Heat... we ask for it every winter, and get it every summer, and many of us struggle to keep the motivation to ride, run or hike when the temps crest into the 90's. We asked our Pro and VIP riders for their top 10 tips to keep you on your game when the heat is bearing down!
1. Hydrate - this is top of every list, everywhere, for everyone. Hydration is key, but it really falls into 3 categories - Pre Exercise, During and Recovery. Fluid intake prior should start 2 days before, or be a part of your normal lifestyle. Be careful though, too much fluid will flush out needed electrolytes. Alex Forte, VKCX Pro, uses Hammer Nutrition products to keep her game sharp. Starting the day before, use a hydration supplement to build up electrolytes as you hydrate, and be sure to drink during and after exercise!
2. Electrolyte Replenishment- Sodium is the #1 mineral your body uses for hydration to keep itself running, but it is also the one you lose the fastest. No need to binge with the salt, but keeping sodium on the table in small amounts prior to your workout will help your body maintain a proper balance going into your day. Be sure to use hydration mix during your work out, our VIP's love Scratch Sport and Osmo. We also love Clif Blocks with extra sodium when the heat is bearing down and the sweat is pouring out!
3. Moisture Wicking Fabric - Hopefully you are riding with a high quality Vanderkitten kit that's proven in competition to speed moisture removal, and cooling, while you ride. Our new Evo fabric is the same fabric, developed in Europe, used by many top European road teams on multi-day stages. The open weave gives you more airflow across your skin while pulling away moisture and heat and giving you sun protection.
4. Put Ice in your Bottles - Insulated bottles are a MUST when the heat is on, although drinking cold water does little to cool your core during your exercise. The benefit is the perception of being cooler and encouraging you to drink more fluids while exercising. Dousing your head and neck can provide an instant cooling sensation as well, just make sure it's not sports drink!
5. Ice Wrap - A trick of the trade in Europe is to cut a women's stocking, fill it with ice, and wrap it around your neck. This has been shown to decrease core temps a couple degrees (0.5c). The challenge is coordinating the ice wrap with your ride!
6. Low Fat Nutrition - Consuming foods that are light, full of protein and complex carbs, but easy to digest will help you feel fueled without being bogged down! Gels and bars are great on the bike, but preparing for your day out starts a day or 2 before. Steel cut oats with nut butter are a great day-of breakfast. Throw in some bananas and berries to up the Potassium! Pro-Tip - Coconut Oil contains long-buring fatty acids that help keep you going without bogging you down.
7. Skip the Sunny Route - Finding hiking, running and riding routes draped in shade will be a super-win when the sun is bearing down. Modify your output and route based on the weather and maximize the shade. Start early and end early when you can!
8. Wear Arm Skins - You'll see a lot of riders adopting thin, "arm-coolers" on hot days! We sell the (and have White ones coming soon). Many riders wear these instead of sunscreen because they will actually pull moisture off of your skin and allow for better cooling. They also keep skin temps lower and create the feeling of a cooler ride.
9. Freeze your bottles - Starting a ride in 90+ degree weather means everything will get hot very quickly, including your water. Freezing one of your bottles will give you insurance for the second hour of your ride. Wether its dousing your head, or needing the psychological lift of a cold drink, freezing a bottle and using to cool you down is a great way to beat the heat! Studies have shown slushie drinks post exercise cool the core very fast!!
10. Bring more than you think you need - Bring more gels and nutrition than you think you might need. Nothing is worse than bonking in the heat. Be diligent about consuming easy to burn fuel. Those gels and bars have sodium and carbohydrates which will keep your body and mind in the game!