Training in the heat is uncomfortable. For many of us, the fact that it’s a hot day and the CrossFit gym doesn’t have air conditioning makes us feel lethargic. The heat seems to drain our energy. So much so that we don’t even feel like doing the “met-con” portion of the work out of the day!
Suck it up! Training is sometimes hard and uncomfortable. It stresses your nervous system out and takes mental and physical endurance to get through the pain of training in hot weather. Because of that, your mental and physical body also adapts, strengthens and grows from the experience. As long as you’re doing it in a safe way, you will come out of it a better person.
What to Do While Training in the Heat
- Stay hydrated – You lose more body fluids when you are constantly sweating. During the Summer, I lose an average of 2 pounds of water weight more than usual after a workout. Make sure you replenish your liquids and add electrolytes while you’re at it. Be in good body condition – This should be obvious, but make sure you’re conditioned enough for basic physical activity before putting on that weight vest and running that trail!
- Listen to your body – It’s fine to take workouts to that “dark place” where you’re heaving and hoeing and can’t catch your breath….. THAT IS IF you are healthy and don’t have any ailments that may be affected by the workout. This is especially important when you train in the heat. Heatstroke is real and overexerting yourself in the heat can be dangerous. So if you feel that you are overdoing it, take a breather in the shade!
- Start slowly, then step it up – When you walk out of the air-conditioned building and into a hot CrossFit box, you may feel overwhelmed with heat and decide that you can’t handle the workout. Give it a few minutes or more. Start by doing some double-under jump ropes or burpees and get that sweat flowing. You’ll quickly forget you’re even in the heat because your body has adapted to it. If it wasn’t for the pounds of sweat dripping down my body after workouts in the heat, I probably wouldn’t even notice the temperature.
- Don’t overdo it – You may get caught up in the moment and forget you’re losing so much water while working out. Just take notice of your body every once in a while to make sure you’re not overexerting yourself.
- Keep a towel near – Don’t be gross. Nobody wants to work out with an animal next to them spraying their sweat all over the place in the air and on the floor. Please keep a towel nearby so you can keep equipment and yourself dry.
- Stress yourself – Don’t look at the heat as an obstacle that prevents you from training. Think of it as an added stressor that enhances your training. There are benefits to putting yourself in stressful situations as long as the stress is more acute than chronic.
The Awesome Benefits of Heat
- Increased rate of perspiration – Sweating is good for you. Despite what idiotic articles say, it does eliminate certain toxins. Measurably. For example, excess cadmium, arsenic, and mercury can be eliminated when you sweat.
- Heat acclimation – Train in heat and you will be able to handle heat better. Your body and mind acclimate to it like it does everything else under heavy or constant exposure. What’s the benefit of heat acclimation? You won’t seem like such a bitch in the gym when there’s no AC or fans blasting. Plus it’s nice to be flexible in hot or cold weather and not have to be in a perfectly temperature-controlled environment.
- Improved V02 Max – Heat training can increase V02 max more effectively than altitude training. Athletes who want to perform better in their sport or even just their CrossFit training know that having a good V02 max can help in most aspects of your sport and training.
Training in heat can discipline yourself to be more comfortable in discomfort. You should train yourself to not only feel more comfortable but to actually thrive in uncomfortable environments. This mentality will not only carry physical benefits but will carry benefits in other areas of your professional and personal life.