Well, the summer rolls on here in this part of the globe - and let me tell ya, it's gotten HOT and REAL humid here as of late. As in, so humid that one sweats simply sitting on a chair doing nothing (without A/C). As in, so HOT that you feel like you stepped into a furnace the moment you step out of the house. As in, I'm soaking wet after my workouts these days - I can literally wring sweat out of my clothing after my routine. And so forth. I could go on and on, but you get the idea here.
Boy am I glad I left the Middle East when I did - I don't EVEN want to think about what the weather is like this now in this part of the year. YIKES!
Anyway, getting back on topic - there's literally no respite from the heat and humidity these days - and that in turn means one has to figure out a way to work out effectively despite the oppressive weather conditions. And while it's important not to fall prey to the "Oh, it's too hot to train" syndrome, it's equally, if not more important to know how to train SAFELY during extreme weather conditions. And so, I thought I'd throw a few tips out there in this regard - mostly basic things, nothing fancy, but you'd be amazed as to how often these basic things are ignored. . .
1. Keep yourself well hydrated! This goes without saying, and is applicable to all weather conditions really, but it becomes more important in hot (and especially humid) conditions. Err on the side of caution or even a bit of excess here - there's nothing more frustrating than feeling weak in the middle of the workout due to extreme dehydration (and I've been there myself, so I know how it feels).
As for how to keep oneself hydrated, I prefer WATER to be the best drink when it comes to keeping yourself well hydrated. This is a personal choice really -nothing wrong with sports drinks and such, but at the end of the day, I've found nothing recharges my batteries during and after a tough workout as a drink of cold WATER.
2. Pick the best time of the day to train - preferably the evenings or mornings, when the sun is either going down or about to rise, as you'll do better than if you were training outside in the sun. And while the more extreme of you might enjoy the feeling of "breathing in fire" while climbing a steep hill or doing roadwork in the sun, it's not always the best thing to do for your body. Again, I've been there and done that - for more on this, see Fast and Furious Fitness.
3. Less is MORE when it comes to training in this type of weather. Now, this doesnt mean that you drastically reduce your workload or don't train progressively - what it means is that you do enough - but you don't over do it. And this is especially applicable to those of you that train with high rep bodyweight movements (like I do). So, I might shoot for a goal of 50 dips and 40 pull-ups every time I workout - but I tailor this number according to how I feel, how hard I've worked, and what kind of weather I'm training in. As a general rule, you'll probably do slightly less in real humid weather than you would in better weather - and rest assured, this is fine.
4. If your training outdoors, and doing movements that require a strong grip, you'll likely have trouble with your hands "slipping" off the bar while you exercise. This can be real frustrating (not to mention dangerous) - especially when sweat on your hands is the limiting factor as opposed to grip strength. Chalking the hands up helps with this, but you'll likely require a towel as well to wipe your forearms after each set. Wrist bands are good too - I personally don't use them, but I've heard they do a good job of absorbing the sweat on the forearms.
5. Dress for the weather - this one is obvious. Again, less is more when it comes to hot and humid conditions - I can't help but shake my head when I see folks out in thick sweatpants in the local park in this weather. . .
And that's really all there is to it - all simple and easy things that you likely already knew, but you'd be amazed at how many people neglect one or more of these points.
And with that endeth today's note. Back again soon with more!
PS: For more motivation on getting outside and training in oppressive weather conditions, read Fast and Furious Fitness - I guarantee it won't disappoint!