Beyond Athletics Nutrition & Health

How To Stay Warm and Workout in Winter

woman running on a winter track with holiday mix
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(Janos Balazs)

Despite all of our best intentions — and smart goals to motivate ourselves in our New Year’s resolutions — one of the hardest parts of staying active as a student-athlete in the winter months is winter itself.

This goes double if you’re in the off-season and live somewhere (like where we are in Chicago, or on the East Coast where blizzards are looming) where the cold and snow makes the prospect of training outdoors pretty wretched.

That’s one of the reasons why being a multi-sport athlete is such a great idea for student-athletes serious about playing in college. In addition to gaining skills that will round out your talents in your primary sport, cross training has the raw benefit of keeping you active and on top of your game.

But if you’re not playing a sport until spring tryouts begin, don’t worry. Here are a couple ways to work out in winter.

Get acclimated to winter workout weather.

Be realistic and be safe about how cold it is outside. Here’s a list of tips you could use to get ready to run outside. Some of the most important:

  • Make sure you’re wearing enough layers, and that you remember to cover your eyes and ears.
  • Try going for shorter distances and times than you’re used to, and work your way up to longer courses.
  • If it’s snowed, make sure you stick to places that have been plowed and salted — and that you watch for slick patches and black ice.

Get creative with your workout in winter.

If you have access to an indoor pool, swimming laps is a completely underrated total-body workout for any kind of athlete. I know one former soccer player who swears by this swimming workout — and uses it to this day. It focuses on freestyle and breast stroke, alternating with some only-pulling and only-kicking.

Picking up tons of different indoor exercises that can help you stay fit in the winter right in your living room.

Get proactive to find winter workout substitutes.

You’ll never know what extra help you might be able to find at your school until you ask. Can you and teammates get some supervised gym time after classes? Or are there options in gym class to choose what exercises you’re performing?

You’re not the only student-athlete at your school — and you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re working without a team to help you through.

The only bad thing you can do is take the season completely off and veg out on the couch. Get out there, get active and have fun.


We’re here to help with tips on getting you inspired to be the best student, athlete and recruit you can be. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

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About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.