Why You’re Gaining Weight Working Out in Colder Weather

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Truth be told, your metabolism runs a notch higher to warm up your body during colder workouts. An increased metabolism means an increase in calorie burn. But don’t go gorging on the bread basket just yet. The extra calorie burn is minimal and does not (I repeat, does NOT) give you carte blanche to binge.

Why You're Gaining Weight During Cold-Weather Workouts
Cold morning runs leaving you ravenous? Skip the fast-food breakfast biscuit and fill up on a belly-warming bowl of oatmeal for healthy, whole-grain goodness.

To help keep weight in check through the winter, work out wiser (like when it’s reasonably cold; not 20 below), wear layers and take note of how to navigate these common cold-weather nutrition mistakes.

Sip, sip, hooray!
When it’s cold, you don’t sweat as much and don’t feel dehydrated as quickly”¦but you are. You should be drinking water, or electrolyte-infused water, every 2 miles of your chilly, winter run or 15-20 minutes if you’re doing any other outdoor activity. I set a watch alarm to remind me to sip on liquid or take in energizing nutrition if I’m going out for more than 90 minutes. Staying sufficiently hydrated (with virtually calorie-free fluids) will not only fuel your muscles as you go but also helps ward off that ravenous stomach rumble post-workout.

Three cheers for beer!
There are plenty of “brews cruise” events out there, including half-marathons with beer stops at every mile and obstacle courses where you carry kegs on your back. You can find one in any major city, almost on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, this liquid carb loading is not what you need right now. Instead of imbibing in a 300-calorie stein of stout (I’m guilty, too), rehydrate your body with a creamy cup of coconut water. At the very least, drink 8 ““ 16 ounces of a nutrient-enriched recovery drink or protein shake and then enjoy a (very) pale ale.

It’s time to par-tay!
If a full- or half-marathon is on your schedule this season, you’ll inevitably run past the finish line and through a corridor of carb-laden goodies. The post-race breakfast buffet is quite the spread ““ muffins, bagels, fruit, croissants and even cookies as far as the eyes can see. (But really, cookies at 9 a.m.?) Before you go grabbing as much free food as your arms can carry ““ and way more than your stomach can handle ““ walk away from the conga line and stretch for a few minutes. Yes, you need to refuel, and you will. But stretching is a priority and will allow your brain the chance to process what your body really needs. Better yet, stash your favorite protein bars in your post-race bag to nosh on something you know your tummy will be thankful for.