How to adapt your training to the heat

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I don’t know about you, but in our gym, it’s about a thousand degrees in summer. Here’s a few tips on how to adapt your training so you can push through those hot months with the same productivity and safety.

Please note: I am not a health professional, and all advice I can give is what I learned through research, experience and some common sense and logical thinking. If you feel like your body behaves strangely during training, seek out professional help.

Listen to your body and know your limits

We always try to push our boundaries when we’re training. It’s important to understand that in intense heat, the physical limitations of your body can shift. Don’t be upset when you can’t push yourself as hard as you can in a moderate climate.

Your body has 2 main ways of cooling down. It pushes out sweat so it can benefit from the water evaporating off your skin, which creates a cooling effect. When the air is especially humid, your sweat can’t evaporate as efficiently because the air just can’t hold as much additional water.

When your body heats up, it also pushes blood into those tiny blood vessels right under your skin so it can cool down close to the surface (this is why your face gets red). When the surrounding air is hot, the blood cools down less. Also, the more blood goes into your skin, the less blood is left for transporting oxygen into your muscles. Your body’s first priority is to survive -> to cool you down. This can result in diminished muscle power and endurance.

If you feel yourself severely overheating, take a break. Your health and safety is everyone’s first priority. If you feel your heart racing, get headaches or nausea and you can’t control your breathing, take it as a warning sign that something is severely wrong.

Stay hydrated

This seems obvious, but the hotter it is, the more you should drink. Make sure you go for room-temperature drinks, as ice-cold water shocks your body and can lead to stomach cramps. Drink consistently in smalls sips throughout training instead of half a liter at a time.

Keep in mind that through sweating, you don’t just lose water – you also need to replace the lost electrolytes. Sometimes, you drink and drink, but you’re still thirsty! That’s when you know that your body needs more than just water. Try drinking coconut water next time (the unsweetened kind would be best). I won’t pretend to have read all the science on it, and studies have shown no definite results, but I and many others have made great experiences with it. Test it and see how your body reacts. In the end, it’s your body, and you need to feel comfortable with it. Other sources claim that mineral water with a pinch of salt does the trick just as well. Only believe the statistics that you faked yourself 😉

A towel and a tight grip

When you’re sweaty, you slip. Especially when stunting, this is a huge problem. Keep a towel with you so you can wipe down your flyer from time to time. Also, make sure you wash off body lotion and sunscreen before practice.

For your hands, talcum cream is a great option. I use Tite Grip from the pole dance store. It dries quickly, leaves no residues and keeps your hands nice and dry for a few hours. You only need a tiny bit, so one tube holds forever (or you share it with your teammates).

Keep it basic

Throwing dangerous new stunts or baskets might not be the best option when you’ve been training for an hour in intense heat. Do hard tricks at the beginning of practice, and once everyone is tired and drenched in sweat, step down to some basics. If you follow the principles of perfection before progression, this will give you an equal benefit without the danger of injuries.

When in doubt, work out

If you feel like stunting is no longer safe because concentration levels are dropping and everyone’s just slipping with sweat, it’s time to stop stunting. Use the rest of training for a workout (go outside if you can for some more oxygen) or even revert to a stretching session. That way you can still optimise your training time while keeping all athletes safe.

Enjoy your summer

Next week, we’ll look at some fun activities that will keep you fit over the summer holidays – stay tuned, and don’t forget to participate in our handstand challenge (#cheeruphandstand)!

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