If there is one thing us Brit’s love to do it is complain about the weather. We spend the vast majority of the year complaining that it is too cold and then for a couple of months of the year we complain that it is too hot. (We have about 4 days a year when we tend to think the weather is just about right).
Lately it has been warm, that’s a fact. Whilst most of us would choose to exercise more in the heat than the cold, warm weather can certainly start to make training feel hard and uncomfortable. But don’t fret, training in the heat has some benefits and there are a few things you can do to make it more bearable!
The benefits: People have been studying the benefits of heat on exercise for decades and whilst you can always make a study or experiment support a certain agenda it is consistently proven that training in the heat can have some positive effects.
Studies have consistently shown that training in the heat can increase a persons blood plasma volume (which can improve your cardio respiratory endurance), can reduce your overall core temperature, increase skeletal muscle force (the conversion of energy into pulling force on the bones) and reduce blood lactate.
All in heat training has been compared to and sometimes even considered more effect than altitude training for improving the bodies adaption to strenuous exercise.
There is also a massive psychological component to training in the heat – it is uncomfortable. It will make you want to stop. You will feel heavy, slow and sometimes even a little claustrophobic if the air is too humid. But push on through and you will learn how to silence the quit and keep your composure.
So how to prep for training in the heat. The obvious, hydrate. Don’t wait until you train or until your feel thirsty to hydrate. Keep your fluid levels up through the day and bring a big old bottle of H2O to the gym. Even a mild amount of dehydration can ruin your performance in the gym!
If you are someone who absolutely hates the heat and is considering binning it off on hotter days, don’t. The biggest killer of progress in the gym is inconsistency and adding ‘it’s too hot’ to the list of reasons to skip the gym is not going to keep your progress on track. If heat is a deal breaker for you try and train at cooler times, morning or later evening classes will be mildly cooler than the afternoon sessions!
It’s also worth considering bringing a spare t-shirt. If you are a super sweater and it is warm a soaked t-shirt can feel horrible. Changing mid-workout to a fresh tee can help you feel rejuvenated.
And whilst we are on you sweaty chaps – bring a towel and wear a headband. We all sweat, fact. We all sweat more in the heat, fact. We don’t all need to drip sweat over any and everything we touch or the floor. Wearing a handband and having a towel on stand by is not only a polite way of minimising your sweat trail it will also help you keep a little more comfortable in the heat.
As well as considering a spare t-shirt you also have to give a thought to your primary tee and clothing too. Wearing heavy cotton, long leggings or trackies or long sleeves is not a smart choice in the heat. Light weight, breathable fabrics are a must and a gym is the one place a vest is acceptable dudes!!!
Lastly, eat. The first thing a lot us do when we get too hot is stop eating. Good nutrition is the corner stone of fitness and that doesn’t stop being true when the sun comes out. Keep your food intake up and watch the progress train continue!!!
If you are still unconvinced and think training in the heat is the devils work and should be avoided at all costs, don’t worry, it’s the UK, it won’t last.