The bare truth about working out during summer
by Matt Hodges
11 July 2015
Summer is the best motivation to amp up your fitness regime. But whether you are a hardened gym fan or a seasonal newbie, there are a few hot weather workout myths that seem to endure year after year.
Here are a few of the most common myths you need to be aware of before you start working out in the heat…
MYTH: More sweat = a better workout
This is where summer workouts can be deceiving…are you sweating so much because you’re pushing yourself harder, or are simply overheating? Regardless, you should never use your sweat levels to measure the intensity of your workout – instead, monitor your heart-rate and you will get a much better read on your body’s capabilities.
MYTH: Swap water for sports drinks
As with most myths, there is a grain of truth in this one. When you exercise in hot weather, you lose more water and salt from your body in sweat. There are dozens of sports drinks on the market - all of which claim to have super-hydrating powers due to electrolytes and other miracle ingredients. However, these drinks are also full of sugar (or sugary substitutes) and artificial chemicals that will give you a brief energy boost but aren’t doing your insides any good. Stick to water or coconut water after a particularly big workout.
MYTH: Hot workouts are more effective
There is some science behind this myth – working out consistently in hot weather can improve performance when it comes to endurance sports such as marathon running, triathlons and long-distance cycling. However, this applies only to elite athletes who have access to teams of trainers, nutritionists and analysts on hand to look out for any harmful side effects such as heatstroke or dehydration.
In the immediate aftermath, hot workouts will cause you to lose more water weight through sweating, but this is not an accurate gauge of weight loss, as it goes back on as quickly as it is lost.
MYTH: Sun’s out, guns out
When you’re in shape, the warm weather is a great excuse to show it off. But no matter how good you look, never ever forget the number one rule of the summer: wear sunscreen. Sunburn doesn’t only look awful, it can have a detrimental effect on your workout regime too (and on your long-term health). Repetitive cardio exercise, weight lifting and even sweating will all be extremely painful, and it will slow down the recovery process for your burnt skin. Get into the habit of wearing a decent sunblock every single day, no matter the weather.