Cruel Summer: Exercising in the Heat

Welcome to summer, y’all! As soon as this irregular northwestern gloom clears, we’ll soon all be sweltering together. While there’s reasonable dread about this time of year, when the air is redolent with honeysuckle and yesterday’s garbage, it can be a time of sweaty enjoyment.

As a personal trainer and the token jock at Freed Bodyworks, I observe the heat as a challenge, not a deterrent, to my hardy exercise habit. Our bodies are built to adjust to the heat, but that magical process takes roughly two weeks. To ease this harsh jump into the heat, I’ve typed up some tips to make your settling into summer a little more comfortable. My hope is to encourage you to enjoy safe, strenuous workouts in the great outdoors, and appreciate the light and warmth of the summer months. During this time, I entreat you to be attentive and patient with your body, and treat yourself as your own most important person.

 Preparing for the Heat:

  1. Start early. Once the temperature starts to creep above 82*F (27*C), and the sun gets higher in the sky, exercise becomes incrementally more challenging. While that adjustment to an earlier start can be … painful, it can be the best way to start fresh. For motivation, I enjoy getting my summer sweat on with the (actually-all-year) November Project, which kicks off its free and magical “hills for breakfast” workout at 6:30 a.m.

  2. Make it easier for your body to cool down swiftly. Wear light, breathable clothes, such that your hard-earned sweat can evaporate as quickly as possible. If your energy is going towards maintaining a regular body temperature, it will be considerably harder to kick out a third set of squats.

  3. Ensure your clothing is comfortable and not restrictive. Like many humans, I experience thigh chaffing in the summer. To make my runs less painful, I wear a light legging to keep my thighs from rubbing together.

  4. Protect yourself from the sun’s mighty rays: apply sunscreen (with an SPF over 15), and perhaps even consider donning a fetching baseball cap for coverage.

  5. Adjust your expectations. During your adjustment phase (ie. now), I’d suggest limiting the intensity of your outdoor workouts. Be prepared for it to take you longer to run a mile, for hills to be more arduous, and for sprints to be more challenging. You’re being a boss just by getting your sweat on — now’s not the time to set your PRs.

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    Running with a fury for chips up 15th street for November Project!

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“Keep Telling Yourself, ‘This Workout Feels Good’

My friend/housemate Steve sent me this awesome article by Gretchen Reynolds about the impact of positive self-talk on exercise performance. The approach of exhaustion is an interesting place to do research, and personally, I love pushing myself longer and further in my workouts.

So today, I tried to incorporate these findings into my workout, trying to ramp up the positivity in my workout. As it was a “nuclear arms” day, my own encouragement did keep me from quitting after my third set of dips. Because I believed that I could do them.

For me, I like to think of my workouts as games, where I’m… well, Link. Or She-hulk. Or, um, Donkey Kong. And I think of them as games that I’m good at, and I get to push into the “Hard” mode. In my workouts, there’s mini-quests and bosses to fight, and things to jump over, and all the components of an awesome game. And in my workout, I tried to imagine myself as “feeling good” and feeling “powerful.” My best friend and I said “Level UP!” more than once. 

 In my mind, there are plenty of roads that get you to the intensity of a good workout — that optimal place where you’re pushing at your max. I like pushing myself through positivity — I like trainers who tell me that I *can* do something, and that I just have to try it. I like being in a large group, and feeling everyone’s excitement to move together. I like working out with a partner, and knowing that they’ll spot me, and that they’re working hard with me. Adding that extra dose of positivity from myself definitely made the workout sweeter.

That doesn’t make me less sore right now.

Iron Aries!

I was a chubby kid. And an unhealthy teen.

But as a grown-up, I’ve tried to found something close to a happy medium through regular exercise. Running, dancing, and calisthenics are my self-care.

As a massage therapist, I’ve definitely been pushed, both physically and mentally, to have a more complete understanding of bodies. I seen a number of clients in regards to pain management and injury recovery, and in our sessions, I’ve craved a more complete understanding of kinesthesiology and anatomy. I’ve wanted to be more skilled at explaining “good” soreness and “bad” soreness, and be more able to field questions about athletic training. I want to learn all the things. Continue reading