When a Workout Moves Indoors

It’s been an unforgiving winter of hand numbing sub zero temperatures, windburn-inducing wind chill, and often ice rink-like conditions. Mother Winter has many of us ready for spring. I certainly have had my share of treadmill workouts this winter.

Water bottle and shoes

Hydration during winter outdoor training is fairly forgiving. While we still sweat under multiple layers of clothes, we are less likely to sweat as we would outdoors in warm weather conditions. We don’t require quite the volume of fluid and electrolyte replacement as we would at other times of the year.

On the contrary, when I move my workout indoors it’s quite a different story. After many bone chilling runs outdoors, a workout in warm indoor conditions easily turns into a sweat pool. I often wonder what others make of my sweat-saturated body after a long, hard workout on the treadmill.

I head to the gym prepared for my standard sweat bath. I’m always sure to bring an extra change of clothes, hat for my wet head, and a water bottle to support hydration before, during, and after such sweat soaking workouts. I feel the water bottle is key to having indoor workout and winter weight management success.


The bottle is full…

Purse, car key… water bottle – I consider it a necessity as I head out the door. I can drink from the water bottle as I’m dropping the kids off at school, meeting with clients, or running everyday errands. This allows me to go into a workout well hydrated and ready to work hard.


Refill the bottle…

The water bottle allows me to drink in accordance to my indoor, treadmill running sweat rate and supports the potential to perform at my best. I don’t want to overdrink, that’s where an indoor sweat rate can be useful; however, it would be silly to let dehydration hinder performance when it couldn’t be more convenient to drink during a workout. Most often my water bottle is filled with water. Occasionally I fill it with an electrolyte-only beverage for very heavy sweating workouts that do not require carbohydrates. For a tougher long run that includes challenging segments, such as 5-10 miles at marathon goal pace, sports drink and/or a combination of water with an electrolyte and carbohydrate containing fuel source, such as sports gel, does the trick.


Refill the bottle…again.

Long, hard treadmill workouts that involve high sweat loss also have electrolyte loss. Here is where I feel weight management comes into play. It is important to replace fluids and electrolytes soon after heavy sweating, high electrolyte loss workouts not only for proper fluid and electrolyte balance, but to support weight management. We are less likely to keep reaching for unnecessary extras when the body is well balanced with fluids and electrolytes. Those who carry extra weight and are not conditioned for potential increases in exercise are more likely to have greater fluid and electrolyte losses compared a well trained, normal weight individual. One may poorly identify that an excess of food or hunger occurs related to a need to replace lost fluids and electrolytes, countering weight loss efforts.

Cereal and Milk

I try not to limit myself to the salt shaker in replacing sodium. Calcium, magnesium, and potassium are all important minerals that support my exercising body and overall health. First, I reach for water. I will drink at least 16-20 ounces of water, which supports replacing about 1 pound of lost sweat. I like to complement my water by reaching for foods that support rehydration and offer a variety of minerals and nutrients. Spinach or other dark green leafy smoothies, broth based soups loaded with fresh vegetables, cereal and milk, kefir, vegetables tossed with vinegar and a pinch of salt, vegetable juice, and cottage cheese are some of my favorite post sweat drenching snacks that support hydration and health.

Smart fueling supports winter training success!

Intensity May Make a Difference

Could the intensity of a workout support weight management beyond the basic calories in and calories out concept? Recent research suggests the intensity of a workout may make a difference. Not only are we burning more calories, but also may gain control of our appetite.

Running on Stairs

A study published this month in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition put 15 lean and healthy men to an appetite test. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effect of exercise on central appetite regulation through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and visual stimuli to food. The subjects were evaluated after two 60-minute trials working at 70% of their aerobic capacity compared to a resting control trial.

Instead of a ravenous post-workout appetite like some might expect, just the opposite held true. Exercise actually reflected satisfaction in the reward-related regions of the brain when images of low calorie foods were presented compared to the high calorie foods. Exercise suppressed subjective appetite response, increased thirst, suppressed the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, and enhanced the appetite reducing hormone peptide YY.

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