Those big fans move air, but you can’t feel it much when it gets super hot.
We are averaging mid 90’s by noon now that July is in full swing. It’s hot. We know! And yes, due to the nature of our training, we are pushing our bodies to some uncomfortable levels. So, what do you do when you feel like you may be overheating? KNOW THE SIGNS. Below are some tips and strategies to battle training in Florida in an open-air CrossFit gym.
First off, prevent getting dehydrated in the first place. We know, you don’t like to drink a lot of water because you’ll have to go to the bathroom a lot. HOWEVER, you need to hydrate, so just do it. Not just before your WOD, but throughout the day, stay hydrated by drinking water and clear fluids (no, Diet Coke doesn’t count – you know who I’m talking to!). Dehydration of 1-2% of body weight can make you feel bad during the WOD and decrease athletic performance. Higher heat and humidity necessitate the need for fluids. And some medications can cause dehydration as well – so if you are on diuretics of any kind, be very mindful of your hydration.
Ideal fluids are water and electrolyte-containing drinks. Let’s all get smart here. The electrolytes, in the order that they are concentrated in your sweat, are:
- Sodium & Chloride (salt) – highest concentration
Coconut water is a naturally occurring beverage with a few of these minerals naturally present. Drink water. Drink water with added salt. A lot of these “electrolyte packets” you all have been bringing in to show us are full of vitamins and artificial sweeteners, but not these minerals. We don’t recommend Gatorade and some of the mainstream popular drinks as their primary ingredient, high fructose corn syrup, isn’t healthy and doesn’t help with hydration. Think simple.
Early warning signs of dehydration can include dark yellow urine, loss of energy, dizziness, cramps, loss of coordination, headaches, and unusual fatigue. If you start to experience any of these – regardless of what you’re doing – find a fan and sit down. We can bring you ice or water. Please a) don’t push through it and b) don’t be a drama king/queen….find a fan. There are several!
Throughout your training session, which will always consist of multiple parts, sip water or your drink of choice, frequently. Come to class hydrated and end class with the intent of drinking more water. While we will remind you and encourage you, these are things within your direct control. Bring water with you. If you need to refill your water bottle, we have a water fountain for that.
Acclimatization is the process through which the body deals with being introduced to a hot environment. This WILL happen – but it’s a bit challenging. Just like a hard workout, being uncomfortable is required for progress. Not much progress happens in life without stress. You are the “work ethic” generation – just be patient.
The body’s sweat rate increases after 10-14 days of heat exposure. This means that as you get “acclimated” or used to training in higher temps, you’ll sweat more. This is your body learning to deal with the increased temps, and it’s a good thing. You can’t imagine how many people come in and say “I don’t sweat”. We think to ourselves: “you wanna bet?!”. As a result of the extra sweating, a greater fluid intake will be required after acclimatization. In addition, increased sodium intake may be necessary the first 3-5 days of heat exposure since the initial increased sweat rate will result in more sodium loss. After 5-10 days, the sodium concentration in your sweat will decrease and additional supplementation may not be necessary. Always experiment, and listen to your body. And no, we’re trying to mess up your blood pressure. We’ve said this before: about 20% of the population (we know of 1 who actually knows this data in our community) has the type of blood pressure affected by excess sodium. Most people can attribute their high blood pressure to excessive refined carbohydrates…that trip to DQ and that Hoagie aren’t doing you any favors. If you’re worried about your blood pressure. Again, no, we’re not trying to GIVE YOU high blood pressure, but think about it. Dehydration can raise blood pressure. Staying hydrated can help keep it down. Test out the salt theory – see for yourself how you react.
HEAT RETAINING CLOTHING
We see it too much. Heavy, thick, non-breathable clothing…not a smart choice to train in right now. Excessive and heavy clothing increases heat stress by both interfering with evaporation of sweat and inhibiting pathways for heat loss. Let’s define excessive and heavy clothing and pose some good alternatives
- Per Ed: “the same crap you wore in the winter in the air conditioning” – haha!
- Polyester and thicker non-wrinkle fabrics
- Material thickness of more than 8-10 ounces – the box shirts are 4 ounces.
- If you’re outside, dark-colored clothing increases the body’s absorption of solar radiation…switch to light colors
- Long pants…we know that’s the only option for some of you, consider culottes or rolling up your pants legs during breaks to cool your feet and ankles
- Sleeves! Consider sleeveless shirts, tank tops, or rolling up your sleeves!
In summary, yes, we know – it’s hot, and we’re sorry. This is Florida, this is an open air CrossFit Gym, and we only have another month or two of this excess heat. Pretty soon we’ll all be complaining about the cold….which we won’t remember AT ALL!
Stay cool, stay hydrated, and be smart!