In 2013 I owned a CrossFit box in “Famously Hot” Columbia, South Carolina. As early as March all the way thru November our box was cookin’. We didn’t have air conditioning in the warehouse we rented, only a few large industrial size fans that basically just blew hot air on us.
Every workout resulted in a sopping wet, sweat soaked floor. Being from the Mid-West I was always concerned about someone dropping dead from heat exhaustion. We would always promote these few things to maintain a safe environment for training in the heat.
1– Recognize signs of heat exhaustion. Increased heart rate (above what feels normal), feeling lightheaded, disorientation, absence of sweating and nausea. If this happens, stop exercising immediately and go cool down.
2– Ease into it. If you aren’t use to exercising in the heat, work your way up to a full workout. Just do-little bits at a time to get acclimated.
3 – If you start feeling heat exhaustion symptoms, slow down. You can always speed up later but slowing down will allow you to regain homeostasis.
4- Dress appropriately. Wear light loose clothes that promote staying cool.
5- Stay hydrated. Take breaks to get more water and come to the workout well hydrated. Also, working out in the heat with a hangover is a recipe for disaster. Be smart.
With all of this out of the way, there are several benefits to consistent training in the heat. Now remember, it’s important to acclimate yourself to the temperatures first but after you can expect the following benefits.
1) Increased blood plasma – this leads to better cardio fitness and oxygen consumption.
2) Reduced overall core temperatures
3) Reduced lactic acid in the system
Keep these things in mind this summer and don’t let the heat stop you!