If you’ve been active on the health and fitness scene, you’ve definitely heard about HIIT workouts. These high-intensity interval training or HIIT workouts are all the hype the past few years and for good reason. The training technique requires that you expend all the effort you can in short, intense bursts of exercise followed by brief active recovery periods. The process increases your body’s need for oxygen during the intense exercise period and creates an oxygen shortage, with the end result being that your body has a bit of an after-burn effect consuming more oxygen and burning more fat and calories post-workout. So how can you up the ante? It’s pretty simple. Take your HIIT workout outside when it’s cold outside and you’ll get an even bigger benefit; however, you also have to pay a lot more attention to preparing your body and protecting your muscles when you’re working out in these types of conditions. Follow these tips, and you’ll get in a hefty calorie burn even when the temperatures are freezing.
1. Dress Appropriately
So for most HIIT workouts, you’re indoors and sweating like crazy. You do not want to sweat like this when you’re outside in the cold as you’ll be vulnerable to hypothermia, so be sure to dress in several layers and focus on moisture wicking materials. Wear the thinnest, most effective layer closest to your body followed by a warm fleece and topped with a lightweight weather-resistant jacket. This layering will help keep your body at an even temperature before, during, and after your workout to best protect your muscles. The layers will also allow you to remove clothing if necessary; as I stated previously, you do not want to be wet outside when it is cold (remember, hypothermia can take hold quickly)!
2. Drink Plenty of Fluid
Just because you’re not in the heat doesn’t mean you can’t get dehydrated. It’s just as important to maintain adequate hydration when you’re working out in the cold. Be sure to drink water before, during, and after your workout even if you don’t feel thirsty. Dehydration is more difficult to detect during cold weather exertion, and it’s a killer after a hardcore workout anyway.
3. Prepare Your Muscles
Because the very premise of HIIT workouts is high-intensity, high-impact movements, it is especially important than you prepare your body in the cold. Don’t just jump into a workout, but instead take a few minutes to get your body warm. Some cardio like a light jog followed up by a functional warm-up like the one in my in home fitness training routine here is a good start. The outdoor video of me above is only a short outdoor back workout but total body HIIT workouts should have a bigger warm-up.
4. Cool Down
A cool down is just as important when you’re working out in the cold as well. After your workout, take some time to stretch out your muscles, but consider going indoors to do it. If you’re not moving enough as you stretch out, your muscles may get cold and make stretching out properly more difficult and the cold may lead to cramping uor even muscle strains.
If you really want to increase the benefits of your next HIIT workout, consider taking it outside in the cold. Just be sure that you’ve prepared your body properly and take the necessary precautions to get a good workout at any temperature.