The cold weather can be challenging for athletes looking to perform well, stay safe and remain comfortable when exercising.

Eating the right foods before partaking in cold-weather exercise can increase your performance by ensuring your body has enough fuel and can properly regulate your core temperature. This will keep you feeling warm and comfortable throughout.

Proper hydration

Your body temperature typically falls in cold weather. As you breathe in cold air, your body will warm and humidify this air. This means that when breathing out, you will also expel significant amounts of water that need to be replaced.

Our thirst mechanism is significantly reduced in cold temperatures; therefore, even though you will experience a reduction in your desire to drink, you must ensure that you are properly hydrated when exercising in cold weather.

Effective cold weather nutrition

When it comes to fuelling your body in colder weather during everything from long-distance cycling to rugby drills from providers such as, warm foods are often ideal but are arguably not always the most practical.

As cold foods can chill the body further, ensuring that you consume warm foods in preparation for cold-weather exercise is key. Approximately two hours before exercising, consuming some complex carbohydrates will set you up to reach peak performance and ensure that your body temperature is at an appropriate level. Baked potatoes, chilli, soup, lean meat and pasta are all excellent choices.

Eating consistently will help you to ensure your carbohydrate stores are replenished as your body uses them during exercise and to keep warm. If you do not replace these lost carbohydrates, you are more likely to feel cold and fatigued. Bringing trail mix, sandwiches, bananas or energy bars will ensure that you always have something to hand to eat if you begin to feel the effects of the cold weather when exercising.

Top tips

– Ensure you are properly hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
– Eat a range of complex carbohydrates.
– Eat a small snack of between 100 and 200 calories every 45 minutes.
– Eat warm food whenever possible.
– Decrease your caffeine intake.
– Decrease your alcohol intake. Alcohol dilates your blood vessels, which will lead to increased heat loss.

We also recommend planning to bring an extra source of food with you just in case.

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