Lessons learned when exercising in the heat
Right now, in my neck of the woods north of Spokane, WA., it is not uncommon for the temperatures to be in the high 80s and low 90s (Fahrenheit). Although the humidity is relatively low here compared to other parts of our great country, it is still hot. Keeping up with your exercise lifting schedule can sometimes be a challenge, especially when it is hot. Having lived in this environment for many years, I have naturally adapted to the conditions and made changes in how I exercise during this period.
The expected temperatures today are going to be hovering around 97° but right now, at 0430, it is a very pleasant 59°. This makes it ideal to head out to the gym and get the majority the work out completed before the temperatures get too hot. And since I am an early riser, generally getting up about 0415 – 0430 hours each day, this lifting schedule works out very nicely for me. Plus I avoid the heat during the rest of the day when I exercise early.
I start each day with a liter of cool water with the goal of completely emptying it by no later than 1300 hours each day. I supplement this with various types of V-8 Fusion and Costco 0-calorie drinks. Added to this recommendation is one of avoiding sugary drinks, which means pop in most cases. Also, be aware that in many of the juices on the market, the first or second ingredient is sugar. With too much sugar it takes at an exaggerated amount of time for the liquid actually start getting into your system. And lifting or doing any type of exercise with a full stomach of sugar makes it that much tougher to get a good workout, especially in the heat.
Keep your clothes on
You will rarely see anyone from the Mideast or in other hotter environments walking around with shorts, shirts, and sandals on. And there is a good reason for this; clothing does not allow the wind or activity to quickly blow off the perspiration, which is the prime cooling mechanism for your body. For example, if your gym has a multitude of fans or air-conditioning which moves the air around, taking your clothes off allows this circulating air to rapidly remove the sweat off your body. This causes your body to sweat more in an effort to keep itself cool. Whereas if you allow the sweat to naturally evaporate then your normal activity would have allowed it to act like the radiator that it is.
Lift in the evening
In the area I live in the temperature starts to go down around 1900 – 2000 hours. Even though it is not as cool as is in the morning at 0430 hours it is certainly more tolerable than lifting when it is 97° during the peak heat of the day. To my way of thinking, the best way to do this is to lift the major muscle groups in the morning and finish off with the accessory exercises in evening.
Keeping your daily nutrition up to par
I highly recommend eating lightly during the summer heat by avoiding fatty, sugar-laden foods. The high-fat foods linger on making your body sluggish and just set in your gut waiting to be absorbed. Your body will be much more efficient during the heat with lighter fare such as salads, fruits, vegetables, and protein drinks.
Take naps during the heat
Once your workout session is over, drink your protein, and then take a 20 to 30 minute nap. This rejuvenates your body and makes it grow.