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Tips for Working Out in the Dirty South in Summer

Tips for working out on the surface of the sun – or in the Dirty South in summer.


You been outside, or even seen the outside?  Holy hell, guys, this heat is no joke.  But, we're Dirty South Fit and we don't make excuses.  We're still gonna find a way to stay active, even when it's 150 degrees and 200% humidity.  What makes us Dirty South Fit is that we find ways to work around these obstacles. 

Do a quick Google search for "working out in the heat" and you're gonna find a million articles that say the same thing:
- Drink lots of water
- Wear loose, light colored, sweat wicking clothes
- Find shade
- Workout at appropriate times of the day

Well, yeah... Drink lots of water?  Sure, that's good advice.  But let's be real, these tips could be applied to any workout, any time.  If you want to stick to your program in the heat of the Dirty South summer, there's a few more things you gotta know. 

1. Adjust your expectations.
Your performance is going to suffer, and that's okay.  If you can crank out a 25 minute 5k in the spring when it's 60 degrees with no humidity, and now it's pushing 100 with high humidity, don't expect to set a new personal record.  Save yourself the disappointment and adjust your expectations for the workout. Instead of focusing on each one as a unique event, think about the long game.  You may not be breaking records now, but every workout you put in when it's hot, even the slow ones, keep you prepared for when it cools off.  And, sometimes, it's okay to go out for a run and turn the timer off. 

2. Change your workout.
Some of the workouts you typically do when it's cool might not be your best option in the blazing heat.  So, change the program.  Instead of going for a run, what about trying swimming instead?  If swimming isn't your thing, try shorter interval runs instead.  One of my personal favorites in the heat is a timed circuit with rest built in.  This type of format gives you breaks in the workout to grab some water and to get your heart rate under control.  Next time you're getting after it in the heat, give this one a try:

5 exercises, 60 seconds per exercise, go straight through without rest.  At the end of the circuit, rest 2-3 minutes.  Repeat 4 times (5 for advanced).
Mountain Climbers
Jump Squats

3. Listen to your body.
The most important thing to do in the heat is listen to your body.  Do the best that you're capable of doing at the time.  Go at a pace that's appropriate for the situation.  If you don't feel comfortable, change the plan.  Add more rest, go at a slower tempo, do fewer rounds, etc. Prepare ahead of time by knowing the symptoms of heat related illnesses. Play it safe.  Remember, doing something is always better than doing nothing, even if it's lighter than you intended.


Kevin Snodgrass


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