10 Essential Tips for Indoor Cycling Workouts in the Summer Heat
Yes it's best not to let the weather sidetrack your riders from achieving their fitness goals. And yes, others may use the weather as an excuse. To keep maintain their progress, pass on these tips to get the most of working out in the summer heat. Click the link above for a pretty downloadable version.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
That means, pre-hydrate, hydrate, and post-hydrate. If you get hydration right, you'll avoid heat headaches. Get into the habit of being well hydrated every day. However it works for you - whether that's always having a bottle of water at your elbow, or having a drink with and between each meal, using a hydration app, however it works for you, build the habit. This is great for your brain, great for your skin, great for everything. And when the weather heats up, you're already on a roll.
Over-hydration is a thing though. If you drink everything you can find, you'll be on the fast train to hyponatraemia, which happens when you pee out all that excess water (and sodium gets washed away with it).
Drink to thirst during your workout - or take the hint of sipping (and definitely sip, don't glug) with each recovery section.
Afterwards, maintain your healthy hydration habits - at least for the 24 hours after your workout, but if it's worth doing, it's worth keeping, right? Build the habit!
Yeah, not just any clothes - wear clothes that wick the moisture away from your skin, clothes that are light and loose-ish (but not flappy).
Change your timetable
Try earlier sessions before the day heats up. Early morning sessions enable you to get your stuff done before breakfast - in the coolest part of the day.
Yep, it's a thing. Have an iced drink or a cold shower just before your workout if it's a really hot, humid day. There's evidence to suggest that this will also improve your performance (and who doesn't want that?!) You'll start your workout feeling fresher and cooler, and that feeling will last you just that little bit longer.
Don't ignore your warm up
"But I'm already warm!" Yes, you are, but one of the reasons we warm up is so that we're supplying more blood to muscles, which means they get more oxygen - and that means you can work harder and more intensely, giving you better results. You skip the warm up and you'll miss out.
Fans are your friend
If you're going to be working out inside, make sure it's somewhere that has fans not just air conditioning. Air con is no help at all when you feel hot during a workout. It's cold when you first walk in, but as soon as you're into your workout, you lose the benefit, and then when you head for your cool down, that icy air con blast hits you right when you need it least! Head for the fans. It makes sense - they're on when you need them, and off when you don't.
Be body aware. Overheating can leave you dizzy, nauseous and clammy. It's unpleasant, and you can avoid it by turning down the intensity when your body feels like it's had enough. Sit out for a few minutes, or head for your aerobic heartrate zones - there's plenty of benefit to be had from working aerobically. Choose aerobic sessions when you're planning your week's workout.
Cool down properly
Don't rush off immediately after the workout bit. Take the cool down leisurely. Take time to bring your heartrate down. Make sure you're recovering to your lower heartrate zones before you start stretching. If you don't, you could feel dizzy or faint when you start stretching.
Oh yes. Don't forget when you sweat, you loose electrolytes as well as water - and you'll need to replace these. If you don't have high blood pressure, then eating a portion of salted nuts, olives, crisps, or crackers will provide you with the sodium and carbs you body needs.
Check the colour of your urine - darker urine means you're dehydrated (think 'lager'). If it looks lighter and more like sauvignon blanc, then you're probably well-hydrated. If it's super-pale , you're at risk of over-hydrating (but this isn't particularly usual). If it's got a pinkish, brownish or other unusual tinge (and you haven't been eating beetroots or vitamin tablets) you might like to go and get that checked.
And there we are. You're equipped to smash your fitness goals even in a glorious British summer (you never know, this could be it!)
And of course, at ICI we're here to help. It's our thing to keep you happy, healthy, and get you even fitter than ever. Here's to summer!
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