As warmer weather approaches, many athletes may or may not be adjusting their dietary intakes to account for the heat and increased duration of exercise. Since we no longer have to worry about freezing our toes off, we may stay outside longer and exercise for longer periods of time. I don’t know about you, but Chicago weather is so up and down, that sometimes it is hard to predict what you’ll need. So it’s best to watch the weather forecast and plan accordingly. My athlete friends and I particularly like www.weatherunderground.com where you can get hourly weather predictions of temperature, precipitation, humidity, and the like.
This past weekend, I was cycling in Wisconsin on a rugged, semi-hilly terrain using my mountain bike, which is a much heavier bike than my road bike. The temperatures were hovering around 50 degrees when we started out at 6:30AM, but by 8:00AM, the sun was blazing and it was getting hot. The added weight of the mountain bike and rugged terrain made the cycling a little more challenging, therefore I definitely generated more heat that I predicted.
Five Tips for Beating the Heat During Endurance Training:
1. Consume more acidic foods prior to your event, especially if you have alkaline blood pH. Foods such as sports drinks, fruit, fruit juices, coffee, and carbohydrate containing foods will make the blood pH more acidic. Watch the coffee intake, however, it acts like a diuretic and may cause you to lose more fluid.
2. Consume both water and sports drink during your training. Be sure to carry enough of each of these with you. I needed at least 40 ounces during this last 2.5 hour cycling workout. You burn more energy and perspire more during these times, so make sure you replenish.
3. Eat every 45 minutes, preferably complex carb-containing foods if you are alkaline blood type, and foods with some protein/fat if you are on the acidic side.
4. Watch your electrolytes! People who tend to be warmer at rest will find that the approaching summer race season is tough to handle. Not only must you consume acidic foods and plenty of fluids, but you must also take in adequate electrolytes to replace those lost through perspiration. We are talking not only about sodium here, but potassium and magnesium as well. Those who perspire heavily will need to take in additional electrolytes, typically in the form of electrolyte capsules. This will help keep you from “bonking” and from getting leg and/or muscle cramps.
5. Dress in layers, and be able to take off the outer layer when the temperatures soar. In cycling, experts recommend that you start out your ride a little on the cool side because by the time you get going, you are going to heat up. This is also true of running. Using things like arm warmers and leg warmers, light wind breakers, and ear bands are great items to have that you can easily tuck into a back pocket once you get too warm. Don’t let your exercise partners tell you how to dress. Each of us has a different tolerance to heat and cold. Dress according to your Hauser Diet Type!
Once your core body temperature gets too hot, you are looking at bonking during your event if you don’t prepare yourself. This weekend was a good lesson for me! I dressed too warmly, didn’t consume enough food or liquid, and didn’t eat acidifying foods prior to my event. It happens every year! Maybe this time, I’ll learn! Don’t let that happen to you this season! If you would like some help with your training program that incorporates nutrition as well as exercise, give us a call! We’d be happy to put together a program for you!