facebook Community!