Actors Give Advice on Diet & Exercise
8 Extreme Athletes Share How They Exercise Outside Even When It's Sweltering
If working out is your job, there’s no taking a day off just because the temps have spiked. You have to sweat. So when things start heating up, these extreme athletes—everyone from surfers and hikers to motocross pros and BMX riders—put a few key strategies in place to keep cool. Take their words of advice to heart, so you too can crank out a killer workout despite the scorching heat.
Who she is: Lululemon elite ambassador, badass surfer
“Temp changes all the time because of how much I travel for surfing competitions. I could go from being in a 105-degree place one day, to below freezing two days later. So you have to be prepared and know how to adjust to the heat or the cold.
“I always stay hydrated no matter what the temperature, and I always try to take in a lot of water each day. I just go for as much as I can, and I say to myself, ‘Every moment you get to fill your water bottle up, keep putting water in there.’
“I’m really into essential oils, too, so what I like to do is get a washcloth, soak it in lavender and lemon oils, then stick it in the freezer overnight. I work out in the morning, so I’ll put it on the back of my neck in the morning until it’s not cold anymore, then put it back in the freezer while I go work out. Once I’m back, I use it again. It’s great for when I’m really hot and [it's] super relaxing.”
Who she is: Professional ultra runner with Salomon, Winner of the 2019 Western States 100 Endurance Run
“If I have an easy run on my schedule, I'll go in the heat. I think it's good for me to make myself a little uncomfortable. When I'm training for a race like Western States, where I’m logging a lot of lower-intensity miles, I do almost all of my runs in the heat. However, if I'm trying to do a high-intensity workout, I will do it in the morning, before the heat of the day. Going deep in the heat can tire you out more quickly, and you can't get as much out of training.
"To combat the heat, my friend Silke Koester makes bandanas that you can stuff ice in—I used those at Western States, where the temps were over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the canyons, and it really helped. I’m also a big believer in using GU Roctane Energy Drink and Electrolyte Capsules with ginger root. I aim to drink one 21-ounce bottle of Roctane drink per hour, and I take the salt capsules whenever I get nauseous or notice that I've stopped sweating. The ginger root really helps prevent nausea.”
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Meg Haywood Sullivan
Who she is: KEEN ambassador, snowboarder, hiker, surfer, outdoor lifestyle photographer
“I’m an outdoor lifestyle photographer, so staying in top shape and being outside are two top priorities of mine. When summertime hits, I like to get creative to get my exercise in while still enjoying the natural world.
“That said, it is always tricky sneaking in a workout when it feels like a million degrees outside. I like to hit the trail early for a morning hike before I start my day. Not only is it cooler than the rest of the day, but I have the trail to myself, too. I also try and surf once a day, either before or after work. I’ll do burpees and lunges with my girlfriends in the sand before I paddle out to surf. Having the ocean right there is the perfect way to cool off after working up a sweat.”
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Who she is: Pro ski mountaineer, founder of Corbeaux Clothing
“Maintaining a high level of fitness year-round is very important for preventing injuries, which means that, even though I’m a skiier, I have to work out throughout the summer—even in the sweltering heat. I am lucky to live in the mountains, so I can escape to cooler temps at altitude by hiking, trail running, or mountain biking. But, sometimes 90-degree temps are unavoidable and I can’t let that hold me back. So, I try to get out early in the morning or in the evening when the sun is less strong. I also drink water throughout the day, not just during the workout. Getting dehydrated during a workout on a hot day will cut it short immediately—your muscles cramp and your body starts to ‘bonk.’
“It’s also super important for me to wear loose, thin clothing that breathes well and dries quickly. Wearing layers that are too heavy out on the trail will only make you sweat more, which in turn means you become dehydrated faster. And, because I try to prevent sun damage, I also make sure my thin layers have UPF protection built in.
“Speaking of sun damage, I always make sure to wear sunscreen and a hat. The sun can be more damaging during exercise, as your blood is pumping quickly through your veins. Getting a sunburn will slow your recovery time, keeping you from getting back out there tomorrow. I don’t want that, so I’m extra careful when I’m working out in the outdoors.”
Who she is: endurance runner with The North Face
“On a typical day, I wake up and work for a few hours, then go for my run around 9 or 10 a.m. In the summer though, when it's really hot out, I'll switch the order and try to run before I start working. It keeps me from running during the heat of the day. Or, if I can't run in the morning, I'll opt for later in the evening. After dinner is my favorite time to run. Around 8 p.m. is when it’s delightful outside, plus it’s a great excuse to have recovery ice cream afterward!
“When I do run at night, I try to stay hydrated over the course of the day—not just right before or after workouts. I find that helps a lot more than chugging water and trying to run. I also eat a lot more fruit and vegetables, which are hydrating. One of my favorite things to make in the summer is a smoothie with fresh berries and coconut milk. It's so delicious and is a great way to get in some more liquids.
“To keep cool, I'll opt for lighter-colored clothing, like white or grey, instead of dark colors. I will also wear a hat or visor to shade my face. And if it’s really hot out, I'll plan my route so I can jump in the river midway through. A quick dip will keep me cool for the rest of my run.”
This easy water bottle hack will help you stay properly hydrated every single day:
Who she is: Fjallraven ambassador, mountain athlete, photographer
“I live in Colorado, and summertime here can get extremely hot—making it difficult to keep cool on a long run or hike. So the first thing I do is start early. I try to hit the trail as early as 4 a.m. to stay ahead of the heat. The early rise also has its perks because you get to watch the sun come up—so beautiful in the high country!
“I also bring plenty of snacks, usually a combo of both sweet and salty. Sugar provides a nice boost of energy, and salty protein sustains me. I love and just a simple peanut butter-filled pretzel.
“Lastly, I do my best to stick to the shade. I like to get high up in the alpine, above the trees for runs and hikes. I always wear a hat, and will bring a super-light layer to cover my shoulders and arms from getting burned. I also like keeping a bandana around my neck to soak in a river for an instant cool-off.”
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Who she is: Professional motocross racer, Red Bull athlete
“There is no better way to be ready for the heat than training in it. Your body becomes acclimated to it and learns how to cool itself more efficiently. In saying that, there are a few things that can benefit the body the day of a competition. The main thing I focus on is keeping my body cooled down before the event. I try to keep my core temp as low as possible. I usually take my shoes and socks off when I can, and about an hour before I race, I’ll even get my feet in cold water and use an ice pack on my head or neck."
Related: These Super-Easy Tweaks Will Make Exercising In The Heat Less Miserable
Who she is: Mongoose BMX athlete
“For the most part, my activities—whether it be a riding day or a gym day—will already be scheduled, and I only find out about the heat once I arrive. If I’m just out riding with friends, sometimes we will just hang out for a bit until it cools down, but at events when we have to ride at a specific time, it just becomes about doing your best to work through it. It can get pretty warm here in San Diego, so if it ends up being a hot one, there’s just a whole lot more sweat involved.
“If I have a gym day, the workouts are inside the building. The doors are usually open though, so it’s not like I’m working out in the AC or anything. Still, it really helps to have a little break from the sun, and if it’s a hot one, I definitely prefer a strength-training day over anything cardio related.
“At competitions, in between runs I make sure to try and find a shady spot to sit, and take off my helmet and gloves to cool down a bit. I don’t want to be using up all my energy when I’m just waiting around. And I’m really intent on staying hydrated—I’m constantly drinking water. At the X Games, I was taking down about eight 24-ounce bottles while at the venue each day. It’s easy to drink a ton and stay hydrated if you make sure to have a bottle easily available at all times.
Video: Sport psychology - inside the mind of champion athletes: Martin Hagger at TEDxPerth
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