Training in summer can be difficult; warm temperatures, intense sunlight and the temptation to spend the evenings in the park rather than on the training ground are all barriers to working out at this time of year.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right alterations to your routine, you can carry on training even on the hottest summer day. Here are our top five ways to get the most from your summer training.
One: Cool down BEFORE you train
The cooler your body is when you start, the longer it takes to start sweating and the less likely you are to overheat. Even before you start to warm up, aim to keep your body as cool as possible. “Pre-cool” by taking a cold shower, drinking cold fluids and staying in a cool room.
Two: Don’t overdo the hydration
Training in the heat means that you’ll sweat more and lose more water which means that you’ll need to drink more fluids to replace the liquid and electrolytes lost. But don’t overdo it. Despite what you might think, dehydration is actually a very difficult state to reach - being thirsty doesn’t mean that you’re dehydrated. Only drink enough fluids to quench your thirst, not more. Drinking too much water during exercise can dilute the blood’s sodium levels and put extra pressure on the kidneys.
Three: Don’t cut the carbs
When it comes to nutrition, summer is traditionally the season of carb cutting and salads, but in doing so, you’re depriving yourself of some serious fuel and nutrients. Firstly, carbs provide energy which doesn’t just fuel exercise, but allows the body to keep itself cool. Secondly, consuming carbs after your workout helps to replenish glycogen levels, speeding up the recovery process and reducing the effects of muscle soreness.
Four: Pick your training time carefully
Whereas in the winter, it is advisable to train as much as possible in the middle of the day to catch a little sunlight and to take advantage of the warmest time of day, in the summer, it’s recommended to avoid this time of day and train instead in the early morning or later evening. At these times, the temperatures are more bearable and the radiation exposure from the sun is lower. Early in the morning, the air is coolest and provides a particularly fresh start to the day.
Five: Stay clear of caffeine
Generally speaking, coffee can help your training performance as the caffeine gives you an energy boost. In summer, however, caffeine isn’t such a good idea as it actually makes you sweat more and increases the rate at which fluids and electrolytes are lost. This is because caffeine is a diuretic stimulant which triggers your central nervous system and activates the sweat glands. Try alternative drinks to increase alertness like ice cold water and green tea.
Summer training doesn’t have to be difficult. By making small changes to your training routine, you can ensure that your performance remains consistent, whatever the season.