How to stay ahead of the heat this Summer. Electrolyte examples and when to use them.
June 26, 2024

Summer is here!!! We have entered that time in the Midwest where hot and humid days have no respite with hot and humid mornings and nights.  It's not going away and you can't put your health on pause for 2 months waiting for it to cool down, so here are some tips and tricks for staying fit AND SAFE during these extreme temps.

Pre-Hydration and Post-Hydration

Just like recovery, what you do OUTSIDE of the time your working out has a bigger effect on hydration than what you do during that hour. Think of each day as a chance to preload water/hydration and then replenish post workout.  Set a goal to drink a glass of water every 2 hours, or put tic marks on the side of your water bottle for you to hit throughout the day. You CAN drink too much water at once so dispersing it throughout the day is much better than trying to drink a half gallon right before exercise. I recommend starting to throw in some extra electrolytes especially on workout days.  (Coconut water, raw fruit and veg- light cooling foods, Nuun, LMNT, Pedialyte, tailwind, watermelon).

Electrolytes during your workout:

If you have hydrated properly beforehand, most workouts under 20 minutes (like an FCF class) don't require extra nutrition/electrolytes and a chilled water bottle will suffice. When your workouts start going over 40 minutes in length, or are done completely outside, you should start thinking about replenishing electrolytes (salt) in your water bottle. My endurance running coach Coleen Shaw-Voeks has this to say:

"Primarily, save for a few outliers, you should be consuming salt to taste.  If you’re craving it, that’s a sign you need some.  I do not personally like salt tabs because you can’t tell how much you’re putting into your body.  Too much salt and too little salt will both cause things like swelling and stomach issues which is why I want you to learn to consume salt based on what your body is letting you know it needs. We recommend salty foods (pickles, chips, etc), rock salt, base salts (which come in essentially a chapstick tube), or if you’re using caps-break them open and dump in your palm and consume to taste."

Hot vs. Thirsty:

Thirsty: IN the body.   Hot: ON the body

Ice packs against the neck, under the arms, and in the groin area, where large blood vessels lie close to the skin surface, will help quickly cool you down. WARNING: Cold water constricts your superficial blood vessels on your head and warms your core temperature (opposite of what we want) so use room temperature water when pouring over your head/face.

Heat acclimation:

To acclimate to the heat, gradually increase your exposure by spending more time outdoors each day, starting with shorter periods and progressively lengthening them. This process typically takes about two weeks, during which your body will adapt to higher temperatures and become more efficient at cooling itself. Wear lightweight, breathable clothing to aid in the acclimation process. Be patient with yourself, as individual responses to heat adaptation can vary. Reminder: acclimating to 80's and 90's is NOT acclimating to the 100's.

Workouts Times - Morning is Best:

The days are longer which means you're staying up later so this may be an even bigger task, but working out in the morning while still very humid and warm, will get you out of the sun. Temperatures in the 80's can sometimes be 20 degrees cooler than it's afternoon counterpart.

Find a gym with A/C. I know of 1 off the top of my head...

Summer time efforts make big results in the Fall, so be prepared to move workouts inside or not see the same results you're used to right now. Stick with it, I guarantee you're still benefitting from the efforts you're putting in and the results WILL SHOW.

Finally, endurance athlete looking to maintain/build a bigger base in the Summer? Be on the the lookout for our July/August Specialty Course "Build Your Engine" which is 100% inside an air-conditioned gym.

Each person is different, reply back with any questions I can answer on keeping you fit AND SAFE through these extreme Summer Months.

Continue Reading

pushpress gym management software for boutique gyms and fitness studios