Seriously, people…it’s HOT out there. I know most of my fellow CrossFitters are huge fans of all things summertime. In fact, I’ve seen many hard-core athletes from the box seriously THROW DOWN on some pavement in the scorching sun, but what about those of us who, well, let’s just say we’re a little averse to all this…ahem…warmth? I mean, I really don’t need to feel like a baby chick in an incubator for months every year, but alas, I’ve not yet convinced my family to move to Alaska.
What’s the best way for us anti-summer peeps to get motivated, embrace the heat, and get through the melting months?
Most people say they lose weight in the summertime, what with all the movement and the sweating. Not me. Nope, you can usually find me conserving energy in some air-conditioned venue where both ice-cream-eating and extreme napping are considered sporting events. However, I hear that’s not the way to stay (or get) fit, so in an effort to turn things around, I’ve come up with a list, a survival guide of sorts.
How to survive summer and even exercise a moderate amount without constantly worrying about impending doom and melting into the sidewalk:
- Drink water. In all seriousness, drink your damned water. If you thought you were sweating before, NOW you’re sweating like a pig at the State Fair, so drink up. If you get post-WOD headaches, there’s a fair chance you’re dehydrated—which gives you even more reasons to drink your water. Trust me, those headaches are brutal and tough to get rid of. Also, being dehydrated increases the chances you’ll get dizzy and end up flat on your face, or embarrassingly enough, barf your protein shake up all over the floor. Stay in front of all these things by drinking plenty throughout the day, and especially when you’re working hard.
- Electrolytes are important, too. In addition to water, when you sweat and work out in the sun, you’re losing even more electrolytes, specifically sodium, which means you need to be sure to replace them. Electrolytes allow your body to properly exchange nutrients and waste between cells, they regulate nerve and muscle function, and they maintain fluid balance in your body. Replace electrolytes by consuming whole grains, seeds, nuts, leafy greens, almond milk, or by taking supplements.
- Time of day matters. Unless you’re a hard-core athlete (I am most certainly NOT one of those), the heat may not be your friend. We all admire the top-level athletes who can battle through the middle-of-the-afternoon summertime WODs, but some of us aren’t ready for them. If the heat gets to you, opt for early mornings or evenings after the sun is setting so you feel less of the sun’s wrath.
- Scale & modify. Scaling is not just for hot weather; in fact, it’s a wise decision for a lot of athletes. However, if you feel like the weather is giving you a beat-down, it can help then as well. And remember, if the heat really has you down and you feel like sitting one out, cooler sports like swimming and playing with your kiddos while they’re enjoying their time off school are good ways to stay active and burn a few calories without burning up!
- Check your gear. Now is NOT the time for your hoodie and sweatpants. I mean, I wear capris, because summertime + thick thighs = enough chafing to start a campfire. And ain’t no one got time for that. But aside from that, go for lightweight gear, shorts, tanks, tees, and whatever makes you comfortable, yet keeps you as cool as possible. There is plenty of specialty gear that’s labeled as “high tech,” and specially made to keep athletes cool, so if you’re up for investing in your summer workout wardrobe, that’s an option, too.
- Your body is smart; so listen to it. No WOD is worth your life or, for that matter, injury or illness. If you get going and find that you have to slow down, take a break, or even stop, just do it. Don’t push past your own personal limits in the scorching heat.
We all know and love CrossFit for the fact that it inspires us to push past what we’ve set as our limits, and that goes for the summertime, too. Just listen to your own body, your coaches, and use common sense to get your through. You’ll probably never find me voluntarily torching my way through a WOD under the sun, but I’m willing to make an effort to trade up my hard-core couch-sitting for some moderate workout-like behavior…if I’m guaranteed some proper air conditioning after the fact.
I’ll also happily cheer for the badasses who can hack the heat and tear through some serious WODs while summer beats down on us. You, my friends, are beasts!