The British heatwave is challenging our energy levels and playing havoc with our routines. How can we stay on track, feel great, well and ultimately stay cool?
Living an active life in this heat is quite tough when your not accustomed to it. I suggest heading for air conditioned spaces to train such as studios and gyms or train outdoors early or later in the evenings when it’s cooler. Keep a fan with you and a using a facial spray will help you stay refreshed.
Hydrate on wake with water and eat a pre-workout meal suitable for the type of activity at least 1-2 hours before. This can be tricky if your class is early so depending what workout you are doing, match the fuel to support. The timing of your meal is an important aspect of pre-exercise nutrition. I always ensure I have something, a banana with a handful of nuts or protein bar to stoke my metabolism. Keep in mind the less time between eating and training the smaller and simpler the meal should be. Choose foods that are simple to digest that mainly contain carbohydrates and some protein. This will help prevent any stomach discomfort during your workout.
Replacing both fluids and carbohydrates during exercise is important and especially key with the hotter weather. During exercise your body primarily relies on your pre-existing glycogen and fat stores. Most exercise does not require you to worry about replacing carbohydrates during activity unless your workout is intensive, continuous and last over 90 minutes.
In hotter weather you need to replenish lost fluids to ensure your staying hydrated. Keep in mind that during an hours exercise you can loose around 1-2 litres of water. Thirst should not be the only indicator for hydration levels (thirst is a response to dehydration). The colour of your urine is an indicator. Clear or a pale yellow colour means your hydrated but the more yellow in colour the more dehydrated.
So if you feel your energy and focus flagging - drink up! Just 2 % loss will compromise your mental and physical performance. Check your fluid balance to avoid dehydration. Tailor your water intake based on weight, activity level, perspiration rate and environment.
50kg - 1.5-2 Litres
70kg - 2-2.8 Litres
100kg - 3-4 Litres
I love Hydratem8 for tracking your fluids with their BPA free reusable tracker water bottles. Avoid too much caffeine and alcohol as these are two main diuretics and I avoid sugary hypertonic drinks. The amount of sugar contained in fluids will also have an effect on its ability to hydrate you. The sugar content needs to be isotonic or less of blood to be an effective re-hydrator. Opt for plain or naturally flavoured water and drinks that contain 6g of sugar per 100g or less. Ideally replenishing with an electrolyte boosting coconut water is a natural option but you can’t beat water.
I’ve been adding a mix of fresh lemon, herbs and fruit to water. I also quite like Twinings Cold Infuse bags. The watermelon, strawberry and mint are hitting the spot nicely.
Eat cooling foods, sounds simple enough but the temperature of your food and drink affects your body’s inner thermostat. Select fruit and vegetables that contain water with the right amount of minerals seems to be the answer. Spicy foods also help, so flavour with tasty herbs and spices to not only liven up your food. Most fruits and vegetables contain a high water and mineral content but hydrating hero's are celery, tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon and leafy greens.