Bear with us. Yes, we know getting outside in the wind, cold and rain at this time of year isn’t the most appealing prospect. But if ‘New Year, New You’ is to hold true, getting outside – and getting stuck in – is a must.
By braving the elements, you’ll not only build consistency and resilience but engage with a whole host of science-backed benefits. Don’t believe us? In one study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, it was found that cold exposure can improve the way our bodies utilise fat, reducing the risk of heart disease, alongside regulating insulin to help you stay energised throughout the day and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Meanwhile, there’s a growing body of evidence that cold exposure – especially in the form of swimming – can be used to treat depression. Not a bad trade-off for half an hour of discomfort. To help you take the plunge, we spoke to Tim Blakeley, celebrity trainer and founder of Media Physiques, about the best ways to brave the chill, fuel our bodies and reap the benefits.
1. Plan ahead
If your regular running loop passes your house, you’re far more likely to cut training short and head inside. Don’t. ‘Pick a route where you don’t pass your house,’ advises Blakeley. ‘Plan if you’re going to do a circuit or a there-and-back, and stick to it.’
2. Fuel yourself
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‘Your nutrition should always be consistent and appropriate to your goals,’ Blakeley explains. Loading up on protein-heavy snacks, like those from Lindahls, is a great way of fuelling your muscles (if taken before training) or repairing and rebuilding them (if taken after training), without sitting heavily in your stomach. The Lindahls Pro drinks range, for example, has everything you need to hit your specific macro targets – made up of a 50:50 blend of whey and casein proteins, the drinks contains a whopping 23g protein per serving. Best of all, they don’t compromise on taste or nutrition, making them an efficient and versatile choice. After all, when you’re forcing yourself to get out in the cold, you deserve a reward!
3. Dress the part
‘One of the key things people do when training outside is overdress,’ says Blakeley. ‘The worst thing is getting 20 minutes in and being too sweaty – you don’t want to be taking off layers in the cold, so just cover your extremities.’
4. Get your blood flowing at home
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Do not start off cold. ‘Warm up in the house,’ says Blakeley. ‘Start with your neck and work your way down — it’s all about getting fluid into your joints, with an emphasis on the hips downwards. A couple of minutes with a skipping rope or going up and down the stairs a few times will help you literally hit the ground running,’ he adds. Make sure to grab a high-protein snack like a Lindahls Kvarg yoghurt before or after your session to maximise those workout gains.
Lindahls Kvarg Vanilla Yoghurt
Lindahls Kvarg Raspberry Yoghurt
Lindahls White Chocolate Yoghurt
5. Don’t try and break records
The fact that you’re just getting out there is great, so avoid the pressure to aim for a PB each time. ‘Moderate your pace or opt for a maintenance run,’ suggests Blakeley. ‘Don’t try breaking any records — just run to the conditions,’ he adds.
6. Suck it up
Often, getting out in those bitter temperatures is mind over matter. ‘Remember that you won’t be cold once you start running,’ Blakeley says. Remind yourself of that and plan a post-training treat, like a smooth Lindahls Protein Pudding, for your return and you’ll be conquering the cold in no time.
Lindahls Chocolate Protein Pudding
Lindahls Salted Caramel Pudding
Lindahls Pro+ Kvarg Tropical Drink
Lindahls Pro+ Kvarg Raspberry & Vanilla
When it comes to nailing your protein goals, add some Lindahls into your day. Try the range from your local supermarket or visit Lindahls.co.uk