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5 Winter Sports To Try

Ah yes, Winter is here. And instead of running inside, grabbing a blanket, hiding under it and crying until it’s March again, I kinda think us Gnarly patriots are a little different. We don’t shy from adventure just because the weather is less than ideal. Nope. We’re different. Now, you might not be able to get your kicks in the same ways you do when the sun is shining and it’s perfect run with no shirt on weather, but winter gives you the chance to try a few sports that might give you a new appreciation for the colder months AND give you some great cross training to keep you primed for spring.

So today I thought I’d take some space talking about a few good activities that can keep you active during the winter.

Cross-Country Skiing

Is one of the best sports out their for building endurance. And if you’re like me, and find it’s pretty easy to start gaining weight when the weather gets colder, you’ll be happy to know that cross-country skiing burns tons of calories (from 500 to 650 calories per hour for a 150 pound person) . You’ll strengthen your thighs, glutes, calves, and your biceps and triceps. Which means you’ll be able to transfer the strength you gain from cross-country skiing into cycling, running, rock climbing, and plenty of other activities come summer.

If you try it, make sure to read our post on how to layer tech clothes for the cold, and don’t forget to bring along some Gnarly Boost to keep you hydrated on your longer treks –especially if you plan on heading into more remote areas.

Downhill Skiing

Downhill stands as sort of a contrast to cross-country skiing –it takes shorter bursts of energy as you’re only skiing for about 2-4 minutes at a time on average. Think of it as good interval training for strengthening your hamstrings, quads, calves, hips and feet muscles. Skiing is a strength sport. You’ll gain flexibility, as well as leg and core strength if you do it consistent enough.

Things to keep in mind if you try it are, again,to stay hydrated (even in the cold, it’s important to take in fluids if you’re participating in a sport that will burn between 300-600 calories an hour), and realize when you’re starting to get fatigued. Most skiing injuries occur when the skier is tired at the end of the day and their body isn’t responding like it would if they were fresh.


Did you know research shows that exercising outside reduces anxiety levels, improves mood and increases serotonin (the feel good chemical) production. Snowboarding is one helluva way to get your serotonin on because it’s fast and fun and fairly easy to pick up for beginners. You’ll strengthen calves, hamstrings, quads, ankles and your feet muscles if you do it regularly and you’ll burn about 400-500 calories per hour (again, for a 150 pound person)

Plus with the popularity of the sport, it’s easy to find a place to rent a board and gear from. And, chances are, someone you know is into snowboarding and would love to give you a few lessons. That sounds better than sitting on the couch, right??

Tips on picking a snowboard

Ice Skating

Ice skating. A chance for all of us to wear sequins and choreograph some sweet moves to Michael Bolton music. Ok, that’s might be the perception, but ice skating can be a serious work out. Plus, you know who ice skates? Hockey players. They ice skate. That’s pretty legit.

Ice skating is a great way to stay active because it’s not nearly as expensive as skiing or snowboarding can be but it still can give a great workout. Plus you can usually find a few friends to go with you and make it social event too. It’s much more low impact than skiing or boarding as well, but you still work a variety of muscles: The hips, hamstrings, quads, and calves are all used. And because you are working on balance, quickness and agility with iceskating, your core can get a good workout too. You’ll burn between 300-600 calories an hour skating. Speed skaters who do an intense workout will burn more than 800 calories in an hour. Just remember to pick ice skates that aren’t quite as big as your regular shoes. Keeping them snug will help you figure out how to balance on them and transfer your power more efficiently.

Ice Hockey

Yes. This is the sport that puts hair on your chest and holes in your smile. If you’re into group sports, ice hockey is the sport to play in the winter. Their are rec leagues that are very easy to find and most of the equipment can be rented initially. You’ll work your abs, and all the lower body muscles that I mentioned you’d use in ice skating: the calves, quads, hips and hamstrings. It’s a great way to build explosive speed because of the fast nature of the game, so strength and sprint athletes will feel right at home during a game. You’ll burn between 300- 500 calories an hour during ice hockey, depending on how much of a game you play. Plus you’ll probably make some new friends. Hopefully one of them is a dentist.

Now, I don’t know if I really need to say this, but if you’re burning that many calories in a work out, I’d recommend some delicious Gnarly Whey or Gnarly Feast to help you recover right. Why do they work so well? because they’re full of handy BCAA’s, pre and probiotics and plenty of grass fed whey to help you rebuild all the new muscles you’ll be using and minimize your soreness.

Remember, denizens. Adventure is out there. You just need to be willing to get off your butt and go look for it.

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