So my hair has at least doubled in volume (primarily via an impressive perimeter of frizz!). I’m going through ice cubes like they’re beauty elixirs. I’m dragging Murray by the lead to join me for walks on the Common (when he’s normally bounding out the door before I can tie my laces). There’s no denying it’s hot out there. It can be tough to train when the heat saps your energy. And there’s good reason that you may not train precisely the same way you would if there was a swift breeze cooling your neck. But that’s no excuse to let those workouts slide, and your amazing summer fitness progress along with them. Here are a few of my top tips for maintaining your fitness when the tropics invade your gym/park/garden/run trails.
- Plan for rest: Your body will go from hot to hotter in no time, so moderate your HIIT and compound exercises and build in longer periods of rest to stay hydrated and recover properly between sets, hills or exercises.
- Hell yes H2O: Get creative with your water intake. As you sweat, you’ll lose more electrolytes, so consider adding potassium-rich coconut water to your daily hydration count. A touch of fruit juice or squash in your water will also provide a quick fix of carbohydrates to effectively fuel your body and brain, helping to keep your performance on track under the most trying of circumstances.
- Shake the salt: Again, increased sweating means increased loss of body salts, so consider adding a little extra salt to your meals around training. Don’t go crazy; an extra half a teaspoon a day will help you regulate your hydration without putting undue stress on your circulatory system
- Train to maintain, not to gain: When the temperatures soar above 30C, be kind to yourself and stick with the weights/reps/time that you know you can comfortably manage. Your body is already having to cope with extra demands due to climate, so use this opportunity to focus in on technique and those all-important mind muscle connections.
- Ice, ice, baby: Pre-cooling your body before training can give you a psychological boost ahead of a workout (there’s mixed evidence over whether it actually improves performance). If you’re feeling hot and rather unbothered about your next workout, run through a sprinkler system, hit the slip & slide, suck on an ice cube or spritz yourself with cool water or Evian’s clever facial mist to put one foot in front of the heat.
- Dress to sweat: Appropriate summer workout attire is all about fabric. Skip moisture-absorbing cotton in favour of lightweight linens, meshes and technical Coolmax fabrics. Loose shorts instead of fitted leggings and capris will breathe better and allow your body to self-regulate as your internal thermostat responds to the double whammy of a killer workout and the scorching sunshine.
- Commit to a class: Of course, if you’re struggling with self-motivation, never underestimate the power of signing up to a class where you know your trainer is going to deliver a smart workout and your fellow classmates will motivate you through the session. My summer schedule is in full swing and if you haven’t joined my bootcamp or weightlifting sessions, now’s the time! Find out more.