I love training outside. You get a little fresh air, some Vitamin D, and you’re doing something most people never really bother with when it comes to weight training.
Further, if weight training alone builds mental toughness, training in the heat and cold has got to build it even better, right?
The thing is, it also introduces challenges that have to be accounted for or else you could find it causing you serious problems.
I live in Southwest Georgia, where the heat is high and the humidity is even higher. We routinely have 90+ degree highs in the summer…and spring and fall. Yeah, of those last two, they’re only here in theory most of the time.
Because of that, one has to be very careful and adjust to the weather.
For one thing, I’ve found that I need far more rest on really hot days than I do in a climate controlled gym. The heat saps your energy and it takes longer to build back up, or at least it seems that way.
Additionally, replacing electrolytes is a lot more important. I actually had to cut a set of overhead presses short on Monday because of a muscle spasm in my lower back. While I made up the reps, the cramping was still a problem and that was with an electrolyte drink.
The problem was that I didn’t have enough of it.
Another potential problem is, of course, overheating. As the temperature goes up, your risk of overheating obviously increases. This is especially true when you exert yourself. Frankly, if you’re not exerting yourself, you’re not training.
Keeping your temperature regulated with fluids works for this as well, of course, but it’s still a problem to be considered.
You may also want to keep your bar and any other metal items out of direct sunlight. Down here, the sun can heat these things up to the point that just touching them will burn you. You can’t lift weights if you can’t touch the bar, now can you?
In addition to all this, I also keep a fan outside for use while lifting. It may just move hot air, but it does work a bit to make hot days more bearable.
With cold, I’m pretty fortunate. Yes, we get winters and yes they can feel pretty brutal.
Both weeks of it!
Seriously, we get cold weather, but it’s usually for a short duration. It’s a day or two here, then another day or two there. In between, we tend to have some pretty mild weather.
However, I can tell you from experience that when it is cold, it’s painful to try and train. A kettlebell that you lift regularly might as well be made of ice when your bare hands touch that metal.
When that happens, you run into the same thing as with a hot bar. The difference is, it doesn’t matter where you put the bar. Cold is cold.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried to train with gloves. My plan next time is to use to Mechanix gloves for that purpose, but I honestly don’t know how well they’ll work for this.
Another potential issue comes from any time you spend a lot of time outside and that’s hypothermia. This becomes an even bigger issue when you’re exerting yourself. If you exert yourself, you’re sweating. This is just how your body cools itself and exertion raises your internal temperature just a tad. You sweat, then when you stop, you now have that cooling system working overtime dropping your body temp. This can drop too low.
The best way to work around this to train while dressed in layers and with some means of covering the top of your head. Throwing a hoodie on helps, but depending on the temp, you may need a bit more.
Frankly, do what you gotta do here.
Rain is something that we need, but it does become a pain in the butt when you train outside. I personally train under a shelter, but some people don’t even have that, which means training during a storm is a total no-go.
If you have some way to cover your training area, do it. Not only do you get shade from the heat, a bit of cover from the cold, but you keep the rain off your noggin.
Even so, don’t try and train when it’s dangerous outside. Bump the workout a day if you need to. You’re training, at least in part, for your health, right? Why risk it just to lift when saner people are seeking shelter?
With more mild forms of rain, there can still be some challenges. In the Southwest Georgia heat, I got some special time on Monday when in addition to the 95-degree weather, we had some rain while I lifted. It didn’t last long, either. Just long enough to jack up the humidity.
Enter the fan I keep outside. It helps.
I live in Southwest Georgia. I have no idea what this stuff even really is.
OK, I personally do, but I’ve never tried to train in snowy weather. I imagine the challenges are similar to training in the cold with a bit of the annoyance of rain in the process.
If you have any experience with this, please comment and let me know what it’s like.
The thing is, I’m not really an expert on most of this. I’m just sharing my experience with training outside.
However, it’s also a hell of a lot of fun. I mean, you don’t get a hummingbird flying by when you’re training inside of your commercial gym, now do you? Well, I did earlier today, so that was pretty cool.
Not only that, but if you’re an inside person like me, it helps to spend a little time in the outdoors, even if it’s just in your yard. The Vitamin D and fresh air are one thing, but avoiding cabin fever is another.
Personally, while I’m going to maintain my gym membership, I’m really happy with training outside. If you’ve never done it, give it a try. Who knows? You might like it too!