Feeling HOT HOT HOT!

Rather predictably, as the UK currently melts in unprecedented temperatures, I have been asked several times today how people should be training in the heat. So here goes!

1. Choose your time.

It’s a pretty good idea to train in the early morning, or late evening in the summer. This will obviously enable you to combat some of the heat of the day, regulate your temperature better and result in a more succesful session. Don’t forget though that if you are training for performance it would be wise to consider getting up even earlier to ensure you can get some suitable pre-training food in. Similarly, don’t forget to factor in extra time after an evening session to get adequate recovery food on board.

2. Water. Water water water.

In cases of mild dehydration, a drop of just 1-2% of water in the body starts having a negative impact on your neurological and physiological function. However, other statistics are available. Such as this one: Losses in excess of 5% of fluid body weight can decrease the capacity for work by about 30% (Armstrong et al. 1985; Craig and Cummings 1966; Maughan 1991; Sawka and Pandolf 1990). I’ve even referenced this one, so you KNOW I’m serious! So drink. For most people I suggest you start with a litre of water per hour of exercise, but this is a minimum. So if you are a large person, particularly sweaty, or are feeling thirsty, drink more! As for electrolyte powders and drinks? Yep, get them down you, great idea.

3. Rest periods.

Probably need to be longer. Lovely.

4. Intensity and volume.

High temperatures will often reduce your training capacity to some degree if you are not used to them. For this reason it makes sense to tone it down a bit. Generally I have found that you can maintain either intensity or volume, but seldom both. So if you want to go heavy you should be able to, but probably not for as many sets as you’d like. Similarly, if you want to do a lot of volume you may need to drop the weight down a bit.

5. Don’t train.

A radical concept for some of you I’m sure, but a familiar one for me! If you are feeling beaten up by the heat, you are struggling to train at the best times, or the idea of a gym full of sweaty people fills you with dread, just don’t train. Missing a couple of days of training when it’s extremely hot won’t do your development any harm whatsoever, whereas training too hard, and overheating in extreme temperatures can be extremely dangerous. Consider going for an evening walk somewhere shady instead, and pick up your programme again once it cools down a bit.