Cold Weather Gear

Brian Apparel

I’m sure you’ve all noticed that the Fall/Winter chill is starting to set in. Working out in just a T-shirt and shorts probably doesn’t feel so great any more. I’m sure that some of you will continue to wear the same Summer gear all throughout the Winter, but me, I like feeling my extremities.

First of all, you’re going to want to layer your clothes. But layer in clothes that are easy to take off in the middle of a WOD. You don’t want to lose valuable seconds because your head got stuck in your sweatshirt.

Let’s start with the base layer, I assume you know how to put underwear on one foot at a time. For most of the guys, that means some type of compression short, for the ladies it means whatever’s comfortable, I guess (you’ll have to excuse my lack of knowledge about female workout wear, but the same concepts apply). You can wear loose boxers if that’s what you’re into, but having a skin tight layer really helps to keep more warmth in and allows us to layer clothes easier.

Which brings me to the next part of your outfit, the running/compression tights. These bad boys are expensive, usually in the $50-$75 range, but you can catch them on sale at times. At the risk of taking heat about my sexuality, spandex over the legs just feels good in the winter and in cold weather. Plus, it elevates you one step closer to ninja status. Win-win situation right there. In all seriousness, running tights allow you to move freely while keeping your legs warm, which is a definite plus over the baggy sweat pant option. However, sweat pants can still serve a purpose as long as they aren’t so baggy that they restrict motion.

I like wearing shorts underneath any outer pant layer. Sometimes it gets warm when you’ve got those legs motoring away and it’s nice to be able to take one layer off easily without the risk of being indecent. It’s all about layers!

Tops are similar, you want to layer your shirts. An undershirt of some kind, long sleeve or short, followed by a t-shirt, a regular long sleeve shirt, and finally a sweatshirt. I know it seems like a lot, but it’s better to be warm and to have the option of taking layers off rather than freezing. That first layer can be a cold gear compression shirt or a thermal of some type, similar to the compression tights.

For all the Vibram Five Finger users out there, there are toe socks available via injinji. They’re expensive and I’ve never used them, but they’re there if you want them to keep your toesies warm. I hope one of the boys shows up wearing a pair of these bad boys. I promise I won’t make fun of you. I can’t make any promises about what I’ll say if I see you in that particular pair. You can also wear some good old fashioned knee length socks. I’ve got a couple pairs. I look silly in them, but they keep me warm. Another option is compression socks or just calf guards. You can find some here: 2xu.com. The idea behind compression gear is that it improves circulation and provides additional stability to your muscles. I’m sure you’ve seen Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, or LeBron James, wearing a calf or arm sleeve on national T.V. It’s to help those muscles!

When it comes to gloves, there seems to be a general consensus that the Mechanix brand is solid. You can find them at most any hardware store, Lowe’s included. Take a look in the office, there are more than a couple pairs floating around. I would avoid running gloves because they are designed for just that: running. As soon as you put a barbell in your hands, you’ll rip the gloves to shreds. We want our gloves to last, so save your money for something else.

As far as brands go, Under Armour is nice. Sugoi is a good brand for running tights and other running apparel. I tend to err on the side of quality, which means expense, but I know that the stuff isn’t going to bust at the seams on me. Most high end companies offer a warranty, lifetime or otherwise, so take that into account when you’re making your purchases. While you can catch things on sale at retail stores when you’re lucky, your best bet is probably going to be the internet. There’s usually at least one website that is running a sale of some sort out there in the interwebs. Froogle.com is your friend. If you are totally unable to find any clothing and need help in a bad way, send me and e-mail and I can direct you to some websites that I have used. I’m going to add “Fashion Consultant” to my repertoire soon.

Before you make a purchase, I would suggest that you go to a retail store to try things on for size. Good luck and stay warm!