7 Things You Should Know About Exercising in the Cold

Exercising in Cold Weather

Greetings from the high desert.

If you live in the northern half of the United States or in Canada, I will make an easy prediction: You are cold. 


Snowfall from sea to freezing sea

As cold as it is outside, it cannot extinguish the fiery passion some of us have for keeping in shape. But exercising in extreme temperatures can be potentially dangerous for obvious reasons. In the heat you’re at a higher risk of dehydration and at extreme risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. In the cold, you may battle hypothermia and frostbite. You can also fall on ice or be blinded the sun shining off the snow.

1. However, Exercising in Cold Weather Is Safe if You Exercise Regularly.

Exercise Cold

As long as you exercise on a regular basis, there seems to be no added risk to undertaking strenuous activity in extreme cold, outside of the environmental factors. However, asthmatics, people with heart problems or Raynaud’s disease should probably talk to a doctor beforehand. I’m not a doctor. I’m just writing a semi-entertaining article. Remember that.

The body’s reaction to cold weather is vasoconstriction, a tightening of the blood vessels. This draws blood and heat away from the extremities to protect the core.  This can aggravate hypertension or other cardiovascular problems. The Texas Heart Institute warns that people without proper conditioning may be at added risk of heart attack when attempting anything laborious in chilly weather, even shoveling snow.

A study done on winter vacationers who traveled to ski slopes found that outbound folks who were unconditioned to the altitude, the cold and the strenuous activity were more likely to have a heart attack within the first two days of the trip. The majority of those who suffered heart attacks didn’t exercise regularly.

Despite that warning, the Texas Heart Institute considers cold-weather exercise beneficial because it helps with mood, improves immune system health and increases energy levels.

2. Muscle Soreness and Muscle Ability

Cold Muscles Soreness

Although I cannot find any hard scientific data to back this up, a personal trainer interviewed by CNN, says that cold weather causes muscles to contract (via vasoconstriction presumably), causing tightness and also claims that muscles are forced to work harder in low temperatures. This makes a lot of sense, though because we know that vasodilators like nitric oxide have been shown to produce the opposite effect.

3. You’ll Burn More Calories, Fat

Exercise, Cold Weather

Just being cold will kick-start a metabolic chain reaction that allows you to burn slightly more calories. Shivering is an uncomfortable way of sloughing fat also. But the biggest factor is that being cold activates brown fat which helps people stay warm and may help shed pounds.

According to a study out of the Netherlands, the body burns energy to stay warm at temperatures as high as 64 degrees through a process called non-shivering thermogenesis and that most people can see up to a 30% increase in this phenomenon by being exposed to mild cold. One researcher said something to the effect of “if you can’t make it to the gym, lingering at a bus stop in the cold may be the next best thing.” Other studies indicate that dietary nitrate can help change white fat into brown fat.

4. May Help Train Blood Vessels to Become More Responsive 

Cold Weather Exercise

According to Harvard University, another possible health benefit of being exposed to the cold is that it trains the blood vessels in your skin to be responsive, a boon for your vasculature. 

5. The Bigger They Are The Colder They Get, but Having Fat Helps Keep You Warm


Just like in CrossFit, being tall is not an advantage. The bigger you are, the more surface area you have and the harder it’ll be to keep warm. Fat, however, is a good insulator even if it is the reason you’re outside in the cold, running around in circles.

6. Eat Before You Exercise, Drink Warm Fluids


If you eat an hour before you exercise, you’ll be able to use the thermogenic properties of your food to stay warm, according to Beginner Triathlete. Also, they say that cold beverages will remove heat from your body, so stick to warm drinks like tea or cider. Just make sure to hydrate.

7. Exercise Will Keep You Warm, Lose You Heat


When you exercise, your body will produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide will widen your blood vessels and put more blood in your extremities. This is great because you’ll feeler warmer, but you’ll also lose overall heat faster. So keep that in mind before you go out into the cold. Stay safe.


Red Rush can help boost your nitric oxide levels and provide you with 500 mg of dietary nitrate for all your winter exercise needs.

Olympic Weightlifter Kollin Cockrell at the Backyard Brawl


The Backyard Brawl was a couple months ago, and we were fortunate enough to meet Kollin Cockrell there.  Kollin Cockrell, a USA Weightlifter most likely destined for the Olympics, held an Olympic Weightlifting workshop and answered questions during the competition.  He was also kind enough to make a fun promotional video for us. But before we get to that, here are some things you should know about Kollin.

    • Won bronze in the 2014 National Weightlifting Championship
    • As the youngest competitor attending, he won a silver medal at the American Open
    • Represented the US at the 2013 World University Games and placed 17th in the world.
    •  First USA Olympic Weightlifter to compete in the Reykjavik International Games. Won gold, the International Trophy and Best Lifter Award.
    • Won Collegiate Gold Medal and earned National Title Position on the USA’s World University Team
    • Set several Idaho State Records
    • Won 3 Golds and a silver medal in Utah Summer Games
    • Won Gold in 2010 Junior Olympics

According to his Team USA Weightlifting Bio, Kollin learned how to lift by watching YouTube clips. Here are some clips of Kollin in action.


A little product placement if you will…




This guy is way awesome.

4 Studies that Link Nitric Oxide to Weight Loss


This dog has lost about ten pounds since we adopted him from the shelter. His name is President Taft.

The holidays are rapidly approaching, and so are those monster pumpkin pies and thick candied yams dripping with that honeyed glaze. And even though your waistline is begging you to withstand the upcoming gustational onslaught, our collective willpower might crumble when faced with crusts divinely flaked and filled with marshes most mallowed.

The holiday season lasts only a month or so, giving you eleven extra ones to shake loose that winter weight. However, one tiny molecule named nitric oxide is being scrutinized by science for its ability to relieve you of your unwanted pounds. It’s a simple signaling agent that the body creates, naturally with the help of substances found in the normal, everyday foods that you eat. Red Rush, brand beet juice, for example.

Yesterday, Lew Hollander remarked during an interview that you can use nitric oxide to lose weight. Here are four studies that explain how.

1. Nitric oxide boosts the metabolism. 
When the sun shines on your skin, your body releases nitric oxide.  Researchers tested the effects of UV exposure on mice and found that the illumination caused the small, cheese-loving mammals to become flush with nitric oxide.

From Daily Mail: 

The mice displayed fewer of the warning signs linked to type 2 diabetes, such as abnormal glucose levels and resistance to insulin.

The beneficial effects of UV treatment are linked to a nitric oxide, which is released by the skin after exposure to sun-light.

The substance plays a role in the way we digest and process food and sugar, potentially warding off harmful metabolic conditions such as diabetes.

Although, the researchers can’t say for sure that these effects work similarly in humans, but there is a great deal of research on the health benefits of sunlight and humans and it has been postulated that nitric oxide is one of the reasons why.

2. Dietary Nitrate turns white fat brown. 

I’ve written about this before. Another study published in Diabetes journal indicates that dietary nitrate, a precursor to nitric oxide, helps switch pudgy and boring old white fat into the heat-burning brown fat. You still have to exercise to get rid of brown fat, but it’s thermogenic, so it’s, by definition, ready to burn.

3. “Dietary Nitrate Reverses Features of Metabolic Syndrome in Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase-Deficient Mice”

That mouthful of a study comes from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

Over the past decades, the prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically worldwide and, consequently, the number of people suffering from metabolic syndrome is now reaching epidemic proportions (1). Attempts have been made to identify a common underlying molecular mechanism that can explain the various features of metabolic syndrome (1). One such candidate mechanism, linking metabolic and cardiovascular disease in humans, is a defect in endogenous synthesis and bioavailability of nitric oxide

This study went on to find that mice who were given nitrate lost weight and those who were deprived of nitrate did not lose weight. The mice who were given nitric oxide also had lower levels of visceral fat and circulating triglycerides  But let me remind you that these studies were done on mice and not on humans. And you know what they say about mice and men. Stuff always gang aft agley and nobody likes it when that happens.

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley,

Robert Burns, “To a Mouse”

4. It Makes Exercise Easier

Another thing, tested on people this time, is that exercise reduces the oxygen cost of exercise and herds 38% more blood to skeletal muscles. This makes plain-old, garden-variety walking 12% easier. according to a paper from the University of Exeter.

The thing about exercise is that it is a lot harder than not exercising. It’s really usually preferable to sit in chair or lounge on a longer version of a chair like a couch, but in order to stay healthy, you have to run around and pick up heavy things. Beet juice may make it just a touch easier to do that. Therefore, drink Red Rush.

The more you exercise, the more calories you’ll burn and the less you’ll weigh.

Interview with Lew Hollander: World’s Oldest Iron Man Triathlete

Red Rush Iron Man Lew Hollander

Lew Hollander holds the world record for being the oldest person to complete an Iron Man Triathlon as well as the record for being the oldest person to complete the Iron Man Triathlon Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

Red Rush: You’ve run about 2,000 races, correct?

Lew Hollander: That’s an estimation, counting all the little races and the endurance riding.

RR: Which triathlon is your favorite?

LH: Roth, Germany. That’s a great race. It’s probably everyone’s favorite. It’s very well run. You ride through all these little Bavarian towns on your bicycle. Some have cobblestone streets. That’s not so great on a bike, but there are tables set up along the route and on all the tables are beers. People sit at those tables and drink beer. It’s a comfortable race, a lot more comfortable than dangerous.

There’s no crowd control. That’s the way it is there. I rode through one of these towns and somebody said “That’s Lew Hollander, seventy-year-old triathlete”–I was seventy then–and everyone cheered and they  pushed me and my bike up a hill which is sort of scary even though they were trying to help.

RR: Are there any that you don’t like to do?

LH: They are all a little dangerous, especially the swim. But any one that I finish is a good one.

Lew Hollander

RR: What’s the wildest thing that’s ever happened in a race. By wild, I mean interesting or weird.

LH: I don’t know about wild, but I have two ghost stories.

1) I’m riding my bike one year. They made a big point of making sure that the riders had handlebar inserts. Somebody in one of the races had been thrown over his handlebars and was killed. So they changed the rule that if you didn’t have a handlebar plug, you were disqualified.

I’m coming back. It’s ninety degrees out and miserable. I notice that I don’t have a plug in my handlebar. There will be some marshal or somebody waiting for me when I get to the bike exchange to make sure I’m wearing my helmet and that I have a plug, some bureaucrat. I thought about stuffing  wrappers into the hole or taping over it, so he wouldn’t notice.

I start getting closer to town, and I’m getting into panic mode. I thought about buying one at the bike shop. It’s just off the course. I could steal one or do whatever. My imagination is running away. It’s just a plug in the bike. I’m trying to weigh my options. I look down at the ground, and there was a plug.  It looked brand new. There are two sizes of plug and it just happens to be the right size for my bike.

There was nobody around. Never in my life had I ever seen a plug lying in the road. Nobody I know has. I’ve never lost one either. It was like a miracle. When I got in, I had a plug.

2)This other one is a little scarier. I was running one year, about seven miles, not too far into the race. I met a very sweet girl, about 23 or so, an aid worker. Aid workers are the race course volunteers who bring you water or aid.

She says, “I’ll run the rest of the way with you. It’s only eighteen miles.” She turned out to be very sweet. She ran all the way in. You’re not supposed to have outside assistance in the races, but she was an aid worker and part of the race, so it was all right.  We talked all the way around. She told me her story. She was from Calgary; her husband had died three weeks earlier. I was enthralled by this young lady. I wanted to connect her to my son. I thought they would hit it off. We ran to the finish line up to a little barrier. She turned off the to the right.

I said, “No, no. Finish.” I wanted a picture of her to show my son and get those two in communication. I grabbed her hand. “Come get your picture taken.” We ran through the arch and toward the big lights of the cameras. I introduced this woman to my wife. Got her address and name.

Later, I went to get the picture and looked at. I dropped the picture. There was nobody else in it. I’m a scientist. I got my microscope out and looked to see if she was behind me or something. I couldn’t find any trace. I did write her. Tried to find her. Nobody ever answered. Life is filled with mysteries. I like that a lot.

Lew Hollander

 RR: How important is nutrition for training and longevity? 

LH: You are what you eat. Nutrition in the broad sense, you survive.  I don’t eat anything I can’t identify the part to. No hot dogs or hamburgers. I guess, I eat candy bars. Who knows what are in those? But I like to see a bone or a wing or some feather. Nothing ground up. I try and eat healthy.

I like to say without chocolate, life is darkness and chaos.  I also left bacon off my list of things that I can’t eat, so I could eat it.

RR: Do you feel there is a psychological component to the aging process?  A sense of people saying I can’t do such and such because I’m x years old. 

LH: Oh, absolutely.  There is nothing unique about Lew Hollander. There are people who bike faster, think better, run faster, do everything better than me. I’m pretty persistent. I fall down just like everyone but I keep going. I think people find excuses for a more leisurely lifestyle. “I’m too tired. I’m too cold.”

If I know I have an entry in a race, I like to think backwards. I’m crossing a finish line. I have to do it in seventeen hours. What do I have to do to be at that spot? I need good running shoes. If they don’t fit well, I’d be in pain by mile seventeen. How about my eating? How about my weight? I can’t eat that it’ll cause me to gain weight. I won’t be able to finish.

You can preserve your quality of life. The older you get, the longer you have to push at it. I know a lot of people who are still alive at my age, but they are being wheeled around with an oxygen bottle, waiting for the coroner to come. One of the big differences is the quality of life. You had better start training at forty.

I was checking out of the Sheridan in Clearwater years back and a lady goes, “Hey, look at this guy. He’s eighty and he did the Iron Man.” A guy looks at me and says “What do you take?” I said, “Nothing. You want to spend a day with me and see what I do? This was a conscious decision.”  He didn’t want to come with me.

You get your first forty years free. You can overcome and repair a lot of damage then. You get to forty and then you have to pay. Life, your length of life, is like a bank account. You can put money in, or you can take it out. You can be in debt and die early and you’ll be miserable.

Eat right and exercise and have a full life. That’s money in the bank.

Lew Hollander

RR: Can you talk about your motto of “Go Anaerobic Every Day?” 

LH: I talked to a guy in a Triathlon club in Mississippi. He said “You go anaerobic everyday. We run that way because you told us. We run up hill that we named Hollander Hill.”

How do you know when you’re going anaerobic? When you can’t breathe. It’s not rocket science. You run as hard as you can. The next time run a little farther until you clear your anaerobic threshold.

I’m a physicist. What I think, I’m really out on a limb here. This is only an observation. I think when you’re in that state,  I think a whole lot of things happen to your endocrine system, your pituitary, your thyroid. All these things are linked together. You were designed to die at thirty-five like the cavemen. All those glands and hormones just start to give out. When you go anaerobic, your body goes “this guy is serious” and it keeps producing that stuff.  Most people won’t make that choice.

Red Rush Iron Man

RR: Congratulations on your win in Florida

LH: I opened a new age group at the next Hawaiian Iron Man. 85-90. I tell people that two things helped me. Idaho potatoes and Red Rush beet juice. I drink Red Rush all the time. I love it. I drank three during my race in Florida.

I  have always recognized the necessities of nitric oxide. Most people are not aware of the value of nitric oxide. It’s necessary to the ATP cycle. You can use it to lose weight and it helps your sex drive.

I think you have a good product. Why not take it? Why not increase your nitric oxide? If you want a better life, take nitric oxide.

I also take Red Rush for ping pong. I think it elevates your reaction time and your ability.

Lew Hollander

RR: Do you you have races between now and Kona in 2015? 

I have like twenty races between then. I just did the Hot Chocolate Run in Seattle. I do something every weekend: a run, a bike race or a swim race.

I put my max effort into everything. That’s my philosophy: persistence. I heard a talk once at a high school graduation. “Everybody falls down.  Everybody, every day. The great ones get right back up.” Just suck it up and keep going.

5 Signs that Someone Is a Secret CrossFitter

UnknownThe first rule of CrossFit is that you always talk about CrossFit. That’s also the second rule and, probably like, the next six. CrossFit has a vocal fan base who are well tied to social media. No beef here. However, there are plenty of older people who do CrossFit on the down-low. Why? Probably because everyone is like “You’re going to hurt yourself, oldy.”

Also when you get older, you just can’t keep up with all the dang kids trying to win at every single WOD. If someone my of age and general state of disrepair were to post about  CrossFit, it would be more sad or factual than cool.  “I reduced my risk of heart disease today!” or “Oh boy, that WOD was tough but by eliminating belly fat, I’ve lowered the possibility of gallbladder surgery later in life.” and  “I manage to finish the WOD before that sixty-year-old woman almost 40% of the time.” These aren’t meme-worthy quotes or even things I want people to know. So I tend to keep it to myself. (Except when I write about it in order to advertise Red Rush.) My friends, a cabal of jackanapes and gadabouts, don’t care. And my family, well, they’re still hung on the fact that I may have been slightly lactose intolerant at some point. Therefore anything that happens to my body is a result of the amount of dairy I’ve been ingesting. There is no winning this argument. “Yes. I’ve lost weight. I Yes. It probably was the dairy. Does this holiday gathering involve me receiving presents or is this just a free-food one?”

Besides for work, I’ve taken my need to CrossFit undercover. I’m sure others have, too. Here are five sure-fire signs of spotting an undercover CrossFitter.

1. Calluses


2. Box Jump Shins

Box Jump Shins

3. Clavicle Bruises


4. Double Under Welts


5. Wall Ball Face

Bonus: Beet Juice Mouth.

BwpEuJuCAAEN498.jpg-largeRed Rush brand beet juice provides 500mg of veggie nitrate for stamina, circulation and performance.