Don’t let the rain get in your way — we’ve rounded up everything you need to keep warm, dry and protected while exercising in cold, wet weather.
When the pandemic shuttered the gyms, lockdown pushed many of us outdoors for our workouts.
We’re now facing another winter of exercising in the park, and whether you’re running, cycling or training, the right gear is essential to keep you warm, dry and protected.
So we asked personal trainers and fitness experts what kit they rely on when the temperatures drop.
“We tell our members there’s no such thing as bad weather, it’s bad clothing,” says Mark Ward, co-owner of Movement Fitness, which runs outdoor group training sessions in Dublin.
Layers, he notes, are the most important thing in the winter months, so you can take them off as you warm up.
The top layer is crucial and should be “light, breathable, water-resistant or waterproof, with a high down-fill in the jacket”, Mark says, to ensure you are warm enough when starting out.
He names The North Face and Jack Wolfskin as his top brands for down jackets.
The North Face’s range is pricey, but on the lower end is the Winter Warm Jacket (€130), which is designed for running and training, with a synthetic fill to reduce heat loss and quick-drying fabric to wick away sweat.
At Jack Wolfskin, the hooded Tasman Jacket (€149.95, Jack-Wolfskin.ie) has a hybrid design combining a stretchy back and sleeves with a windproof, insulated front filled with duck down. Both are available in men’s and women’s sizes.
Personal trainer Hanna Nytomt of ShapeUpFitness.ie likes the jackets from Under Armour.
“They’re very good and they’re not too thick. Whatever you’re getting has to be quite fitted,” she advises, as bulkier clothing can get in the way and distract you from your workout.
Kieran Keenan, PE teacher and owner of personal training service FitSquad.ie, also names Under Armour’s outerwear as his favourite, in particular the OutRun The Storm jacket (€100, UnderArmour.ie).
“This is the perfect jacket for those cold winter evening runs,” he explains. “It’s water-resistant and lightweight, it’s stretchy, comfortable and it keeps you warm.”
For a reliable, fully waterproof jacket, Galway-based personal trainer Sarah Thornton recommends the AquaDry jackets from Craghoppers, such as the hooded Atlas shell jacket (€140, craghoppers.com).
Craghoppers Atlas Jacket
“That one is brilliant. I’ve worn that for the last two years because I’ve just been outside all the time and I knew I was going to be out in the rain. That keeps me really warm and dry,” she says.
The key thing to look out for is a good grip on the sole and a waterproof lining such as Gore-Tex to help you tackle cold, wet and windy weather.
“Gore-Tex can be super helpful to minimise your feet getting wet, and Nike and Adidas have some really good Gore-Tex runners for outdoor training. They have very good water resistance,” says Mark.
Nike’s Pegasus Trail 3 Gore-Tex is available for men and women (€149.99, nike.ie), complete with a Gore-Tex layer to keep water out, a tough rubber outsole for better grip on muddy terrain and lightweight foam for a smooth run.
Adidas offers a lower-priced Terrex Agravic (€100, adidas.ie) with a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane, protective toe cap for rocky paths and a durable outsole for multidirectional traction, or the higher-end Terrex Agravic Flow Gore-Tex (€160, adidas.ie), which boasts the brand’s Boost cushioning, a sock-like fit and a rubber outsole with even stronger grip. Both styles come in men’s and women’s sizes.
Hanna swears by the Brooks Ghost 14 GTX trainers (€160, BrooksRunning.com), also available for men and women.
“They’re just brilliant because they keep my feet dry and warm in the winter,” she says.
“A lot of my girls are now changing to Brooks — they try it and they just go wild. It’s really comfortable on the foot, and they do have that Gore Tex and that extra bit of grip as well if it’s wet. They are amazing.”
In 20 years of training, Kieran says his favourite running shoes for winter weather are the Charged Bandit Trail Gore Tex (€100, UnderArmour.ie).
“They are lightweight, extremely comfortable and 100pc waterproof, so no need to worry about running through mud and rain,” he says.
Cyclists and hikers should check out the range by KeenFootwear.com, recommended by Sarah.
“That is a great waterproof walking shoe, so if you’re cycling to work, you won’t arrive with soggy socks,” she says. The Targhee waterproof hiking shoes, available in three colours each for men and women, are priced €149.95.
Tops, bottoms and accessories
For men, Kieran names the ColdGear range by Under Armour as his go-to for winter workouts.
“It’s an insulated layering technology that keeps you warm and dry in cold conditions and is extremely comfortable and lightweight. It acts as a base layer holding heat in,” he says.
His top picks are the ColdGear Fitted Mock Top (€55) and ColdGear Leggings (€55, UnderArmour.ie).
He says of the top: “It keeps you feeling light, warm and dry, and can be worn on its own or under multiple layers. It has a stretch mesh back and underarm panels, which wick sweat and dries really fast.”
The leggings, meanwhile, can be worn alone or under shorts. “Compression leggings increase blood flow, both during a workout and afterwards. They provide more oxygen flow to leg muscles, keeping them from cramping,” Kieran says.
For women, Hanna is another fan of Under Armour’s long-sleeved ColdGear base layers (€50, UnderArmour.ie) and highlights the leggings from Irish brand AvaRoseLeggings.com (€60).
“They’re high-waisted and they stay up, keeping your mid-section warm, and it’s also really good material,” she says. “I wear them all the time.”
Sarah likes leggings by fellow Irish brand Gym+Coffee (€70, GymPlusCoffee.com) and warns against being seduced by budget brands.
“I’d be wary of the cheaper ones — they can look great, but a lot of the time they don’t move well with you and they don’t last as long,” she says.
When it comes to accessories, Hanna says your choice of hats and gloves may depend on the activity you’re doing. For circuit training, she advises gloves with a good grip, such as The North Face’s ETip Hardface Fleece Gloves with grippy silicone palm (€50, TheNorthFace.ie).
“They’re fitted and not too bulky. If you’re running, they don’t necessarily need a grip, but if you are doing any weight work, I do find the grip is really helpful,” she says.
A hat can be too hot, so she suggests a fleece-lined headband such as the Aeroready Knit Headband from Adidas (€20, adidas.ie) to cover your ears without overheating.
If you do prefer a full hat, Kieran says the Storm Beanie from Under Armour (€30) is breathable, soft and comfortable thanks to its light, stretchy fleece and sweat-wicking material.
Best buys in winterproofing workout gear
For strength sessions: ETip Hardface gloves (€50, TheNorthFace.ie)
These fleece gloves are equipped with a silicone grip so you can get a better handle on weights and props during outdoor training.
“They’re fitted and not too bulky,” says Hanna Nytomt. “If you are doing any weight work, I do find the grip is really helpful.”
For running: Charged Bandit Trail Gore Tex running shoes (€100, UnderArmour.ie)
For runs on wet winter days, you’ll want a trainer that keeps the water out without roasting your feet. Kieran Keenan says this style is “lightweight, extremely comfortable, and 100pc waterproof, so no need to worry about running through mud and rain”.
For cyclists: Targhee waterproof hiking shoes (€149.95, KeenFootwear.com)
Don’t let rain interfere with your commute — Sarah Thornton hails these waterproof shoes, available in men’s and women’s sizes, as a great option to ensure you can cycle to work without arriving in the office with soggy feet and socks.
I’m nominated for the 3rd year in a row 🙂
I can’t believe it or actually maybe I can with all the hard work I’ve put in through my ShapeUp years so it is always great the be noticed.
I’ve been nominated in the Irish fitness Industry awards for the 3rd year and it would of course be just amazing to win it this year.
I’m in for 3 different categories which is fantastic, I am very proud. The one that would be closest to my heart is Best Group Fitness Instructor category, but of course also the other 2 which are Best Circuit Training Class and also Best HIIT Class.
So I would love your help now to bring me all the way as the polls are open for you the public.Exciting!!!!!!>https://www.
I would like to thank all my lovely clients without you I would not be where I am today, Still “loving” getting up at 6am and home @ 10pm most evenings. Because that’s the reality when working in this personal training business. But I would not change it. Fingers crossed now
Putting the work in workouts
The people who surround us daily can have a huge impact on our lives. And, for most of us, we spend long hours in shared spaces with our work colleagues. There is a growing emphasis on wellbeing at work, some of this looking at mental health and stress, but another important feature is physical health. Employers are beginning to better understand the benefits of exercise and organising corporate exercise programmes for employees.
Exercise releases endorphins in our bodies, which help put us in good moods. Exercise is also a great stress buster and getting our hearts beating faster means there is more oxygen circulating the body, giving us more energy and making us more alert. This is good news for us on a personal level, but also great news for employers because if their staff are fit and active, they are likely to be happier and more productive in work.
I have been doing a lot of corporate classes recently and it has been great fun and a new challenge too. It’s funny when you get a bunch of people together who know each other for one thing and when you change the setting, they can be very nervous. This is true of sports teams more used to seeing each other sweating in a pair of shorts; but spruce them up for an awards night and everyone is almost unrecognisable. The same is true of work colleagues who are used to seeing each other in the office but suddenly find themselves out socialising with each or, even better, exercising together in Lycra and t-shirts.
This doesn’t last long, however, and once classes begin and the physical warm up is done, I find people begin to loosen up too.
As with all my classes, one-to-one, group or corporate, I try to ensure everyone enjoys what they are doing. Exercise can be tough, and we should always be pushing ourselves to be better each time – to run faster, to hold longer and to push further. But, if you don’t enjoy it, it makes it harder to come back to. While people can be nervous working out with colleagues for the first time, I often find that by the second and third session they are laughing together and pushing each other on.
We spend a lot of time around the people we work with. If they are binging on biscuits it can be very easy to binge with them, so they don’t eat them all themselves! It is also an opportunity to create a positive and motivating network with whom you will spend the bulk of your week. When a group of colleagues are exercising together, they can encourage each other to ‘keep up the good work’, to go to a class at the end of a tough day or week. If you have a target in mind they can help keep you on track, wrestling the complimentary baked goods out of your hand and swapping it for an apple, or comparing notes on what to have for lunch (a favourite topic of conversation for many). Having team support throughout the day can be a massive help in staying on track.
For some of my corporate clients, I have been running classes as lunchtime. It’s a 45-minute class. There’s no time to waste. I think it’s great to set a deadline on things. Often you will see people in the gym, and they could be there for two hours, much of that time is spent looking for the right weights, checking their phones or people watching. With a 45-minute window you have to get in and get it done, no time wasting. I find this is also a great motivator for people, on the days when it’s tough to get motivated the end is already in sight, and on days where you’re rearing to go, that deadline can make you push yourself harder. The group environment can also push you on, depending on how competitive you’re feeling. A little competition can be good for you sometimes!
If you are interested in bringing Hanna to your workplace simply:
Email – email@example.com
Call – 0862457355
ShapeUp Class Reviews
Everyone has been talking about the green wave since the recent elections. It seems everything is going green, our cars, our energy, our meals, and now we have green exercise. I didn’t realise it had a name until recently, but it seems exercising in nature has been dubbed green exercise. And I’m all for it!
I think being outdoors is the best place to exercise. You have loads of fresh air to increase the oxygen flow to the body and give you more energy and, I believe, just being outside in nature is good for the mind and the soul. And I’m not alone in thinking this.
Scientists have also been investigating the impact of green exercise and found that it has several psychological and physiological benefits. It is reported to improve mood, attention, heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol compared to exercise in built, man-made environments.
There have been lots of studies into this and there are more studies looking at how green exercise can help with stress or anxiety.
Before I moved to Ireland, I never appreciated the weather in the way I do now. Irish people have a very special and unusual relationship with the weather, it’s a favourite topic of conversation and determines so much of what people do. For some people it’s a barrier, or an excuse, not to exercise, but I don’t think it should get in the way of our fitness. Unless there is a weather warning, there is no reason we can’t get outdoors to exercise, and I think it’s great for our health and wellbeing.
That’s why I love this time of year. My outdoor classes have restarted and, given the brighter evenings and warmer days, everyone is happier to be outside working out. Where possible, I will also do my one-to-one sessions outside.
I’ve always been an outdoors person. In Sweden you will often pass cafes and restaurants where buggies are parked outside with small babies wrapped up and sleeping in the fresh air, even in winter.
I think the rain is the most likely thing to put people off exercising outdoors, and, unfortunately, we seem to be getting a lot of it right now. I actually think it can be quite nice to have some rain, especially if you are pushing yourself hard. It will help cool you down and if you’re going to be sweating anyway, what’s the difference? If you do get wet while training, it is important, however, that you have a change of clothes or change as quickly as you can so you don’t catch a chill, but other than that, you need to embrace it.
I got quite lucky recently when I was heading for the gym to do some leg work. It was a beautiful day, and I decided to make a u-turn to head for the mountains instead. It was a cold but sunny and bright day. It was a glorious day to be outdoors and I walked up the mountain, exercising my legs and glutes, breathing in the fresh mountain air and soaking in vitamin D (wearing my obligatory sunscreen obviously). I went home afterwards feeling energised and slept really well that night.
People often talk about the mid-afternoon slump, usually around 3pm. This is partially because you have raised your sugar levels at 1pm with lunch and then you stay sitting around at a desk for the afternoon, as the sugar hit dips many people will reach for the coffee, but a quick walk outside is far better for you.
If you are thinking of going to the gym and the weather is nice, why not see what you can do in the park.
Are there steps? Great for the glutes. Take two at a time or run up and down. A hill will do well for this too.
Is there a park bench? Use this to do tricep dips, or push ups using the upright piece at the back.
Is there an empty goal? You could use this to do pull ups.
I know it’s exam time and we should be having a mini heatwave right now, but we’re not. But don’t let that stop you. Get up, get out and make the most of the outdoors – especially in the summer months.
Get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org
Call me – 0862457355
I am delighted to have been nominated as the Best Group Fitness Instructor with the Irish Fitness Awards 2019,
Another sign that hard work does pay off especially when you love what you do. I am very lucky to have the job that I have, even though it is not always easy juggling kids, family and work. However it is always worth it and never a chore going to work even if its really early morning and late nights. I have the perfect system working for me and my family and lucky to meet so many fantastic people everyday your are the one that keeps me going. Without you I wouldn’t be nominated!
Fingers crossed now for the Awards.
Enjoy your bank holiday weekend everyone,
I sure will with a big smile on my face.
My eldest daughter, Alice, was recently named the top scoring gymnast within her club. I was, and still am so proud of her. She works hard at her sport, she trains 6 times a week and, in 2017, Santa generously brought her a beam to practice on at home.
I have always encouraged my children to be physically active and to eat well. They know that when they get a treat, they are only allowed to eat it at certain times. We have normalised healthy eating, eating broccoli received the same reaction as eating bread and, now, some of their favourite foods include cottage cheese, avocado, peppers and cucumber.
In Ireland, and worldwide, obesity is becoming more and more of a problem, for children and adults. Every parent wants the best for their kids, and when it comes to health and wellness, it’s important that we lead by example. If they see us eating take-away every night, this will become their normal.
It can be hard getting back to fitness when you’ve just had a baby, I know, I’ve been there. I also hear, from so many people, that fitting in a fitness routine is hard when you are running your kids to and from various activities. Again, I understand this, but I believe that if you want something enough you will find time for it. And, the added benefit of you sticking to your fitness regime is that you will be creating a living legacy for your children who will see this as a normal part of life.
For new mothers, I run mother and baby classes that are designed to ease you back into shape. Having a baby takes a toll on your body, so it’s important to take the right approach to returning to fitness and I can guide you through this. For more information please get in touch.
I also work one-to-one with parents, in their homes, showing them how to incorporate exercise into a daily routine.
Think about how you might make exercise part of your family lifestyle?
Bike to school – is it possible for you and your children to cycle to school together? If they are very young, this could be a good foundation for getting them to cycle long-term and release you from school drops in their teen years – you’ll both be grateful in the long run.
Down-time blast – so, you’ve dropped them to music, dance, hurling or football. Whatever it is, they are occupied for the best part of an hour. Rather than driving home to come back again, or waiting in the car park, can you fit in a run? Is there a gym nearby or a class? Even a walk around the block is a good use of your time.
Exercise together – get the kids on the bike while you run alongside. Go skating as a family, play a game of football, or imitate your toddler. Researchers found that toddlers, daily, expend the same amount of energy as a 249-minute stint in a boxing ring, a 30-mile run, or a cycle of 82 miles at 12-14mph!
At the end of a long day at work, followed by an evening picking up kids and various household chores, it can be so tempting to flop down on the couch for the night. As tempting as that may be, I would encourage you to think about using that time to fit in some exercises. You can plank and keep one eye on the television. If you usually curl up as a couple, why not push each other with a plank challenge, or back to back squats. You can use your partners legs to ground you during leg lifts and vice versa. You might feel silly at first, but keep the long-term objectives in mind and remember, you’re not just doing this for you, you are also doing it for your children. We make many adjustments in life to give them the best opportunities in life, this is a win-win situation for the whole family.
Get in touch – email@example.com
Call me – 0862457355
Shaping up for Love
Love is all around me…or at least Valentines Day is. With love hearts and flowers and boxes of chocolates as far as the eye can see it got me thinking about one of the most common motivators for getting fit…wedding days.
Whether the the bride, groom, a member of the wedding party or a guest, we all want to look our best at a wedding. For the bride and groom, however, there can be serious pressure to shed pounds and shape up before the big day and that is completely understandable. All eyes will be on you and you don’t want to spend that time sucking in your belly. You want to be comfortable and confident.
I work with a lot of people coming up to their wedding days, mostly women it has to be said, but men do put in the work too. Personal Training Classes
Getting married can be stressful business, trying to keep both sides of the family happy, not offending anyone with your seating plan and all the other details that you want to get right. I think working out during this time is a great way to clear your mind, to switch off from colour charts and guest lists and to have time to focus on you. Working out releases endorphins, which help you feel good and you can learn to improve your breathing, which helps in times of stress – such as your parents unofficially inviting all the neighbours to your big day.
As well as that, you will be building a stronger and healthier body and that will make you feel better as you walk down the aisle.
For anyone looking to shape up ahead of their wedding, I always suggest they start six to twelve months ahead – depending on your fitness level and what you want to achieve. This means you can lose weight or tone up gradually and you won’t put your body under undue stress. It also gives you time to set realistic targets. And, when you reach your target you can concentrate on maintaining. Giving yourself adequate time to see changes in your body will boost your confidence and help keep you motivated.
Plus, if you’re the bride, it will allow you make some progress in your fitness goals before you begin shopping for your wedding dress and meals there won’t be dramatic changes when it comes to alterations. Then, when you have your dress, you can focus on specific areas.
When I meet with clients ahead of their wedding day, I talk with them about their objectives and their troublesome spots. I will discuss a food plan and an exercise regime that takes in the whole body – a full health perspective – and pinpointing exercises that will tackle the key areas of concern.
Whether it’s just one half of a couple, or a pair, trying to get fit ahead of a wedding, I would encourage both people to get on board. This can be done in a variety of ways, whether it’s following the same meal plan, or scheduling time to exercise together, even if it’s a walk once a week, the support and sense of teamwork will bring you closer together and could be a great opportunity to build stronger bonds.
In the weeks and days just before a wedding, there is a lot to be done. All the final pieces start to fall into place, and life can get hectic. There will be family dinners, catch up with friends who have returned for the occasion, there will be drinks and celebrations and the calories can mount up. If you have been working out regularly in the run up to your wedding, it should now feel like a habit. Just like brushing your teeth and you should think of working out that way. If you know you will be out for dinner, try to get your workout in in the morning or before you go out. If you’re tight on time, make it 20-30 minutes of intensive work rather than a moderate 40-60. At this stage you will have put in the hard graft, the changes will be there to see but you want to maintain your progress right till the end.
I recently heard of a bride who had barely eaten in the week before her wedding and was so hangry during the ceremony and drinks reception she couldn’t enjoy it. She was only focused on the bread rolls that she would be able to eat at dinner. Sure, she looked incredible, but she was miserable, and I can only imagine how she must have been in the run up to the whole event. In the effort to be skinny for her wedding she was missing out on the joy of the whole day. That’s why I don’t believe in going to extremes, I believe in gradual progress and happy and healthy brides and grooms.
New year, new me… is that you? I think it’s all of us if we are honest. Who doesn’t wake up on January 2nd (nobody thinks these things on the 1st) and think, okay, it’s a new year, a fresh slate I can be a better person, whether it’s being a kinder person, fitter, slimmer or healthier. According to research, 73% of Irish people said they made an effort to eat more healthily in the past 12 months and 67% said they exercise more.
Over the years, I have found that when people say they want to be fitter, slimmer and healthier these are very vague ideas. They are aspirations, certainly, but without any solid grounding. You want to be fitter, great! I wholeheartedly encourage this, and I am here to support you, but what a couch potato and a gym bunny consider fit are two very different things, so which one are you aiming for? Some people want to be slimmer. If you are overweight then, maybe, this should be on your list, but there are very many slim and unhealthy people, and is that what you want? Or, is it to be healthier? Again, what exactly does that mean? How, when 2020 rolls around, will you know be able to say – yes, I’m healthier.
You need to be able to measure your success. Everyone’s goals will be different. For someone who only eats junk food it could be as simple as eating one piece of fruit a day. If you have a healthy diet, it might be about exercising twice a week. Whatever it is, your goals should be SMART. This a business acronym, which I usually hate, but it’s very relevant to setting goals around health and wellness, so please don’t dismiss it as jargon.
SMART objectives are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-specific.
Specific – what’s the end objective: I want to lose 10 kilos.
Measurable – how will you know you’ve lost the weight: bathroom scales. Note there are differences in scales and you weigh more at night than the morning so make sure to compare like with like.
Achievable – do you have 10 kilos to lose?
Realistic – are you putting the right resources in place to achieve this? Can you find the time to exercise and eat well? Will you go out every weekend and finish the night with a kebab or a spice bag in hand? Be honest with yourself.
Time-specific – set an end date: by my holidays in June.
The other important thing to bear in mind that you don’t have to do everything in January. New year’s resolutions are year-long resolutions. So, if you’re goal is to lose 10 kilos it doesn’t have to happen in the space of four weeks. That’s unrealistic, unwise and unhealthy. You should set smaller targets on the way to your end goal and you can tick off as you go. Aim for 1/2 kilo a week, unless of course there is a deadline. In which case, you can ramp it up. But aim low to start. If you hit your first target it will spur you on to hit your next, instead of aiming too high, missing the target and feeling like it’s not worth trying at all. Little by little you your small achievements will build into big ones. And, every time you meet your smaller targets you will get a massive confidence boost that will keep you motivated to move on to the next stage.
You can also build rewards into your targets. When you hit the 1o kilo mark, buy yourself a new top, something you wouldn’t normally buy yourself. But not food, try not to think of food as a reward because it can get complicated and too many food rewards could undo the good work.
We are now into the second week of the new year and most people (hopefully) still have their resolutions firmly in mind but it’s from this point on that many fall by the wayside, and begin to slip. For some, this is enough to give up completely. But, if you have fallen off the wagon already, that’s fine. Get back on. Reassess your goals and begin anew. If you fall off the wagon in June, do the same thing. That’s the problem with new year’s resolutions, we think we can only make them in January, that’s why we need to make resolutions for a new year, and you can make these any time you like. Just keep your SMART objectives in mind and you can begin to make your new year’s resolution a new habit for the year.
Contact me if you would like some help with any of the above: firstname.lastname@example.org
After Christmas in Horizons all of the staff were feeling a little sluggish and finding it tricky to maintain the energy levels required to run around with our gorgeous little pupils, so we decided to call in help in the form of Hanna, our fitness guru!
Hanna soon had us laughing and moving and put that pep back in our step. We all loved the classes, not only did every muscle ache at the end of each session so you knew you had worked hard, but it was the variety in every class. No two classes were ever the same, Hanna always had something new, from boxing to resistance bands, from squats to lunges, we never knew what would happen next. This is the reason why we all lookedforward to each week, and we could all see and feel the difference, very quickly.
Thanks Hanna for leading us all back to a healthier lifestyle and encouraging us all the way with your good humour and constant encouragement, and we forgive you your ‘Swedish seconds’ !!! We look forward to working with you again, and we would highly recommend this programme to any other small business as a way of team building and keeping fit!
Get in touch with Hanna – email@example.com