Is global warming finally here ?

It sure feels like it, with the recent heat wave across the globe and all.  To prevent you from getting a heat stroke as we don't want you passing out in the scorching sun, here are some refreshing tips. Workouts in the heat cannot be considered enjoyable by any stretch of the imagination, yet its not entirely unheard of to make progress during the hottest of times. Be prepared to make some adjustments to your usual routine. You might just have to take it chill.

See there are many people who do manual labor all day in the hottest part of the year and they survive. Therefore realistically you should be able to get through an hour and a half workout without suffering dire consequences. Provided you listen to your body, take adequate care and follow through with the recommendations.

Getting heated

Just completing a workout in ultra-hot weather is a feat in itself. Depending on your goal however, it might not be enough for you. Ideally you are looking to improve your performance indicators and enhance your physique for the sessions to be worthwhile. It's not rocket science; it’s common sense, make adjustments to your usual exercises routine and provide your body with all the necessary nutrients to replace those being lost.

If you do decide to go through with exercise you still gotta to be careful, because heat can sneak up on you when you least expect it. Heat induced deficiencies in fluids and vital nutrients can come on amazingly fast especially at high temperatures and humidity. You can loose up to 3 litres of sweat in a single hour. Blood volume drops as a result of water loss, and if it drops too low circulation becomes impaired.  You don't want it too much so that the brain and other organs become deprived of oxygen. Dizziness and disorientation often follow. Be mindful if the body’s core temperature reaches 40c ,heat stroke can occur.  

Training in this condition is a challenge. Do you remember the queasy feeling straight after you donated blood? Well that's going to be very similar. Exactly opposite of the smart workout approach that we like.

We don't want to scare you only to make you aware of the potential implications. Fortunately there’s a lot you can do to tackle such problems.

Drink lots of water before you head to the gym and carry plenty with you.
Drink during your workout and continue to consume more afterwards. More is better than less.

According to Robert Voy, who is a former chief medical officer at the U. S. Olympic Training Center, its recommended to consume 200ml of water for every twenty minutes of exercise. Yes, water is the very best replacement fluid since it passes quickly from your stomach to your bloodstream. Fizzy (soda) and energy drinks usually contain sugar alongside additives which slows the hydration process and the water uptake by cells. Most if not all drinks are heavily loaded with caffeine, which in turn adds to the problem since caffeine promotes water loss. Steer away from coke, coffee, tea, and any product containing caffeine.

Minerals

We don't need to tell you about the importance of staying  hydrated to replace what is being lost in sweat. But we have to stress that water alone will not do the trick. Drinking high volumes of water can actually create deficiencies. As you’re sweating and replenishing lost fluids, you’re effectively washing away nutrients out of your system very rapidly.  We are referring to the water-soluble vitamins, electrolytes and minerals. Examples are something you are very likely familiar include vitamin C, the B-complex group, metals such as iron etc When the levels of these micronutrients drop significantly  your body will not be able to function properly therefore its essential to refuel and replenish lost supplies.

Organisms depend on macro and micro nutrients. You have already heard of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) when we discussed lean body mass or from your own studies. Now micronutrients are just as essential but are required in much smaller quantities then the former (hence the micro part) they comprise of vitamins, mineral. Vitamins are invlolved in energy production, immune function, blood clotting and other functions. Meanwhile, minerals play an important role in growth, bone health, fluid balance and several other processes.  When your body doesn't get the nutrients in adequate quantities, for example minerals, muscles cannot contract well and there is a general feeling of weakness. You start seeing Early-warning signs that something is missing, you get cramps, muscle tremors, possible experience lightheadedness, and fatigue.

Now in a case of vitamins there two types fat and water soluble and you only need to worry about the later. The reasons is in the name, water-soluble vitamins get flushed away as a part of a natural metabolic cycle,especially if you drink lots of water. Within the water soluble group there are the vitamin Bs that help convert the foods you eat into energy and Vitamin C helps recovery and rebuilding. Both have more functions than this and also there are other water soluble vitamins, but the point is, to fuel your body if you want to have a productive session in the gym.

There are things you can do to prepare

Take a multivitamin  that contains  vitamin C, a B-complex vitamin, and a couple of multiple minerals, An hour before training
Have a fruit like a banana. It provides a nice energy boost plus with a kick of potassium, the mineral largely responsible for muscle contractions.

During the workout, take plenty of electrolytes. If your energy starts to wane, take another multi vitamin, after your workout. Keep in mind, all these nutrients are water-soluble. Any excess is flushed out of your body.

Timing

Nutrition is one element of success but there is something else you can do to make your hot workout more productive. Can you change your training time? Perhaps early in the day or later at night to avoid the intense heat of mid-day. Pack those extra t-shirts and a sweat towel along with your water,protein bars and supplements. It can be pretty distracting trying to bench or squat in a dripping-wet t-shirt. A dry t-shirt can be your difference between a half arsed set and a personal record.

Switch up intensity

This might be a good time to change your routine. Try doing lower reps and cut back on the number of sets. For example you can skip the warm up and intermediate sets all the way to your working set, because doing 2-3 sets of 5 reps is less exhausting then 4 sets of 6-8 reps. Start with the hardest exercise such as compounds and possibly cut on the total number of exercises all together. Until the weather changes Stick with core movements and drop most, or all, isolation exercises. You can always pick up your auxiliary exercises next time, the great thing is that you are cutting down on your total workout time. Shortening your training sessions does wonders for your recovery so it all works out in the end.

An opposite approach, you might want to try is to switch to higher reps using lighter weights. Many bodybuilders do high rep training during the summer. High repetition help with shedding extra pounds and at the same time get more muscle definition. Fewer exercises, higher rep range 10+ and shorter sessions overall. Another benefit is that it gives your joints, tendons and ligaments a well deserved rest time from all the heavy lifting and also helps you identify any weak areas of your body. In fact this sort of programme is beneficial every six weeks and is an integral part of periodization (you can read more about it here), so why not do it during the summer?

Conclusion - Take it easy

It's okay to take it easy in the heat, slow down your pace. Longer rests between sets, especially the more demanding ones will do you good. Keep in the shadows, stand in front of a fan or even step outside until you feel ready for the next set. Don't forget that you should be drinking water and taking more of the water-soluble vitamins and minerals as they’re needed. The last and the most pleasant thing you can do is to cool your body temperature as soon as possible after you are done! So go ahead and  jump in a shower, or better yet, a swimming pool.

Realistically there is no reason why heat should prevent you from training. With smart planning, common sense and small adjustments to your program, you can turn a negative situation into a positive experience. Heat can be an excuse to skip a session or simply another challenge. It the end it depends on your mind set, so decide for yourself.

Side note

Any attempt to gain or maintain body weight in hot weather is met with difficulty due to diminished appetite. That's when Protein shakes come to the rescue. Two or three throughout the day will keep your fuel reserves topped up. Timing is also important for the anabolic window so be sure to drink one right after your workout and potentially one before you snooze. We don't have to tell you about the abundance of great products on the market, but if they are costly simply try milk solids or soy milk. They’re inexpensive and can be found in all supermarkets.

GymStreak’s smart workouts ensures that you don’t slack off on muscle-building even when you are steaming. All the planning has been done for you — all you need to do is follow along with the workout schedule. No more excuses; download the app today!

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