As this year’s entrants in the Tour De France can attest, cycling in hot weather is challenging for the body. Here’s how to work with the heat to maximise the effectiveness of a summer cycling workout:
- Stay cool
Hydrate fully before setting off for a cycling session to reduce the risk of dehydration in hot weather. Pop bottled beverages in the freezer so they remain cold for as long as possible during training and select electrolyte drinks, which are useful for maintaining an even concentration of sugars and salts in the body. Ride in the morning or evening to avoid the severe heat of the day but if it can’t be avoided be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen to exposed areas. Pay close attention to the forearms, tops of the ears, nose and legs to protect the skin from sunburn.
2. Eat a high carbohydrate diet
Prior to a race it’s important to eat a high carbohydrate meal so the body can store it up and turn it into energy during your ride. Slow release carbs like pasta and bread make the perfect energy reserves but they must be eaten 2 to 3 hours before a race to give the body time to break them down. During the race energy drinks with a high glucose content are better because the body doesn’t need time to convert them into energy.
3. Set an achievable pace
Cycling in the hot weather takes its toll on the body, even if you’ve eaten well. Handle heat stress by taking it slowly and gently increasing your efforts so you can meet your expectations. For an extra shot of energy, caffeine supplements and NitroMax Pro can provide a quick energy boost, reduce fatigue and increase the flow of oxygen through the body.
4. Prepare for all weathers
Always prepare for rain – take a lightweight jacket in case of summer drizzles and showers. Select a hot weather helmet to keep your head cool as well as safe and remain aware that road surfaces may become unstable and soft during very hot weather.
5. Rest to repair
Branch Chain Amino Acids increase protein synthesis, help the body to retain muscle and promote tissue repair, creating the perfect post-exercise supplement. Combine this with a protein shake or snack, eaten within 30 minutes of the end of a cycle ride, to encourage recovery. Then be sure to incorporate some down time into your cycling regime to allow the body to rest and recuperate. Structured rest and regular sleep is vital to maximising the intensity of a workout and reducing illness and fatigue. Fish oils are also useful for boosting the immune system and keeping the body fit and healthy for upcoming races.
Cycling is a fantastic exercise for losing weight, improving co-ordination and boosting muscle strength. Plus, it’s lots more fun when the weather decided to play ball.