By Roger Phillips, Owner and Operator of Fight Focused Concepts
As a student, I always loved the cold weather training days. It was a way to guarantee a low student to instructor ratio. The colder it was, the less students in the course, and the further that my skill sets would progress. I always looked at cold weather as being a way to take advantage of being smarter than other people. It was not about me being tougher and able to deal with cold weather better than other people, it was about me being smarter on how I dealt with cold weather. I had a philosophy that I still use today as an instructor;
“The best way to be warm, is to stay warm.”
What this means is, that you do not let ego or your need to look like a tough guy keep you from staying warm. It always amazes me when I see people who obviously do not have enough warm clothing and freeze their rear end off, just so they are not seen with a beanie, hoodie, or gloves on. It is as if staying warm is some sign of being weak!
Staying warm is a sign of being smart!
When everyone else is freezing, the smart ones are training with 100% focus on training. They are taking advantage of all of the people who were afraid to come out in the cold and all of the people who will not come out in the cold again because of how cold they were “the last time.” The smart ones notice that it is cold because everyone else is freezing. They never feel the cold because they know that the trick is to stay warm from the very first minute……throughout the entirety of the day. They start off adequately dressed and remain adequately dress throughout the day. They do not ever fall behind the curve. They do not ever wait too long or wait until it is too late.
When you do this, it can lead to sweating. Sweating inside of the wrong type of clothing is as bad as not wearing enough clothing. This is why you must pick the proper under garments. You must pick a garment that wicks moisture away from the skin as it hold the warmth in. There are a number of different types of garments that accomplish this. The one that I use and works really well for me is “Cold Weather Under Armor.” It wicks away moisture when sweating and holds the warmth in.
Obviously a high quality sock that accomplishes the same thing is an absolute must. If your feet are cold……you are cold! I buy socks that are made for Snow Boarders. Good stuff! High quality Gortex boots are another huge benefit.
Layers are the way to go. I use a general guideline. If it is under 50 degrees I am going with a minimum of two layers. If it is going to be under 40 degrees I am going to do three layers. I tend to stay away from heavy jackets because it affects my mobility. I prefer tight layers and a light shell to keep the wind out.
Your heat escapes out the top of your head. Baseball caps simply are not good enough. Hoodies do a decent job, but are too loose. A nice, tight, thin, high quality beanie is really the best way to go. They are warm and low profile enough that your hearing protection is still very effective, toss a baseball cap over a quality thin beanie and you are good to go.
Of course, use some common sense and cover your ears.
Some other very beneficial clothing are as follows
A zippered fleece that covers the neck.
“Shot Gunner” Gloves if you need full dexterity use of fingers. The ones that I used in my “Fundamentals of Point Shooting” DVD worked well in temperatures around 30 degrees.
Full gloves with thin palms that offer quality dexterity. Mechanic gloves are not bad. I use a neoprene glove that is used for climbing glaciers. Good warmth, with excellent dexterity properties.
Do not sit on cold plastic chairs. Bring a cloth chair, so the cold is not directly transferred from a solid chunk of ice, straight to your core. Common sense right!
If you want to get the most out of your training dollar, learn how to dress for cold weather and look for a good course in the dead of winter. You may be able to avoid the snow, but that does not mean that you can avoid the cold. If you want to learn how to prepare to train in the cold, look to the guys that are out there every weekend during the winter. We can not cancel a course because it is cold. We are going to be out there and we know what it takes to be there, while not suffering from the cold.