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6 Reasons to Use Vegan Protein Powder

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6 Reasons to Use Vegan Protein Powder
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If you’ve ever stood in front of a store shelf overwhelmed with all of the protein powder options, you’re not alone.

I find that for most clients who are starting a new chapter in their health and wellness plan, a boost in daily protein intake is a great first step to support overall health, metabolism, and vitality. And using a protein powder offers unmatched convenience for our often time-starved schedules.

That being said, the ever-growing list of options — ranging from whey to casein to collagen to vegan, all with various add-ins and features — can seem confusing, and clients often need guidance about where to start.

While each offering does have its ideal usage, plant-based, vegan protein powder is one option that most of us could benefit from including in our rotation.

Why Should I Use Vegan Protein Powder?

Even if you’re not following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, you might find you still benefit from incorporating vegan protein powder into your routine.

Rotating protein can support a healthy gut.

The topic of digestive and gut health is growing in popularity among health and nutrition circles, and for good reason: Your digestion is key to optimal health.

While there are several supplements that support gut health and eating strategies to optimize digestion, one of the best habits to start with is rotating proteins. In other words, try not to consume the same type of protein — whether that be from food or supplement forms — day in and day out for months on end.

Switching up your protein sources can potentially help minimize the development of adverse food reactions and sensitivities that can result from diet repetition, not to mention that variety in your nutrition plan yields a more diverse intake of nutrients.

While you might have a go-to protein powder that you’re used to, it’s best to take a break once in a while and switch it up. Incorporating a vegan option is beneficial for many, as it may not be something you regularly consume if you’re a meat eater.

It’s a dairy-free option.

Cow dairy is one of the most common food sensitivities, and as a result, there’s a growing trend of dairy-free eating. Deciding whether dairy is good or bad for your body is personal and requires experimentation and notice of your reaction, inflammation, and symptoms when consuming. (If you’re curious if it’d be beneficial for your body to go dairy-free, you can use a short-term elimination diet to help determine what’s best for you.)

However, a lot of dairy-based foods, such as milk and yogurt, are rich sources of protein, and popular dairy alternatives, such as almond milk or coconut milk yogurt, don’t hold a candle to their regular dairy counterparts when it comes to protein content.

As a result, those who are going dairy-free usually need to supplement with extra protein. Since whey and casein are both sourced from dairy, vegan protein is the next best option.

You might feel less bloated.

It’s worth noting that some people might initially experience bloating or discomfort when incorporating any kind of protein powder into their plan. It’s common to think that the protein itself is the issue, but that’s rarely the case, especially if their digestive enzymes are adequate and they’re breaking down foods optimally.

In most cases like this, it’s the type (or quality) of protein powder that may be causing an issue. Anecdotally, I’ve seen this happen quite a bit with clients using soy-based protein powders — likely because it’s a common food sensitivity and allergen. Their symptoms are usually resolved when they switch away from supplements that contain soy protein isolate to other options that might be less inflammatory.

And for those who have trouble tolerating whey protein, discomfort can sometimes be alleviated by using a grass-fed whey protein concentrate with digestive enzymes (such as bromelain and papain) added or by switching to an ultra-pure, whey isolate with less lactose. But for some, the nature of the whey protein itself can cause bloating or gas.

In that case, a high quality, soy-free, plant-based vegan protein powder usually is the ticket, providing a convenient way to increase your protein intake without an increase in digestive symptoms.

It can provide similar benefits to other protein powder options.

Some critics will argue that plant proteins are not worth supplementing because they are generally less digestible than animal proteins. While the sentiments about digestibility and lower bioavailability (AKA, absorbability) of certain nutrients are true, studies show that plant protein supplementation still provides impressive benefits.

In studies comparing pea protein to whey protein, pea protein supplementation demonstrated similar increases in muscle thickness as whey protein supplementation in those who strength train. In a small trial of 15 men, it was shown that using either pea protein isolate or whey protein isolate had similar positive impacts on appetite control, daily calorie intake, and daily calorie burn.

Incorporating pea protein with fiber (such as in our Vegan Protein Plus All in One Shake) has also demonstrated a positive effect on healthy blood-sugar control, which is pivotal for achieving and maintaining optimal health. Based on the research, this benefit may not be specific to pea protein, but is likely the result of an overall higher protein, higher fiber nutrition approach.

It performs better in certain recipes.

There are a lot of genius ways to use protein powder outside of relying on shakes alone. But if you’ve ever tried to swap out collagen, whey, or vegan protein powder called for in a recipe for another one that you had on hand, you’ve likely learned the hard way through a recipe fail that various protein powders behave differently in cooking.

Since plant-based protein is generally thicker and absorb liquids better than whey or collagen proteins, certain protein-enriched recipes rely on the properties of vegan protein to turn out correctly. I’ve also found when a thicker consistency is needed, it’s best to go with pea protein blends (such as blended with rice protein, chia protein, or chlorella protein) so they don’t taste as chalky as some other plant-based options, like hemp protein.

When I’m looking to boost my protein intake creatively, I love using vegan protein to make protein-rich treats such as breakfast brownies, black bean brownies (you can’t taste the beans, I promise!), chocolate truffles, or baked oatmeal.

Even during times when I’m using whey protein for my daily shake routine, I love the variety that these vegan protein treats can provide.

 Vegan Protein

Choosing a Powder

As with most supplements, it’s no surprise that all of the plant-based protein options on the market are not created equal in terms of ingredients and sourcing.

There are 21 amino acids, or protein building blocks, that the body needs to function. Of those, there are nine amino acids that are essential, meaning your body can’t make them and they must be obtained through diet or supplementation.

Animal proteins are called “complete proteins,” as they contain all nine essential amino acids. Some plant sources, such as soy, are also complete proteins. (Note: Soy is a common food sensitivity, so may not be right for everyone. For more, read “The Pros and Cons of Eating Soy.”)

A lot of plant-based foods, such as rice, beans, peanut, and wheat, are considered “nearly complete,” which means they may be either missing or very low in one of the essential amino acids, such as leucine, sulfur-containing amino acids, or lysine.

When choosing a vegan protein powder, it’s ideal to find one that contains complementary plant proteins so that it provides a more robust amino acid profile — especially if you’re heavily relying on protein powder to meet your protein needs. Studies have shown that combining a cereal source (such as rice) and a legume source (such as pea) is a good approach to enriching the nutrient content of plant-based protein powders.

The plant-based Life Time Vegan Protein powder is mindfully designed to mimic the amino acid profile of whey protein — a well-researched animal protein sourced from dairy — through a combination of rice protein concentrate and pea protein isolate. Similarly, Life Time’s Vegan Protein Plus All in One plant-based shake mix, often used as a vitamin-and-mineral-rich snack replacement, is sourced from pea, chia, and chlorella proteins to provide a robust amino acid profile rich in essential and branch-chain amino acids.

Both formulations are designed to provide a rich source of all nine essential amino acids to your fuel health.

What About Heavy Metals?

Vegan protein haters will sometimes cite that vegan proteins contain high amounts of heavy metals when compared to whey protein or egg proteins.

While this is true, it’s important to take this information in context. Heavy metals exist naturally in the environment, and we can get exposed to them through the air, our water, and even produce (from the plants absorbing it in the soil). This, however, is no reason to stop breathing, hydrating, or eating vegetables. Since vegan protein powders are made from plants, some naturally-occurring heavy metal exposure can be reasonably expected.

The Clean Label Project was an initiative by a consumer advocacy group that exposed certain supplement manufacturers with higher levels of heavy metals and contaminants in their products — above and beyond what would be expected from natural sources and production.

The Clean Label Project did not include Life Time’s products in their study. However, Life Time practices quality control for heavy metals on every batch of products produced, while many manufacturers control costs by a practice called “skip-lot” testing, which typically only tests every third, fourth, or fifth batch, for example.

This ensures that Life Time’s offerings are within all acceptable limits for both raw materials and final product; any supplement that would test out of spec would not end up on the shelf or be available for purchase or consumption. We have rigorous quality testing for a reason: We value safety and efficacy and want to be sure that every supplement offering is one you (and we, for our own use) can trust.

Wrapping Up

Whether you prefer an eating style that is omnivorous or plant-based, using vegan protein powder can offer convenience and specific benefits to your nutrition plan.

As with any supplement or product that you use regularly, start first by prioritizing quality and sourcing above anything else to ensure that what is on the label is actually in the container.

From there, aim to choose plant-based protein supplement options that not only are a rich source of all nine essential amino acids, but also that are low allergen and soy-free, and naturally flavored and sweetened — and that are great tasting.

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The Benefits of Personal Trainers for Over 60s

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The Benefits of Personal Trainers for Over 60s
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The Benefits of Personal Trainers for Over 60s

While many people associate personal training with a younger age group, it’s something that can be enjoyed by anyone at any stage in their life. There are so many reasons why individuals over the age of 60 should consider using a personal trainer, and today we’re going to share some of the many benefits you’ll experience when you start adding regular training sessions to your schedule. If you are looking for a personal trainer in your area, head to the ukfitness.pro homepage, and enter your location into the search box. You can then use the filters on the search results page to find a trainer with expertise in training individuals within your age group, who you can contact to get booked in for your first training session.

Personal Trainers for Over 60s Provide Safe and Effective Workouts

For individuals who haven’t maintained a regular fitness routine throughout their life, you may be overwhelmed with where to start when working out. A personal trainer for the over 60s will be able to work with any health concerns or mobility issues you are facing and offer you safe exercises for your body type. They’ll work with you to create a fitness plan that fits your needs, which may involve equipment such as a bike, rowing machine, or treadmill. If you need to only do low-impact exercise, they’ll also offer suggestions and modifications to help you keep fit and active for many years to come.

Personal Trainers for Over 60s Help You Maintain or Lose Weight

As we grow older and stop working, we often find that we become more sedentary. Gaining weight puts you at risk for some diseases, including high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. If you are struggling to keep active to either maintain or lose weight, a personal trainer will help put you back on the right path. They’ll be able to work with you to maintain a healthy weight for your height and build and keep you looking and feeling your best for many years to come.

Personal Trainers for Over 60s Look After Your Mind and Body

While we often focus on the benefits of exercise for our bodies, it also looks after our minds. If you struggle with loneliness, stress, or depression, you’ll find that the endorphins that are released during exercise can help to combat these issues. For anyone who lives alone, you’ll likely enjoy the social aspect of working with a personal trainer, who will be there to guide you throughout your sessions and help you enjoy an improved quality of life. For individuals who have stopped working, they often find they lose some confidence and self-esteem, but setting goals with your personal trainer can help to give you a feeling of accomplishment once again.

Personal Trainers for Over 60s Help to Strengthen Your Bones and Muscles

As we age, our bones and muscles often being to weaken. Alongside a protein-rich and well-balanced diet, exercise will help you to build and maintain muscle. While we all lose some muscle as we age, the longer you keep active, the less likely you will be to experience discomfort and weakness in the future. A personal trainer can work with you to incorporate small dumbbells into your workouts, which will help to build muscle and strengthen your arms and legs. They may also use resistance bands, which offer a safe and effective workout for individuals who are not used to exercising regularly or who may lack strength currently. Over time, you’ll notice your strength quickly improves and that you are fitter than you ever believed was possible at your current age.

Personal Trainers for Over 60s Boost Your Energy Levels

For anyone that finds they are constantly experiencing a midday slump, you may think that the last thing you have the energy for is exercise. However, it often has the opposite effect and can help to boost your energy levels and give you the spring in your step you need to get through the rest of your day. If you are suffering from a long-term illness, exercise could also be the key to improving your energy levels and your overall quality of life. Research shows that fatigue decreases with regular exercise, so that’s certainly a good reason to start working with a personal trainer. You’ll still be able to enjoy running around with your grandchildren for many years to come and won’t struggle to enjoy long days out with your family doing the activities you love.

Exercise Assists with Sleep and Relaxation

When we feel stressed, it’s often incredibly hard to switch off at night and fall asleep. A regular exercise routine will improve your quality of sleep and help you to relax. Stretching is something personal trainers will regularly incorporate into exercise routines, and using a yoga mat, you will soon feel more relaxed and enjoy improved sleep quality. The energy that you use up exercising will help you drop off quicker at night and stop any overthinking.

Personal Trainers for Over 60s Keep You Feeling Younger

Individuals who slow down and adopt a more sedentary lifestyle as they grow older often feel like they can’t enjoy many of the activities they did earlier in their life. We all want to make the most of our lives, and exercise is a way to help you keep that vibrancy and youthfulness for many more years. You’ll still have the energy and stamina to keep up with your children or grandchildren, which will allow you to make the most of your free time when you retire.

Final Words on Personal Trainers for Over 60s

As you can see, there are so many benefits of working with a personal trainer. Regardless of your current age, it’s never too late to get started, and you’ll find many personal trainers who are experienced at working with the over 60s. If you are looking for a personal trainer in your local area, head to the ukfitness.pro homepage, and enter your location into the search box. You can then use the filters on the search results page to find a trainer with expertise in training your age group, who you can get in touch with to enquire about their services and start on your fitness journey this year.

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What Body Parts Does the Elliptical Machine Target?

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What Body Parts Does the Elliptical Machine Target?
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Despite common misconceptions, elliptical workouts are highly beneficial. They are a lower intensity form of exercise that burns calories and improves balance.

These machines are easy to set up and use, at the gym or at home. And they’re a good way to quickly strength train your glutes, thighs, hip flexors, and both your lower and upper body, as well as increase your stamina.

Our experts explain what body parts the elliptical targets and how that impacts weight loss.

Elliptical workouts can strengthen your whole body.

“Elliptical workouts are similar to cardio exercises, like running, walking, and biking, in that they are all aerobic exercises,” explains Meghan Kennihan, an Illinois-based personal trainer and running coach.

“The biggest difference is how the elliptical targets the body. When you run or walk, your lower body is primarily at work. Elliptical training works [both] the lower body [and] the upper body. It typically targets the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and anterior tibialis. When your thigh moves backward during the gliding motion, you will feel your glutes and hamstrings. Your quadriceps get worked when your leg is moving forward. The calves and tibialis contract to stabilize the lower legs. Your core muscles are used to keep the body balanced and aligned.”

Fitness expert Candice Cunningham echoes the sentiment that elliptical workouts have the power to target your glutes, core, hamstrings, adductors and abductors, and quadriceps. If you can use moveable handles on the machine, you can also work your triceps, biceps, and shoulders, too.

When comparing walking, using an elliptical, following a treadmill workout, and cycling, a 2012 study indicated that the elliptical demonstrated the greatest activation of quadriceps and hamstrings. “When you push your foot down on the pedals, your quadriceps contract and the machine begins to move,” says Emily Emanuel, a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at a Chicago-based concierge wellness company. “The quadriceps are the major muscle group consisting of four muscles in the front of the thigh. [They] are worked the most from an elliptical workout. Utilizing the incline option will engage your lower legs and improve activation in your hamstrings behind each leg. As your leg moves back in the circular motion, your glutes contract and stabilize your pelvis.”

Pay attention to your form

Of course, these benefits depend heavily on proper form. Rob Jackson, a personal trainer at London-based Minimal FIT, recommends tensing your abdominals in order to boost your elliptical workout. Try to avoid bobbing up and down on the machine, and keep your posture upright and straight. All of these adjustments allow you to work out your entire core.

But, you can’t use the elliptical to spot reduce a body part.

Certified Personal Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist Laura Arndt says that spot reducing certain parts of the body is difficult, if not downright impossible. Instead, she suggests viewing the elliptical as an opportunity to burn calories and hit major muscle groups.

“You cannot spot reduce anything, in general,” adds Cunningham. “For example, if you’re trying to build a really big booty, then only doing the elliptical won’t get you there. You need to add in resistance training, too. If you are trying to trim down a certain area, like inner thighs, then adding resistance, speed, and incline can all help that. Pushing through your heels versus toes will help target glutes and hamstrings, as well. However, you still need a combination of resistance training and elliptical work to get the ultimate results you want.”

Still, training specific areas of the body doesn’t mean that you’ll lose more fat there, notes Jackson. your body decides where it stores fat, and that’s different for every person. If you’re looking to see muscle definition and lose fat in a particular area of the body, like “love handles,” take a well-rounded approach with diet and exercise as a whole, advises Emanuel.

Elliptical workouts can help you lose weight and increase cardio endurance.

Even though some people genuinely think elliptical workouts are either boring or not challenging enough, the data says otherwise. Using the elliptical is technically just as effective as the treadmill, in terms of weight loss, endurance, and muscle toning.

“The elliptical is a great tool to increase cardiovascular endurance,” says Emanuel. “It activates most major muscle groups [thus] increasing calorie burn, but [it] is limited when it applies to strength training. If weight loss is your goal, then the elliptical is a great option, when used in combination with proper nutrition and diet.”

For those looking to make an elliptical workout harder, Kennihan advises increasing the resistance, which will create a muscular endurance strength workout. Or, add intervals to mix things up. “Ellipticals are one of my favorite cardiovascular machines for men and women, especially if you have injuries, or you are [either] pregnant or within a year post-delivery,” says Arndt. “There is no pounding and the elliptical provides a smooth motion without picking up your feet. So it’s low-impact on your joints. But [it] will still burn a lot of calories and raise your heart rate, if used correctly. You can burn just as many calories on an elliptical as you can running and improve your cardiovascular endurance, without testing your balance or putting strain on your knees and back.”

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10 Ways to Make Your Hot Workout Feel Less Awful

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10 Ways to Make Your Hot Workout Feel Less Awful
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One scorching summer day leading up to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Phoenix-based triathlete Allysa Seely had a hard, fast interval running workout on the schedule. She waited until the evening, when she hoped it’d be cooler. But at 8:30 p.m., the thermometer still read 113 degrees.

Under the supervision of her coach, she hit the track anyway—with a few necessary adjustments. Mainly coolers. Lots of coolers.

“There was a cooler of ice for towels, a cooler with ice for water bottles, and a cooler with ice just to put down my shirt to try to stay cool,” Seely tells SELF. She also added in some extra recovery time between her intervals for good measure to keep her body from becoming overstressed.

The tactics worked. Seely hit the paces she’d planned in her workout, without developing any warning signs of heat illness (more on those in a bit). And she went on to win gold in Rio—a feat she repeated last summer in Tokyo, where it was also hot and humid.

For Seely, smart training in heat has paid off in all her races, not just the hot ones. In fact, research now suggests you can reap similar benefits from heat training as you can from working out in higher altitudes, which has long been a popular practice among endurance athletes.

“You get more bang for your buck training in a hotter temperature than you do in a cooler temperature,” she says.

But there’s a caveat: “You have to be able to then cool down and recover and adapt to that training,” Seely says. And it’s not for everyone, either: If you’re older than 60, take medications that affect your heat tolerance, or have a chronic health condition, you probably want to be more cautious and even get your doctor’s okay before exercising outdoors in the heat of summer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Plus no matter who you are, if you don’t train smartly in the heat, not only can it be very uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous.

Whether you’re aiming for a podium at a major competition or just trying to get through a few summer miles with less suffering, you can learn from Seely and other athletes who regularly face tough conditions. Here’s their advice for making your hot-weather workouts feel less terrible.

1. Allow yourself ample time to adjust to the heat—and take it slow in the meantime.

Hot workouts are not something you want to dive into, especially if your body isn’t used to the heat. In fact, you’ve probably noticed that the first really hot day of the year is when your workout feels most difficult.

That’s because your body needs time to acclimate to the heat, Liza Howard, MS, an ultrarunner, certified running coach, and teacher for NOLS Wilderness Medicine, tells SELF. Usually that takes between 10 to 14 days, according to the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, an organization that specializes in education and research on heat and hydration.

Over that period of time, with regular exposure, physiological changes that help your body better deal with the heat stress occur. For example, you get sweatier faster—and the evaporation of that liquid off your skin allows for better cooling. Other indications include your skin and core temperature staying lower and your heart rate and blood flow staying more stable.

All this means easing into hot workouts is important, Seely says; she wouldn’t have attempted that tough interval workout at the beginning of summer.

So whatever your regular routine is, take a couple steps back the first few times you take your workout outdoors in the heat, Seely suggests. Go for less time, fewer miles, or a lower intensity (maybe more walking instead of running, for instance). Over a period of a week or two, you’ll likely start to notice things feel easier, and you can start to ramp back up again—gradually.

However, even after you’re acclimated, any given workout will likely still feel harder in the heat, Kylee Van Horn, certified running coach, registered dietitian, and ultrarunner in Carbondale, Colorado, tells SELF. That isn’t necessarily bad, just something to keep in mind—so adjust your expectations and don’t get hung up on hitting the same times or paces you might be able to in cooler weather. Finally, if you still want to go superhard and it’s superhot outside, take your workout indoors.

2. Get hot when you’re not exercising.

Though it might seem counterintuitive, you can accelerate the acclimation process by spending time between workouts sweating too. In a University of Birmingham study, researchers asked 20 trained runners to hop in the sauna for 30 minutes after an easy run. After three weeks, they were more tolerant of the heat, as measured by their core body temperature and heart rate in warm workouts—and what’s more, they ran faster in more moderate weather conditions.

When she was preparing for the Speed Project in 2021—a 300-plus-mile run from Los Angeles to Las Vegas—ultrarunner Jes Woods used this method, adding 30 minutes in a sauna after each day’s run for a 10-day period. Late that May, she became the first female solo finisher of the event (many runners compete in teams).

Heat training in this way is extra helpful if you’re preparing for an event like a race or a hike in a place that’s hotter where you live and usually train. Many pro athletes swear by it. Adidas Terrex athlete and ultrarunner Abby Hall, for instance, hits the sauna for 20 to 30 minutes in the final weeks before a big event like the Western States 100 (a 100.2-mile event with temps that hit 109 when she competed there in 2021) or a Fastest Known Time race in Death Valley.

No access to a sauna? Simply sitting in a steaming bath can work as well, says Woods, who’s also a coach for Nike Running and the Chaski Endurance Collective, as well as the head trail and ultra coach for the Brooklyn Track Club. However, as Howard points out, research suggests the water needs to be about 104 degrees—a temperature that might be hard to maintain for the necessary 20 to 40 minutes. (Plus, the water temperature shouldn’t go hotter than that, according to the cdc

Spending 60 to 90 minutes in the heat doing something active but less intense than your regular exercise (say, going for a walk) might also stimulate some similar physiological changes. And simply sitting outside with a book or a smoothie could be beneficial too, by helping shift your mindset. “Sitting in [high temperatures] will likely give you more mental wherewithal to endure and enjoy than any actual physical adaptation—but mental resilience is very important too,” Howard says.

3. Go into your workout hydrated.

Preparation is key to hydration in the heat, hiker Natalie Smart, owner of a travel business called Destination Hike, tells SELF. While hydration during each hike is essential—she advises attendees of her treks to bring two liters of water to every hot-weather adventure, regardless of distance—it’s not something you can cram for. Instead, get a jump-start by staying on top of your fluids beforehand. “People don’t realize it’s the day before that can either set you up for success or failure,” she says.

Hydration is important for any exercise (and for preventing heat illness), but it plays an even more important role once the temperature heats up because you lose more fluids through sweat. So how much should you drink throughout the day? Each person is different, so it’s hard to give a blanket guideline, Van Horn says. But a good starting point is half your bodyweight in ounces, plus an extra 16 to 20 ounces for every hour of exercise you’re doing that day. You also may want to aim for taking in 16 to 20 ounces of that within the four hours before your exercise session, according to the American Society of Sports Medicine.

Make this easier on yourself by reducing any barriers between yourself and your water bottle, Van Horn suggests. One of her clients works from home—but still carts a cooler with all the fluids he needs for the day from his fridge to his desk, so he doesn’t forget to sip between meetings.

If plain water bores you, jazz it up with fruits and herbs. Van Horn’s fave combos, which she makes in an infusion pitcher like the one from Prodyne ($22, Amazon), include orange-rosemary and lavender-lemon. Or you can try an herbal iced tea.

Prodyne Fruit Infusion Flavor Pitcher

In addition, Smart recommends her hikers limit their alcohol intake the evening before an outdoor hike or other workout. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it pulls water out of your body. Not only is working out with a hangover unpleasant, it can increase your risk of dehydration and heat illness, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Also, the more you sweat, the more salt and other electrolytes you lose, Van Horn notes. If you’re out in the heat for over an hour, consider adding a sports drink or another electrolyte-enhanced beverage into one of your daily bottles. The bonus boost of flavor will probably also make it easier for you to take in fluids.

4. Use super-cold drinks and foods to chill out from the inside.

During the Speed Project, Woods and her teammates stopped at gas stations for slushies, while Seely makes her own with ice, water, and sport hydration drink mix from Skratch Labs ($21, Amazon). During her 40-kilometer (24.8-mile) bike ride at the Tokyo Games, it stayed cold until about the last lap, Seely says. These cold, icy beverages before or mid-workout drop your core temperature as they hydrate, performing a delicious

And after nearly every hot workout, Seely eats a popsicle, which both cools her insides and replenishes the fluid and sugars she expended while sweating.

Smoothies also make good options for rehydrating and refueling, especially if heat makes you lose your appetite, Van Horn says. Blending frozen fruit works for a quick snack, but if you’re going to use it as a full meal, make it balanced—meaning you should also include protein (think tofu, Greek yogurt, or protein powder) and fat (say, avocado or peanut butter).

5. Sounds strange, but try a little more clothing.

You might think a sports bra or a light tank top is your best bet when it’s toasty—and if that’s what makes you most comfortable, go for it.

But Howard, who lives in San Antonio, suggests trying lightweight long-sleeved shirts instead: “Sun beating on your skin increases your perception of the heat,” she notes, and covering up actually makes her feel cooler. Plus, you’ll have added protection from sunburn and other skin damage—and, a convenient way to wipe the sweat off your face before it drips into your eyes.

If it’s hot and dry—like it was for Howard at the Marathon des Sables, a six-day race in Morocco—loose-fitting clothes cool you down by allowing air to circulate close to your skin. Choose sweat-wicking materials, and wet them down as often as you can. Dump some water from your bottle or a water fountain on yourself if you can, or run through someone’s sprinkler.

In humid weather, like Howard encountered at the Keys100 100-miler, sweat drips down instead of evaporating into already-damp air. In these conditions, she chooses tighter-fitting (but still long-sleeved) clothes with vents, mesh panels, or small holes to create a small cooling effect. In humidity, ice and cool towels become even more critical, Woods says.

Especially if you’re hiking or otherwise exercising in natural areas, long pants instead of shorts also protect you from insects that thrive in the heat, as well as rashes from plants like poison ivy, oak, and sumac, Smart says.

Hats or visors with wide brims and flaps—like the Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap ($38, REI)—offer a further shield from the sun’s sizzle. Woods has worn wide-brimmed hats during the Speed Project and other hot ultra races: “It felt like running underneath an umbrella, like I was protected,” she says. “It was night and day.”

REI

6. Choose the time and place for your workout with comfort in mind.

Allysa Jones is an ultrarunner in Mesa, Arizona, where temperatures reach 105 to 115 and it “quite literally feels like you are stepping inside of an oven,” she says.

To beat the heat, she does most of her runs early in the morning, before the sun rises, or in the evening during sunset. Hall does the same, often starting her run at dusk and bringing a headlamp to stay out into the evening. That might not be safe or practical for everyone, depending on where you live, but aim to at least avoid.

Seely also varies her route based on the conditions. On the hottest days, she sticks to one of her nearby trails that’s shaded by trees. Consider the surface, too, she says: Heat dissipates better on a gravel trail than it does on asphalt.

Jones, meanwhile, goes for a shorter loop, so she can stay close to a cooler full of ice and drinks. That way it’s far easier to stay hydrated. You could also choose to stick closer to your home or car, in case you want a quick air-conditioning break.

7. Shove ice wherever you can.

Speaking of ice, even if you don’t have a coach to lug a cooler to the track like Seely did, there are lots of other ways to tote it.

During hot races, Seely stuffs some into a tied-off pantyhose leg, which she wraps around her neck and tucks down into her cycling kit. When it melts, the light pantyhose material doesn’t weigh her down—and she can unknot and reuse them until they’re disintegrated, reducing waste.

Jones, meanwhile, swears by ice bandanas, which you can wear around your neck, head, or wrists to make you feel cooler. Last October, during the Javelina Jundred, a 100-mile race in Arizona, temperatures climbed into the 90s, and Jones said she refreshed the ice bandanas at each aid station.

You can make your own ice bandana by rolling up ice cubes in a regular bandana—try making it more secure by sewing up the edges to keep ice inside. Or, you can buy one with a pre-made pocket for ice, like the RunCool Ice Bandana from Nathan ($20, Nathan). You could also try Cool Relief, a similar style bandana with re-freezable cold packs built in ($13, Walmart). Or try one with crystals that holds a chill when you soak it in water, such as this model from Ergodyne ($4, Amazon).

When temperatures in San Antonio climb, Howard sometimes hits the trails with a hydration vest, placing her water bottles in the front and filling the space that typically holds a bladder with ice instead. One hydration pack to try: the VaporAiress Lite 4 Liter Women’s Hydration Vest ($125, REI). Seely freezes her water bottles ahead of time and they gradually melt as she moves in the heat.

8. Tweak your workout plan to account for the conditions.

When Seely did an interval workout in the heat, she knew that, even with all the cooling mechanisms she used, she still couldn’t run exactly the same way she would if temps were less scorching.

So she built in a longer rest period between intervals. Instead of her usual 30 to 60 seconds, she waited until her heart rate dropped below 120 beats per minute before she pushed again.

Again, she’s an elite athlete, but you can modify this approach for your workout. If you’re hitting some up-tempo segments, make the rest between longer or lower-intensity (for instance, walk slowly, instead of jog). Or just go for an easy workout and save the harder stuff for another day or an indoor gym session.

9. Watch out for warning signs of heat illness.

All these steps can keep you ahead of heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which may occur when your body can’t cool itself. But the cool-down tips aren’t foolproof, so if you’re exercising in the heat, it’s vital to acquaint yourself with the signs of serious heat illness so you can stop before it gets worse—or get medical

Don’t ignore cramps in your legs, arms, or abs—they may be the first sign of heat illness, according to research in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. Next, you may feel dizzy as your blood vessels dilate in an attempt to cool your body, Howard says. You might also feel nauseous or weak, all signs of heat exhaustion, according to the CDC. In all these cases, stop what you’re doing and move to a cooler spot, and get medical help if you don’t feel better in an hour.

Altered mental state, though, is a sign of heat stroke—a more dangerous heat-related condition that requires immediate medical attention, Howard says. Always call 911 if this occurs, the CDC recommends. Other warning signs of heat stroke include throbbing headache, loss of consciousness, or a body temperature of 103 degrees or hotter.

If you do develop heat illness, you’ll likely be more susceptible to the heat for a period of time—in the case of heat stroke, for several weeks. That’s all the more reason to stay ahead of the game: “You don’t want to start cooling when we’re already really really hot; you want to start cooling at the beginning of your workout,” Seely says.

10. Shift your mindset to keep you moving forward.

Hall thrives in the heat now, but admits it wasn’t always that way. She grew up near Chicago, where winters’ long, dreary days left her with seasonal affective disorder.

“Over time, I started to associate sun and heat with being in my happy place,” she says. Once she started running ultras in her 20s and realized heat tolerance was an advantage, she grew to embrace it even more.

As long as you’re not in physical danger—none of the symptoms above are occurring—appreciating the heat as a part of your experience can make it feel much more bearable. Shifting your focus instead to the beauty of what’s around you, whether it’s a neighborhood park or a mountain you’re hiking up, can take your mind off any discomfort (not to mention concerns about times and paces) and make all the sweating worth it, Smart says.

“Being outdoors and taking in all the elements of the outside—it’s quieter, and sometimes that’s just what you need: That disconnection from the busy-busy of everyday,” she says. “It’s such a cool mental and spiritual thing.”

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