Hot and Dangerous (just like Kesha said)

Summer = ice coffee. At least for me (Heather here) it does, which probably doesn’t surprise many of you since I can usually be seen drinking a huge ice coffee while I’m at CFCA. I know it’s not the ideal workout beverage (it’s BAD!) but I usually have water too, so that makes it okay, right?

After taking on Barbara on a 95+ day this week I started to think about how my lax hydration model may actually be hurting my performance, recovery and general well-being. The chills I had later in the day sealed the deal – I gotta get serious about my liquid intake. I bet most of you do too. This week’s rant will focus on HOT weather training and some steps you can take to help you recover faster and perform better on hot days.

Let’s first look at how heat affects your body

Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body and can put you at risk for serious illness. It’s the truth – it’s not an excuse for bagging your workouts altogether but it can certainly impact how you feel and it’s something to take seriously. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature increase your core body temperature. As a cooling mechanism, your body pumps more blood to your skin. This means less blood for your muscles, causing your heart rate to increase further. Add a Gloucester dose of humidity and suddenly your sweat doesn’t readily evaporate from your skin. All of that = a seriously hot body!

So, what’s a CrossFitter to do?

Apparently I’m not the only one sweating kettlebells. See what our buddy, Kelly Starrett from the Mobility Wod has to say about getting real about summertime hydration:

CrossFit Endurance recommends drinking half your body weight in ounces – yikes! I’m certainly #failing when it comes to that. That should be your baseline – it does not account for fluid loss from exercising (or general sweatiness, if you’re like me.)

To replace lost fluids from working out, straight water won’t really cut it. You’re not losing just water – you’re losing both water and electrolytes in your sweat. Water alone won’t replace what you’re sweating out. In fact, athletes who neglect to replace electrolytes while hydrating run the risk of inducing hyponatremia, a potentially-fatal condition where blood sodium levels are too low.

If you want to get all scientific (and you might want to!) the best strategy for getting your salt and fluids right is to weigh yourself naked before and, as soon as possible, after workouts. Take  note of these weights and progressively increase your fluid and salt intake until you lose less than a 1/2 pound for workouts less than about 3 hours and a max of a pound for longer ones.

Here are a few ideas that should help you stay hydrated and crush your PRs, even in this heat.

  1. Fill your gym water bottle with water, a pinch or salt and a half a lemon (juiced)
  2. Instead of sugary sport drinks, look into adding a low sugar/no sugar tablet to your water, like these from Nuun and CamelBak.
  3. Drink coconut water post-workout -
In addition to refueling your glycogen stores, an 11 ounce serving of coconut water provides 670mg of potassium, 40mg of calcium, 17mg of phosphorus, and 25mg of magnesium. A tasty, Paleo friendly option!
  4. Have some fruit! The good news is that both electrolytes and fluids are present in most fruits, along with hearty doses of vitamins and antioxidants. Cantaloupe, peaches, and strawberries are mostly water and rich in potassium, an electrolyte lost through sweat.

This Runners World article, by Leslie Goldman, outlines top fruit/vegetable choices for athletes. Let us know if you like any of the recipes!

Most importantly, be aware of YOU and your body. We tend to be very good at paying attention to sore muscles and reading every label for gluten but often fall short when it comes to hydration. Get your workout on this summer and plan for it. Drink water throughout the day and prepare your workout fluids and post-WOD snack. Also, take advantage of the location – nothing beats a post-workout dunk in the ocean! Sometimes an Atlantic ice bath is just what the trainer ordered!

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