I think everyone in New England will agree that this was one long winter. Today’s temperature almost hit 90 degrees. This being mentioned, I think it is fair to say that the colder weather is over!
As a CrossFit coach, as the warmer months approach, I always feel the need provide two reminders to my athletes:
Just as was the case with the holiday season, parties, or in this case, picnics, become the norm. We’ve already had Memorial Day. Soon, you will be bombarded with graduation picnics. Before you know it, the 4th of July will be here with the parties that come before and after it, and of course Labor Day. In between these days, there will be “end of the school-year parties”, summer weddings, birthday parties, beach days, and days that your child’s presence is going to drive you nuts. Trust me, I love summer more than anyone, but if you’re not careful, before you know it, three months have passed of straight partying: eating and drinking non-stop. So, what can you do to stay in shape throughout the summer months? I am in no way asserting that you can’t “take it easy” a bit more, but there are a few tips that you can keep in mind to make healthier choices throughout the warmer months:
FOODS-Trade in the hotdogs for a bunless burger, or better yet, grilled chicken. No, ground beef is not the best choice of lean meat, but most hotdogs are chock full of sodium and garbage meats, that if I read you a list of the average ingredients, most of you would never eat one again! When you’re at a picnic, stay away from starchy, high-carb, sugary side-dishes. No potato salads, pasta salads, and baked beans (sugar). Try to find a bean salad perhaps or a cold vegetable salad. Instead of desserts (cookies, ice cream, cake), trade them in for fresh fruit and maybe even a little heavy whipped cream atop. And if you’re at the beach, you know you’re going to want to snack. Try bringing fruit, baby carrots, or celery with cashew butter spread on it. If you bring the chips, you’re going to eat the whole bag…
DRINKS– The biggest downfall of summertime drinking? You guessed it…Beer! Stop drinking beer regularly. One beer is equivalent to roughly two slices of bread. Now if you only had one, this may not be an issue, but most picnic-goers rarely stop at one 😉 So, what can you drink instead? You can have some red wine with ice in it, perhaps even throwing some fresh fruit and club soda in it (sangria-esque). Or, switch to tequila on the rocks with some fresh lime juice and maybe some club soda. But as always, everything in moderation…
My second concern with summer is dehydration. As the temperature heats up, you’ll sweat more. The more you sweat, clearly the more fluids you lose. Exercise performance is impaired when an individual is dehydrated by as little as 2% of body weight. Losses in excess of 5% of body weight can decrease the capacity for work by about 30% (Armstrong et al. 1985; Craig and Cummings 1966; Maughan 1991; Sawka and Pandolf 1990). Think that this can cause your WODs to suffer?
Sprint athletes are generally less concerned about the effects of dehydration than are endurance athletes. However, the capacity to perform high-intensity exercise, which results in exhaustion within a few minutes, is reduced by as much as 45% by prior dehydration corresponding to a loss of only 2.5% of body weight (Sawka, Young, Cadarette, et al. 1985).
You should be drinking HALF of your bodyweight in ounces of water a day. For instance, if a female athlete weighs 150 lbs, she should be drinking 75 ounces of water a day. Now, if she drinks alcohol, a significant amount of coffee, or works outside in the heat all day, she should be drinking EVEN MORE water.
Coconut water is a great natural electrolyte enhancer. Stay away from Gatorade and Powerade if possible, as they have excessive amounts of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup in them.
I couldn’t be more excited for the summer to be here, as I find that when I am hydrated properly, I have the best workouts… the outside running, more daylight, a great sweat…nothing like it.
Don’t allow the summer to be an excuse for you not to achieve your goals!