I’m sure that I’m not the only one who would rather layer up and exercise in freezing temperatures than jump on the dreaded treadmill. With the sudden drop intemperature, I start to get many questions regarding how nutrition changes in the winter months. Read on for three tips for fuelling cold weather workouts.

1.Dehydration is still an issue

Despite the freezing weather, if you’ve layered up properly and are exercising at a high intensity, you may actually be sweating more than you think. There are also extra fluid losses when exercising in cold weather due to increased respiratory losses. You can see this extra fluid loss as “steam” when you’re breathing. Athletes are also more susceptible to becoming dehydrated because it’s not as easy to carry fluids or hydrate in cold weather. For more detailed information on all things hydration, click here

2. You might need more carbohydrates

If you become cold enough that you beginshivering, this is using extra carbohydrates as a fuel substrate. As a result,more carbohydrates are needed to help fuel not only the exercise, but also theshivering that is keeping your body warm. However, most athletes, even whenexercising in cold weather, are exercising at a high enough intensity andhopefully, dressing warmly enough that their body temperature won’t dropped lowenough to stimulate shivering. In these situations, the energy needs in coldweather are not that different compared to exercising in warmer weather. 

3. Expect increased hunger

When your body temperature drops, itstimulates appetite. This is because eating food generates heat and warms thebody up. Be prepared for this increased appetite by having a nourishingrecovery meal ready for post workout. Some of my favourite go to recovery meals in cold weather are:

  • Bowl of hot chili and a bun
  • Turkey sandwich with a hot mug of coffee (or tea)
  • Veggie omelette on toast

To learn more on what and when to eat post-workout click here.

In order to have a successful spring race season, training through the winter months is a must. Use these tips so that you can make the most out of your winter workouts and be ready to perform at your best come spring.

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Categories: Megan Kuikman

Megan Kuikman

Hello! I’m Megan Kuikman. I’m a Registered Dietitian with specialized training in sports nutrition. My goal is to help athletes and active individuals achieve a healthy attitude towards health, training, and food. I empower athletes to fuel properly for training in order to restore their health and enhance performance. You can get in touch with me at: hello@megankuikmanRD.ca


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