Thursday, November 1, 2012

Prescription for a happy fall workout

Following is a little write-up we have put together Andrea Lustenberger and myself for the Helios Wednesday night circuit training. I thought this may be useful to share!

Prescription for a happy fall workout

You hear a lot of people say that this time of the year is depressing because it’s grey and raining.  Yes it’s true, we are not getting as much energy from the sun at the moment, but it still is a great time to get out there and play! It has been proven time and time again that exercising is a great way to get energized. While the gyms and indoor facilities are getting busier, there is no need to run inside to get a great fall workout. Here are a few tips that, we hope, can be used both in the fall and in the winter in order to make your outdoor workouts more enjoyable.

1-    Layering: Just like when skiing, layering is key. You will find yourself sweating more than you think, however at the start and at the end of your workout, you will need more warm layers on.  Most of the time 2 layers are enough. A mid-weight long sleeve base-layer and a light windbreaker jacket are more than enough.  The same applies for the lower body. A pair of tight and light waterproof pants can be great especially if it’s slightly raining.

2-    Solid Fuel: As the temperature drops, the body starts to work harder while exercising to keep you core warm. As a result, you may find yourself needing more fuel than usual when exercising. Pack a few extra chewies or maybe an extra energy bar or nuts to sustain yourself during efforts.

3-    Liquid Fuel: Because your body needs to warm the liquid up before absorbing it, it has to work harder when drinking cold liquid. Without putting boiling water in your camel back or bike bottle, starting your workout with warm water in will not only help to keep you well hydrated by making it easier for your body to absorb the liquid but will allow your digestive system to work less to process it, meaning you will have more energy left to actually exercise.

4-    More than just water: Because you will be using more energy in the cold, you may as well add a little something to your water.  Look for natural electrolyte powder like Ultima, Nuun tablets, Vega or Hammer products. I am recommending natural here because powder like, Gatoraide for example, are not only a bit chemical to my liking and full of sodium and sugar and turn out to also be really detrimental to the teeth in the long run.

5-    Who likes frozen toes?!?  I think no one does! If you have ever ridden your bike in the crisp fall days, I’m sure have you experienced the “Scream and Braf” feeling a couple of times. Same thing goes with running. A cheap way to prevent such things to happen is to get a pair of bike booties for cyclists and nice low running gaiters to cover the running shoes. This may sound simple (and some may think it looks geeky) but it makes a world of difference. You can find cheap gaiters and booties at MEC:

7-    What about the fingers? For fall riding and running, a great pair of light cross-country ski gloves helps to keep your hands nice and warm. The usual bike/ running gloves are meant to provide great ventilation in hot summer days so they are not doing much for you when the temperature is near zero.

8-    Dark Days: It feels like we are losing 30 minutes of daylight everyday at the moment. Because you may get surprise by how dark things get in the forest and sometimes you end up exercising for longer than expected, throw a small headlamp in your pocket. If you need it, you will be really glad to have it.

9-    Quick Post Exercise tips:
-Keep a light down jacket in your car: As soon as you are done exercising, the core temperature drops and you will be glad you have a warm cozy layer.
-Keep a piece a fruit in your car for post workout. For faster and better recovery, it has been proven that ingesting natural sugar within 5 minutes of finishing a workout helps replenish your muscles and accelerate recovery.  It will also sustain you until you get back home and can cook a proper healthy meal.
-       Keep an extra water bottle at your car. If you run out during the ride or run, you will be glad you have some liquid waiting for you.

Enjoy Fall! Despite what some may think, it’s a great time of the year to get out and play!

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