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Get comfortable being uncomfortable to improve your physical and mental resilience


Get comfortable being uncomfortable to improve your physical and mental resilience

In order to excel, Under Armour athletes know that they need to go beyond their comfort zones. Push harder, dig deeper, get … colder?

The science doesn’t lie: training your body to perform in the cold can help make sure you’re never thrown off your game when the heat of competition gets turned up. 

To get an edge, that means training even when the mercury drops this winter. Under Armour has long put its finest athletes to the test in extreme conditions to strengthen their physical and mental resilience. Now we want to build a movement. 

This winter, we’re inviting athletes everywhere to embrace cold training and stoke a fire that can’t be put out by sleet or snow.

Cold Training: Why it Works

The idea is to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Cold training shocks the body and forces your mind to focus on pushing through, setting you up for success in the future when faced with stressful or unknown situations. It also delivers physical benefits at various stages of training, improving both performance and recovery:

The benefits go beyond the body. Training in a cold environment can also improve mental vigor and clarity, as well as promote long-term confidence and resilience. If you can train the brain to push through cold exercises, it will learn to handle other difficult tasks with greater ease.

We Put Cold Training to the Test With UA Athletes

For the past eight years, UA’s Human Performance team has trained some of the world’s best athletes to push their mental and physical limits in extreme conditions.

Last April, the team guided a group of professional athletes that included Jonathan Taylor, Cam Newton, Kelly Wolf, Cody Reed and Alex Aust for a training camp in sub-zero temperatures. 

Over the four-day trip in Mount Rainier National Park, the group endured grueling hikes with heavy backpacks, multiple meditation and cold-temperature breathing exercises, and even built ice caves for shelter.

“These athletes are some of the best in the business, but our Cold Camp was a true physical and mental test,” says Paul Winsper, Under Armour’s VP of Human Performance, Science and Research. “It shows the power of cold training at every skill level. There are always new barriers to overcome.”

Jonathan Taylor played college football in Wisconsin and is no stranger to the frigid cold. But this training was different.

“I was doing exercises that pushed me outside my comfort zone, all in extreme cold temperatures. It not only taught me how to prepare and maintain my body while in a cold environment, but it also reminded me that it’s all about staying mentally tough in any situation, which will come in handy for those overtime and cold-weather games.” 
- Jonathan Taylor

How to Push Your Limits This Winter

Remember: While it’s designed to push you out of your comfort zone, cold training isn’t always about taking things to the extreme—especially right away. You should always check with your doctor before starting a new training routine, and it’s key to listen to your body as you start any new routine to be sure you aren’t pushing too hard, or too fast, or taking unnecessary risks in the cold temperatures.

From Under Armour’s Human Performance Team, here are three ways to get started:

“The cold shouldn’t be an excuse to not go outside or to not do something,” Winsper says. “Winter weather is an opportunity to embrace things outside of your normal comfort zone and create high-performance habits throughout your human performance system that you may not normally have otherwise.”