It’s officially summer. The weather’s getting hotter. And there’s a good chance that your training is getting hotter, too.
This can be a good thing. Summer is a time full of possibility and you can have a lot of fun with your martial arts training when the weather is good. You can take some mats to the park and have a sparring session in the fresh air. You can grab a pair of boxing gloves and a set of focus mitts or Thai pads and do some outdoor rounds. If you have a yard—or a big enough balcony—you can even do some at-home outdoor martial arts training and cross-training from the comfort of your own home.
But martial arts training in the summer comes with its own challenges, too. This includes serious issues like the increased risk of heat-related health issues like heat stroke. But it can also include less severe but still annoying problems like discomfort, stickiness, and maybe even a little stink. And unless your gym has the best air conditioning in the world, this goes for indoor training as well as outdoor training.
We covered how train safely and effectively last summer with our blog “5 Tips For Working Out In The Summer Heat.” And all of those tips still apply. If you’re planning on training outdoors this season, we recommend checking it out.
But if you’re also interested in training as comfortably as possible in this weather, this post is for you!
Let’s look at some simple steps that you can take to keep yourself and your gear fresh in the heat.
Dress for the weather.
Dressing appropriately for the heat is a matter of health and safety. Staying cool during training can prevent a number of heat-related issues. But it can also contribute to your comfort during muggy workouts, lessons, and sparring sessions. Which will make you healthier and happier this summer. Which, in turn, can also improve your performance.
When it gets hot out, you’ll feel a lot better if you wear light and breathable clothing, like a light weight martial arts uniform. Heavier weight uniforms are great for competition and for durability. But they can start to feel heavy and clammy in the summer. Switching to a lighter weave when the temperature rises can help you breathe a little easier and focus on your training without feeling like you’re wearing gear made entirely of your own boiling sweat.
Pack for the weather.
It’s always a good idea to use a well-ventilated gear bag for martial arts training. Decent airflow can prevent bacteria from building up, which can keep your gear smelling and feeling a lot better for a lot better.
In summer, ventilation becomes even more important. Sweaty gear in a hot bag can get very stinky very fast. And in some cases, that bacteria buildup and smell can be hard to get rid of. Investing in a good gear bag like the ProForce® Ultra Mesh Bag, for example, can help you keep everything a little fresher until you’re able to get home and air it out.
This is another health tip that can also make you more comfortable. Staying properly hydrated during hot training can make you feel a little less hot, sticky, and generally gross while you’re training.
Throwing an ice cube or two in your water bottle or chilling your bottle in the freezer before you train can keep you even cooler. And packing a cold water bottle in your gear bag can also keep your gear feeling a little nicer on your way to the gym.
Cool down after your cool down.
Speaking of things that you can toss in your gear bag to help you chill out, try packing an extra hand towel during the summer months. After your training session, you can run the towel under cold water and then place it on the back of your neck. This simple little hack can go a long way toward returning to your pre-exertion body temperature after a hard and sweaty training session.
Mix up your schedule.
This solution might not work for everyone. If you only have a small window of time that you can set aside in a day for training, then you have to work with the time you have available. But if you have any flexibility in the summer months, you might want to consider switching up your training routine.
If you usually train in the afternoons or evenings, see if there are morning classes, sparring sessions, or open mats at your gym. Getting more intense workouts in before things really start heating up can be safer and more pleasant at this time of year.
If it’s too hot for intense training, keep a backup workout plan or two in mind. Heavy cardio, conditioning, and sparring might not be the best idea in the middle of heat wave, but what about focusing on technique training, light sparring, or even a stretching session instead?
And if it gets really hot, here’s another backup activity to keep in mind: rest!
Rest is a fundamental part of training. It allows your body and your mind to relax and repair itself and get ready for your next session. And it’s a great way to spend the dog days of summer.