I’m looking forward to the hot weather, especially the hot workouts at my CrossFit (rightfully named The Hot Box).
A large body of sports science shows that heat acclimatization, or increased heat tolerance, through exposure to a controlled hot environment such as a sauna or a hot gym, can lead to heat acclimation (a series of adaptations that occur in response to heat stress).
Heat acclimation can allow athletes to perform better in high heat environments and increase their work output as well as:
- improve cardiovascular mechanisms,
- reduce overall metabolic and muscular strain,
- increase muscle perfusion (better blood flow to skeletal muscles) which leads to a reduced rate of glycogen depletion (you burn through carbs slower),
- lower heartrate,
- lower core body temperature during exercise,
- increase heat shock proteins (makes you more resilient to stress, increases muscle hypertrophy and prevents muscle atrophy (muscle loss)
- increase level red blood cell count,
- increase the efficiently of oxygen transported to muscles,
- increase in growth hormones,
- increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (increased growth of neuro cells/cognitive performance)
To avoid any potential negative side effects, drink enough water that contains electrolytes and minerals. Adding a pinch of Himalayan salt is one of the best ways to added these minerals. Electrolytes will help your body absorb the water better and contradictory to popular belief, good quality salt like Himalayan salt is actually good for you, especially if you sweat a lot. Himalayan salt contains over 84 different minerals and trace elements critical for health. Another option is to take an electrolyte supplement. Avoid any electrolyte supplements that contain sugar, especially sugary drinks like Gatorade.
Gut problems such as gastric distress can often result from athletes who exercise intensely in hot environments. This may be caused by the combination of stress and the simultaneous raising of your body’s core temperature, resulting in increased intestinal permeability (also called leaky gut), allowing toxins to leak into the bloodstream.
One research study revealed that taking colostrum may mitigate the negative effects of intestinal permeability and the potential for heat stroke. Colostrum, the fluid that a mother produces within the first 24 hours after giving birth, contains growth factors designed to strengthen the gut lining. This is crucial for a newborn mammal whose very permeable gut needs to toughen up fast. This is also why babies or children raised on soy milk – or anyone who has ever been on a bout of gut disrupting antibiotics – should undoubtedly be considering colostrum. This is the colostrum I use.
It’s recommended to take colostrum for two weeks prior to exercise — basically a “loading phase” to prevent and heal intestinal permeability.
So get out in the heat every once and a while and become heat acclimated – you’ll get better cardiac output, increase your efficiency of cooling, improve your tolerance to hotter temperatures, and enhance overall endurance and performance. Just make sure to take the proper precautions.