Handling The Heat
Here in Roswell, GA, we’ve entered full blown summer mode. Temperatures are well into the 90s with 60% humidity or higher on a regular daily basis. You are likely familiar with the side effects of rising temperatures on your nutrition and fitness.
- You’re less hungry and maybe struggle finding the motivation to eat
- You’re maybe less active because…well it’s hot!!
- You are more fatigued or quicker to fatigue in your workouts
- Your motivation is pretty low
- You have more frequent energy crashes and lulls throughout the day
- You struggle sleeping
- You feel bloated and “swollen” more often (making your appetite worse!)
There are more, but from personal experience and from working with athletes through the summer months, these are the most common ones.
The #1 solution MOST people go to is the classic:
Drink more water
This is a mistake.
YES, you do need water. BUT it’s more complex than that. Really what you need is…
In hotter temperatures, not only are you losing water but you’re also losing electrolytes. Electrolytes are the minerals in your body that have a charge. Sodium, potassium, calcium, chlorine, etc. Knowing these isn’t crucial…knowing what they do is! Found in most of your bodily fluids (blood, urine, etc.) these electrolytes facilitate most of the cellular communication and transport in your body. They help move things (like that water you’re chugging) into your cells. They also move things out of your cells (like waste). They facilitate energy production. They balance your pH to keep you healthy. They keep your muscles, nervous system, heart, and other VERY essential processes working. When you sweat, which you do more in the summer, you lose water but you also lose electrolytes that need to be replenished. You can find electrolytes in drinks, supplements and whole foods (especially fruits and vegetables!). You also could just start salting your foods. Salt isn’t bad for you…and most likely you aren’t getting enough.
Glucose (in addition to electrolytes) help transport water from your bloodstream into your cells where it can be put to work. Eating a low carb diet or simply too few carbs (especially around your workouts) means that you don’t have the necessary tools to adequately hydrate your body. If you wake up frequently in the middle of the night to pee, you’re likely not eating enough carbs (because if that water you’re drinking can’t get into your cells, it only has one way out). Your body is physically able to control your bladder while you sleep…if you’re finding that this is not the case, you likely need to eat more carbs! Carbs (especially pre- and post-workout) will also improve your energy for your workouts and help you recover.
The biggest complaint is a lack of appetite…BUT you need food…and water…and electrolytes…so you have to eat. Eating less will only make your symptoms worse. What you need to do here is figure out what adjustments you can make to keep you interested in food. Changing your meal timing or frequency will change up your hunger cues and response. If you’re not as hungry, eat less at each meal and increase the frequency. Most of us are working from home so this is an excellent opportunity to experiment with your body and see how it responds to0 changes. Eat fresh foods. Fruits and veggies are pleasing to the appetite and are fresh and not as heavy as more calorie dense foods. The sugars in fruits will also help trigger hunger responses.
Heat acclimation takes time. On average, it takes 10-14 days of consistent exercise lasting at least 60 minutes to fully acclimate to the heat. In that 10-14 day window, you’re likely taking some rest days or not getting the full 60 minutes, which just means it may take closer to 3 full weeks to adjust to the heat. In that time, you simply need to be patient. You need to plan…and you may need to force the habit for a bit.
Are you interested in making classes at One Fellowship Fitness part of your workout routine? To learn more about One Fellowship Fitness in Roswell and our range of programs, get in touch with Team One Fellowship today.