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Training in the Heat

August 12, 2010

Dealing with the heat? Here are some tips for training in hot weather:

Hydrate! Drink water throughout the day and during your workout. Since our workouts are short, there is no need to gulp down Gatorade or Propel. Just make sure you are drinking water consistently throughout the day.

Dress the part. Wear lightweight clothing that won’t hold your sweat. Instead of cotton t-shirts try CoolMax or DriFit, which are designed to keep you cool and dry (hence, the names).

Adjust your intensity. While hot weather is not an excuse to be a sloth, you may need to slow down a tad until you are acclimated to the warmer weather. Acclimation only takes a week or two, so it shouldn’t hold you back for long. If you feel like you’re about to spontaneously combust, take a minute to sip some water and stand in front of a fan.

Train in the morning or the evening. Morning is best, but as the sun sets you have a second opportunity to squeeze in a cooler workout. We have classes every weekday in the mornings so we’ve got you covered.

Make the most of your recovery. How do you do this? Our favorite heat training recovery technique is contrast hydrotherapy. It’s as simple as alternating hot and cold water in your post-workout shower. During your shower, alternate between as-hot-as-you-can-stand water and as-cold-as-you-can-stand water. Alternate every 1-2 minutes, ending on cold. You will feel refreshed and invigorated when you step out.

Now that you know how to cope, what benefit are you getting from training in the heat?

a) Lowered physiological strain during heat exposure. Although we’re not all fire fighters, when you find yourself working in the heat of the day, you’ll be better prepared and less fatigued.
b) Improved aerobic fitness and greater cardiovascular reserves.
c) A lower resting body temperature that allows greater heat storage.

Basically, you will be more prepared to deal with warm weather. If you work outside during the day (builders, roofers, realtors, etc.), you will see immense benefit during your everyday tasks. But even if you spend your day in a climate-controlled office, there may be times where you need to be on your game outside (catching a bus, running from an attacker, defending yourself at an ATM). While your competition or assailants are catching their breath, you will take the lead!

See the references below for more physiological benefits.

Supporting Research
The Effects of Physical Training In a Temperate and Hot Climate on the Physiological Response to Heat Stress, J.R. Allan
Interactions of Physical Training and Heat Acclimation: The Thermophysiology of Exercising in a Hot Climate. Y. Aoyagi, T.M. McLellan, R.J. Shepard
Effect of Hydrotherapy on Recovery from Fatigue, J. Vaile, S. Halson, N. Gill, B. Dawson
The Effect of Contrast Water Therapy on Symptoms of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, J. Vaile, N. Gill, A.J. Blazevich

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