Thursday, June 21, 2012

A quick thought about excessive heat and exercise

I am a CrossFitter but I do it for my health, not to compete in the CrossFit Games, or to "be a badass," or any of that chest-thumping nonsense. I also remember one of the many things I used to hate about the old days of "chronic cardio" at the old globo gym: dehydration so profound that I would have to resort to ibuprofen all summer long just to keep the headaches at bay after a morning hour or so running on a treadmill. It was like I could never catch up on hydration. It didn't help that I was running six days a week.

One of the many things I love about CrossFit is that the shorter, less-frequent, sprint-style metcon workouts just don't leave me dehydrated like those old globo-gym sessions did. And the overall results are better. I am stronger, faster and, yes, better hydrated and happier this way.

But there is a limit, for me anyway. I ran into that wall yesterday, or, to make my metaphor more accurate, I saw the wall coming and I maneuvered around it.

I couldn't make it to the morning workout, when temps were more civilized. By the time the late-afternoon workout rolled around, it was 97 degrees F (36 C, for you rest-of-the-world-ians). But (thumping chest....) I am a CrossFitter! So I went to the gym anyway. (And, no, it's not air-conditioned; it's a bigass warehouse).

We were scheduled to deadlift for a while and then do a sprint-ish metcon that was intended to last about 12 minutes or so. But holy flippin' Jebus, I was drenched after the warmup. Then I worked my way up through some deadlifts to a solid set of three at 345 pounds (157 kilos) -- a good twenty pounds off my current three-rep max, but it seemed heavy in the heat -- and I was, well.... done.

Or, more precisely, with appropriate metaphoric reference to George Clinton, I was "standing on the verge of getting it on" -- where "it" is some serious dehydration.

So, I avoided the badassness of it all and called it a day when the deadlifts were done. I left my compatriots to sweat some more, and I drove home, gulping water and a protein shake (SFH!) as I went.

And I am glad I did. This morning I feel freaking fantastic. Not a sign of dehydration. So, what's the point of this? Listen to your body. You may be the type of uberstud who can go full-throttle at 97 degrees. Go for it, duuuuude. But you may not be, and if, like me, you hear the voice of reason telling you that maybe it's stupid effing hot enough that you are already sweating profusely through every pore so just some heavy lifting and a walk sounds like enough exercise for the day, listen to that voice and do what makes sense for you.

This isn't the CrossFit Games. It's life. Don't confuse the two.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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