Consistency is key for any fitness regimen. However, staying active when the temperatures climb can be challenging, both physically and mentally.
Read on for some tips on how to train safely in hot weather.
Learn To Regulate Your Body Temperature
Exercising in hot weather can lead to heat exhaustion if you’re not careful. Heat exhaustion occurs when your body loses too much water and salt, typically through sweating.
Learning to regulate your body temperature by doing the following can prevent heat-related stress:
- Take a cold shower before your workout to lower your body’s core temperature.
- Don’t jump in the shower right away after your workout. Wait ten to fifteen minutes to let your body cool down slowly.
- Listen to your body. Whether you’re sparring or working on your conditioning, take frequent breaks.
- Menthol lotion can help bring your body temperature down during and after your workout.
Shorten Your Sets
Training for MMA requires developing fast-twitch muscle fibers that allow for fast and explosive movements.
MMA fighters achieve this muscle-building goal by incorporating short and intense exercises into their workout, such as HIIT or sprinting.
As an athlete, you know that working out results in muscles releasing lactic acid. Typically, muscles can sustain intense effort for thirty seconds before producing lactic acid.
Lactic acid production is a normal component of an MMA workout, but you should know that resistance to heat decreases once lactic acid levels go up. Adjust your fitness goals accordingly, and try adopting shorter sets to limit lactic acid production.
Prioritize Working Out Indoors
Exercising in a cool environment can help regulate your body temperature. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the temperature should be between 68 and 72°. A gym should also have good air circulation.
Aim to reproduce these conditions when exercising at home. Placing a fan in a window is a great way to improve ventilation.
If you have a home with central air, improve insulation to help lower the temperature in your home gym. Your at-home MMA gym should already have some floor mats, but you can upgrade your at-home gym equipment by adding more insulation panels for the walls.
Wear the Right Workout Gear
If you’re not sparring, wear loose and breathable workout clothes. Mesh clothing is an excellent option for staying cool. Synthetic materials will typically keep your body temperature lower compared to cotton clothes.
Sparring calls for wearing protective gear, but you can add lightweight gear to your at-home gym equipment or limit the time you spend wearing protective gear to avoid overheating.
Since most MMA fighters train barefoot, finding lightweight footwear shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you wear gym shoes for your conditioning, opt for breathable shoes with a mesh upper and moisture-wicking materials.
Watch Out for Dehydration
Drinking plenty of fluids is important year-round, but staying hydrated is crucial for reducing your risks of experiencing heat-related stress.
Start hydrating two or three hours before your workout. Drinking 16 oz of cool water should provide your body with plenty of fluids before you start sweating.
You can also make a few changes to your diet and introduce more smoothies, cold soups, or broths to increase your water intake during the day.
Stay hydrated during your workout by drinking 7 oz of liquid every 15 minutes. Don’t wait to feel thirsty to drink.
Drinking cool water will help regulate your body temperature while providing you with the hydration you need, but it might not be sufficient for an intense workout.
Because heat can make you sweat more than usual, your body will deplete its salt reserves faster. You can replenish it with an electrolyte beverage. Keep hydrating after the workout to replenish the fluids you lost.
It’s also crucial to learn to recognize the signs of dehydration, including dizziness, headaches, dark urine, and fatigue. Watch out for these symptoms during and after your workout, and stop exercising right away if you start feeling dehydrated.
Staying Motivated in the Heat
Staying motivated isn’t easy when the heat makes you feel sluggish, and having to adapt your workouts to accommodate for the hot weather can make it difficult to get the results you want.
If you start losing your motivation, there are strategies you can use. Finding a workout buddy who can spare with you and make you accountable is a great place to start.
You can also keep things interesting by challenging yourself with a new workout routine or even learning something new. Your fighting style will benefit from studying a new martial art, like Jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, Kung fu, or Krav Maga.
Working out in hot weather can be challenging, but you can keep up with your training regimen if you prepare. Upgrade your at-home gym equipment with better insulation to keep this room as cool as possible, adopt a strategy to stay hydrated, and make a few changes to your training program to avoid long reps.