It’s summer time! It’s time for beach trips, vacations, no school and pool parties. That also means it’s going to be brutally hot. Many of you are probably training in a facility that is not climate controlled, or you may need to compete outside during the hottest parts of the day. Especially for people who live in the humid south, training and competing in the high heat can be problematic. It’s important to know what to do during this time of year. The last thing anyone wants is to suffer from an illness caused by overheating or dehydration. Heat related illnesses and dehydration can be detrimental to your health and even fatal. Most of the work necessary to prevent these events is done long before it’s time to train or compete. So, let’s talk about what we can do to stay hydrated and beat the heat.
Water may be the most important ingredient for healthy hydration, but it is not the only one. It is also important to make sure that we are consuming the minerals we need to make sure our bodies function as we need it to. The minerals that we need for hydration are called electrolytes. The electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and bicarbonate. These minerals are important for our muscular and neurological functions. Without them, we would not be able to move and perform at our best. The easiest way to get in those electrolytes is with our food. For example, adding salt to our food is a great way to increase sodium intake. Bananas are a great source of potassium. Calcium can be found in milk and other dairy products. Vegetables and legumes are a source of magnesium and phosphorus is found in meats and protein rich foods. I know for most of you eating the protein will be easy, but do what you can to have a diverse diet to make sure you’re getting all of the minerals necessary to maintain body functions. Taking vitamins can help supplement your diet in areas where you may be lacking, but you will need a blood test to accurately determine what that is. Take the easy path and eat a banana or brussel sprout every once and a while.
What to do During Competition
You should have been doing what is necessary to be hydrated before your competition, but that may not be possible for someone who needs to cut weight for a weigh in. Weigh in as early as you possibly can, then drink liquids immediately and start replenishing those electrolytes. Make sure you have a hearty meal, but be careful not to over eat. Once you get to the competition, it is important to make sure that you have what you need to stay hydrated. Firstly, make sure you have plenty of water. Just about every grocery store and convenience store sells water by the case for cheap, so there aren’t many excuses for not having water. It is also a good idea to bring some sports drinks. A lot of competitions are outside, with the exception of powerlifting meets, and you are going to sweat like crazy. Sports drinks help replenish electrolytes quickly that you lose from sweating. Competitions last several hours and sometimes well into the evening. So, you also need to make sure you have some snacks. Easy to digest foods like gummy bears, rice krispy treats and beef jerky can help keep you satiated and fueled for the day. Avoid heavy meals during competition as they may make you feel sluggish, and you don’t want to puke all over people during a max reps event. If you are someone who is prone to cramping, a trick that can help is mixing sodium tablets in your sports drinks. It doesn’t particularly taste great, but it’s a sure fire way to cram in electrolytes when needed. So, don’t be an idiot and try to macho your way to a heat stroke. I also don’t recommend loading up your ice chest with energy drinks. We probably shouldn’t be drinking them to begin with, and it’s definitely not the best idea to drink multiple energy drinks during a competition. They aren’t great for hydration purposes, and they can mess with your nerves in a negative way. Drink water, eat well, train hard and get after it!
If you are within driving distance of Baton Rouge and need a place to train for your next strongman competition, powerlifting meet or weightlifting meet, check out the Atlas Strength Shop for all of your training needs. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for your next visit. You can also check out our apparel line and programming options on our website. Be sure to like our Facebook page, here, and follow us on Instagram, here. Do you need a high quality energy supplement that won’t leave you with that crashing feeling? Check out veteran owned strikeforceenergy.com and use promo code ATLASSTRENGTH at checkout to get 20% off of your order. If you’re like me, and you like to bite down while lifting, you need to protect your teeth. Check out Impact Mouthguards and their custom molded mouth guards. Use promo code ATLASSTRENGTH at checkout to get 10% off of your order.
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” -C.S. Lewis