How to Train in the Texas Heat
Sweating through an outdoor workout can actually be a big fitness advantage. The heat could help improve your cardiovascular performance as long as you take the right precautions.
One of the first things you need to know are the numbers. 101 is the number of degrees Fahrenheit you need to elevate your core body temperature during an outdoor training session. 60 is the number of minutes you want to maintain that elevated temperature in order to truly get the benefits of heat acclimation.
Dangerously high temperatures, however, can result in heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Here are our top tips on how to stay cool...
Here’s what you need to know to sweat it out safely.
Hydrate. Fluid and electrolyte losses increase in the summer, and you have to ensure their replacement to sustain performance. Elevating your core body temperature to the point of passing out or getting physically ill isn’t going to score you extra points on the board. We recommend athletes consume between 16 to 24 ounces of water a few hours prior to exercising. We also suggest drinking an additional 6 to 8 ounces of water every 20 to 30 minutes of exercise.
Five electrolytes that play a critical role in maintaining muscle function are sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride. A shortage of any of these electrolytes will affect athletic performance. You can replace most of your lost electrolytes by eating a nutritious and balanced diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds. For longer workouts, supplementation is often recommended.
Dress Appropriately. Wear light-colored, moisture-wicking clothing to help keep you cool. Going shirtless might seem like a good option, but some performance fabrics could actually be a better choice. In fact, many athletic companies are offering products with lightweight mesh built into the design, which we highly recommend for both fashion and function. Accessories such as durable, ultra-light sunglasses are also a great addition to any outdoor workout. They provide protection against the sun’s intense rays, wind and dust. Pro-accessory tip: our run expert Coach Lee recommends filling a bandanna with ice, and then wrapping it around your neck before you head out for an afternoon run during the summer.
Check the RealFeel. The heat index is a combination of temperature and humidity. On a 90-degree day with 60 percent humidity, it can actually feel like it’s a scorching 100-degrees outside. Exercising in those conditions can be dangerous. We suggest that you plan your workouts for the early morning or evening, to avoid the hottest part of the day.
Make a plan. Be aware of your surroundings, and where you can seek shade when you need a break. Going for areas near trees, tall buildings and even fences can provide relief. Though the air temperature is the same, your body perceives a big difference. We also recommend that you take along your cell phone, and let your loved ones know where you are and approximately how long you’ll be gone. Be mindful of your health history. If you have heart, lung or blood pressure issues adjust your summer workouts as necessary. A word of caution. Heat-related illness can hit quickly in the Texas heat. If you aren’t feeling well, listen to your body--it’s okay to back off.
Head to the LAB. In some cases, being outdoors simply isn’t a good idea. On those days, head to enduraLAB for a great 60-minute group Strength+Conditioning or eL FIT workout taught by our world-class coaches.
Don’t let the Texas heat stop you from having fun; use common sense and avoid overdoing it. By taking the right precautions, you’ll be able to enjoy any outdoor activity with your family and friends all summer long.