Outdoor Workout Winter Clothing Guide
If you don’t enjoy working out in the winter because you feel uncomfortable, wet and cold, the reason is because you are making poor clothing choices.
The weather doesn’t worsen during the winter, it just changes! There is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing. Read on to find out how to choose the right kit to keep you warm and comfortable even when it’s raining, snowing, hailing!
Gone are the days when we used to chuck on a heavy pair of jogging bottoms, cotton t-shirt and hoodie during the winter, then suffer through our workouts with heavy rain soaked clothes and painful chafing! Technology & Training Gear has advanced hugely in the last 10 years. The focus now is on technical lightweight layers that wick moisture away from the body. We get cold often because sweat or rain has got through our clothing and is sitting on the skin.
The best strategy is to layer up during the winter, then remove them as your body gets warmer during your training session. I like to wear 2-3 layers during the winter, A Base Layer, A Mid Layer and if it’s extremely cold/wet, an Outer Layer.
If you can find it, Polypropylene is also an excellent choice for a base layer
The base layer is the first layer that sits on top of your skin. When it’s wet and cold it’s best to go for synthetic/man-made material with some stretch that won’t absorb water.
Most of the base layers on the market are constructed from Polyester blended with other man made materials.
If you can find it, Polypropylene is also an excellent choice for a base layer. Polypropylene absorbs very little water and dries very quickly, thus keeping you dry and comfortable, however, it is very hard to find nowadays and to tends to smell a bit after a sweaty session (though that soon disappears after a wash!!).
Polyester is a bit more absorbent than polypro but still does a decent job at keeping you warm and dry.
Another option for the winter is Merino Wool. Merino is a natural fibre from the Merino sheep. It is very soft,warm, lightweight and moisture wicking. However in the UK, particularly in South Wales are winters are usually pretty mild so Merino may be overkill for the majority of your outdoor workouts.
In the winter go for a long sleeved compression top paired with compression shorts or leggings. Remember, base layers are usually worn underneath a mid layer so don’t worry too much about how it looks as it’s going to be covered up.
Recommendations - Top & Bottoms
If you are not on a tight budget then look for recognised brands such as Under Armour, CanterBury ,Helly Hansen & Skins. As for where to buy them:
We have setup a 10% discount with online retailer baselayer.co.uk. Just follow the instructions at the site to find out how to activate the discount.
For women, this baselayer combo of underarmour coldgear top & leggings will do the job nicely!
On A budget?
If you are on a budget, you can’t go wrong with some of the entry level base layers over at Sports Direct for men or for women . Remember it doesn’t need to look amazing, it’s going to be mostly covered up by your tech t-shirt/mid layer!
The mid layer should be lightweight and loose fitting. Again we would recommend a synthetic moisture wicking material. I like to wear a technical t-shirt plus some MMA Shorts. MMA Shorts are perfect for OCR too, (men & women). They are lightweight and allow free movement of the legs. Also, they are very durable so they should still be in one piece at the end of your Obstacle Race or Training Session.
The body has to work much harder in cold weather to regulate its temperature and generate heat so it has to consume more energy. As a result your heart will become stronger since it has to pump more bloody around the body
Recommendations - Top
Our Obstafit Tech T-Shirts made from 100% polyester are both lightweight and moisture wicking. Perfect as a mid layer, plus you can get your name printed on the back. Awesome for races!
Recommendations - Bottoms
I can’t recommend enough MMA Shorts for Obstacle Racing. They are lightweight and rugged plus allow free movement of the legs (no embarrassing short splits when climbing over walls!). MMA shorts for men are for some reason a lot easier to come by than for women.
For women, if you are struggling to find suitable MMA Shorts then these inov8 OCR Shorts will do more than suffice!
The outer layer is to keep you warm during the warm up and when you are hanging around before the session. Personally, I rarely wear an outer layer when training outdoors. My workouts are usually pretty intensive which means I get warm pretty quickly so end up removing it within minutes of putting it on!
If it’s very cold and you do decide to go for an outer layer, think lightweight, nothing too heavy and don’t go for waterproof. I don’t recommend waterproofs for intensive exercise outdoors as they trap in sweat and cause the body to overheat. Even when it’s cold. If you are training with us you won’t stay cold for long.
Depending on the weather, a thin running wind-stopper jacket might do the trick if it’s not too cold. Or go for a fleece or merino wool jacket, plus a beanie hat and ski gloves if required (rarely in the UK!)
The Benefits Of Working Out During The Winter
Working out during the winter has lots of benefits. The body has to work much harder in cold weather to regulate its temperature and generate heat so it has to consume more energy. As a result your heart will become stronger since it has to pump more bloody around the body, plus you will burn more calories. Many people suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) during winter. Endorphins will help! The endorphins after an outdoor winter workout will be at a high due to the extra demand on the body during your workout. Endorphins make us feel good!
If you don't know already, we run an Obstacle Race Preparation Workshop & Training Session every saturday for people like you who have signed for an Obstacle Race and want to get fully prepared.
Myself & my brother Mikey will give you the answers to any of your burning questions, for example, how do I train for my race? what gear should I wear? How do I get over a big wall?
You will also take part in a 1 hour Obstacle Race focused training session with other like minded Obstacle Race fanatics, the only of its kind in South Wales. You will get to practice technique on our custom built 6 foot portable wall, flip huge tractor tyres, learn how to quickly crawl under a cargo net, become a master at sandbag carries , traverse the monkey bars like tarzan plus lots more cool stuff.
To book your place simply click the link below to pick your session date on the eventbrite page.