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The Best Time To Build Strength

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by Yuan

Cold weather is the best time to get stronger, and it always has been. – Bill Starr

For those of us living in the northern hemisphere right now, the best time to build strength is winter. Holiday feasting, the cold, needing to wear more clothing all pushes you in the direction of eating more calories, resting better, and optimizing growth while reducing the chances of overtraining.

Here is what I mean:

Holiday feasting

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, work parties, school functions, dinner parties with family and friends are all concentrated around this time of year. There is generally more food available during these months than the rest of the year. It’s tough and wasteful to turn all of that away.

Ever see someone turn away food at a holiday feast because they’re on some diet? This is the typical reaction:

best time to build strength holiday feast

The cold and strength

The heat is detrimental to endurance and strength, which prevents you from getting the most out of workouts. In hot weather, you sweat more and it causes you to lose more water soluble vitamins and minerals that are valuable for recovery and growth.

On the other hand, your body needs to burn more calories to keep warm during the winter months. Under these conditions, your body can conserve more micronutrients but increases your appetite to take in more calories to fend off the cold.

Besides what’s already mentioned, your rest is also improved. The days get shorter and the cold makes it even easier to sleep. All of these factors with the increased food availability creates an ideal situation to grow stronger.

best time to build strength cold

Bill Starr talks about some of his training and coaching experience in the article Training In The Cold. It’s a very manly article recounting the good old days of hard training, interesting stuff.

More clothes, more bodyweight, better training

 best time to build strength more clothes

Since you need to wear more clothes, people become more comfortable about carrying some extra bodyweight.

Even if the added bodyweight is not 100% muscle, it will add to your leverage in a favourable way. This will allow you to train more effectively.

Just don’t forget to train hard after eating all that food. Getting lazy with the training and eating excessively will just add useless weight.

You can shed the extra fat by the time it gets warmer. After all, losing fat is very fast compared to building muscle.

Just take your time warming up

The one training inconvenience is that you need to take more time warming up. Where I live, it sometimes gets to be -40.

If you can’t drive to the gym, it can become much more difficult to warm up. But at times like this, warming up properly is more important than usual to have an optimal workout.

Use it all to your advantage

The articles about keeping your calories low during holiday season never made sense to me. Why work against the circumstances and against everyone trying to feed you…when you can take advantage of it all?

For the beginner and intermediate (which includes the vast majority), this is the prime time to eat and grow.

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