From Hot To Uncomfortable
Denver has officially moved into that part of summer when it goes from simply hot to uncomfortable. As in, too hot to sit on a patio and drink a beer (without misters and an umbrella), or, more to the point, train outside.
Denver’s top fitness centers usually see a significant drop-off when winter turns to spring or spring turning into summer, but when summer turns into Death Valley, there’s no shame to bring your best training back to the gym – can you say central AC? – or, if you’re going hard, start taking the necessary precautions to account for the sun’s rays beating down on you. There are studies that show training in the heat is beneficial to increasing VO2 max, and combined with high altitude, there’s little doubt as to why endurance athletes migrate to Colorado. But being smart about heat training is always the first step.
Fitness Heat Index
For example, it might feel hotter than it really is; that’s the heat index. When humidity mixes with heat, it gets much more uncomfortable, and harder to perspire. Granted, Denver is a low-humidity city, but since we’re accustomed to low humidity, when it does spike, we all tend to feel it more. Top trainers keep an eye on the heat index.
Electrolyte It Up
The body loses sodium and potassium when it sweats, and it’s important for your training to maintain those electrolytes (among the other electrolytes in the body are calcium and magnesium). Depending on the length of your fitness training, you should balance your water consumption with electrolyte drinks – you know what they are – or a supplement you can add to your water supply.
It’s easy to bonk in the summer and more times than not, it’s not just because you’re thirsty. Keep your body chemicals balanced and it’ll help you push through.
Pace It Out
A few months ago, I discussed weight-loss challenges. Here’s the easiest weight-loss challenge ever: weigh yourself before you go running on a hot day and then weigh yourself after. You may have just lost 3-4 lbs in 45 minutes. (Every weight-loss challenge secretly relies on losing water weight to pump up your results.) In this case, though, understanding how much water weight you lose will help you properly re-hydrate, and test the limits of your fitness.
Regardless of how well you think you can take the heat, don’t overdo it. Denver can be too hot to handle, so don’t be afraid to come inside for some shade while you work out. Sure, the top trainers in Denver are cool, but in more ways than one.
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