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Stay in Shape: How to Winterize Your Home Gym

Don’t stop physically training just because it is cold outside. Here are some tips for taking the bite out of frigid outdoor workouts.

We have covered a host of different articles on everything from protein intake to the use of supplements and vitamins.  One of the problems that occur with the advent of the cold weather is that John Q. Citizen slows his activities down during the winter and stays inside his home, becoming sedentary.  After the winter is thawed out, John is gone, to re-emerge from his house as the Michelin Man.

I have friends of mine that ask me all the time after the winter ends.  “JJ, I just don’t understand it…how did I get so heavy during the winter!”

It is not a mystery.

First thing you do, put down the fork.  Secondly, you have to exercise and train.  Nobody wants to in the wintertime, especially in their cold basement or if they have weights out on the back porch or in a shed.  The wintertime comes, and you have to keep up the exercise.  My gym is self-contained on the porch of my cabin.  I’ve lifted outside when it is -10 degrees F, straight up temperature.  There are a few things I do to lower the cold and its effects.  You can do these things, too, in your gym at home.

Take the bite out of cold outdoor winter workouts

If you have a basement gym or a porch gym, the first thing you do is close the gaps.  My front porch is wood, and I close up the gaps by laying down a rubberized mat…almost akin to a carpet.  It covers the floor/porch boards and prevents both moisture and cold from entering the porch.  I also have it closed off and weatherized for the winter.  I take a space heater and place it on a large piece of ceramic tile and heat it up for about 15 minutes prior to my workout.

I use weightlifting gloves, but when it goes below 32 F I need to use gloves that cover the entire hand.  I prefer mittens with leather-like palms.  Next thing, I place a blanket over the entrance to the porch and leave it just open a little on the sides to allow air to circulate.  I pre-prep all of my water bottles with warm water…and this way keep it from being bone-chillingly cold when I drink.


If you can’t pick up a rubberized carpet somewhere, you can take plastic (plastic sheeting or even plastic garbage bags opened up by slitting them at the edges), and lay it down on your surface, then cover this with a blanket.  It helps to keep you from losing heat into the floor and allows the room to be semi-insulated.  I wear full sweats and thermals during the dead of winter, a size too big to allow for a good “pump” when I’m done, and to allow me to move without tearing or shredding my clothing at the seams.

“Part of your survival will depend on your being in good physical shape.”

Remember to incorporate your winter chores into your workout!  I did several pieces on how woodcutting and snow-shoveling are more than just tasks…they are the exercise for you.  They should be factored into your routine for workouts.  The winter is not just a time to sit around and eat all of what you designate as “surplus” to be eaten instead of stored for preps.  Part of your survival will depend on your being in good physical shape.  Don’t stop training just because it is cold outside or that front porch seems so unfriendly to your routine.  Change that environment and make it work for you.  Stay in that good fight, and don’t stop the training!  JJ out!

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on November 22nd, 2017

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