Hydrate with Antioxidants

My new favorite way to drink water = Ice Cold H20 + Splash of Pomegranate Juice We could all use a little extra hydration in the summer months, but sometimes tap water is…unexciting. I keep a bottle of Pom Wonderful at … Continue reading

Heat, Humidity and How to Deal

1341339466645_3598161Virginia is hot.  Virginia is humid.  I wait all year for summer only to remember how brutal workouts can be in this climate.  So many of us struggle through our our workouts during summer months, but do you know what exactly makes heat such a stress on the body? Let me shed some light.

  • As a cooling mechanism, your body sends more blood to circulate through the body.  The blood moves away from your hot core to cool down your system.  That flush you quickly experience during hot workouts is the appearance of blood being pumped to the surface of the body.  This leaves less blood available to your muscles.
  • The excess blood being pumped throughout your body increases your heart rate.
  • Since the blood is being circulated to cool the body, the heart and lungs are forced to work harder in hot conditions to deliver oxygen to the muscles.
  • Sweat evaporates at a slower rate in humid weather.  The extra coat of moisture on your skin raises your body temperature even higher.

When your body is not adapted to hot conditions, the weather can cause enough stress to make your average run a brutal one.  We have all experienced this.  I remember the torture of summer lacrosse camp like it was yesterday. Ninety plus degree weather on turf fields  would leave me feeling like a slug. Luckily, the human body can and will adapt well if you are physically fit.  In less than two weeks of dealing with hot humid weather you will begin to exercise with a bit more ease:

  • Your body’s cooling system will kick in faster, meaning you will begin to sweat earlier in your workout
  • Your body will begin to make more blood, which will put less stress on your heart and lungs
  • Your overall heart rate will slow down when exercising in heat due to the extra blood being produced
  • The body will begin to work more efficiently, needing less energy to do the same amount of work

This doesn’t mean you can go run 6 miles at the height of the day on a sunny street. That would be plain stupid. Don’t be stupid.  Work around the heat!

  • Try two a days: do 30 minutes  in the morning and 30 minutes in the late afternoon or evening–the down side is two showers.
  • Get up with the sun: it’s the coolest part of the day in the summer
  • Seek shade: make an extra effort to find a shaded trail or street while running.
  • Replace what you lose in sweat: weigh yourself before your outdoor workout and again after.  For every pound you lose, drink 16 ounces of water.  Be sure to drink that amount before your next outdoor workout as a preventative measure.
  • Wear sunscreen: sunburn is an added stress on your body that will affect your performance
  • Dress for the heat: wear lightweight and light colored clothing. In reality, wear minimal clothing. You will never see me running with a shirt on in weather above 75 degrees.
  • Don’t go overboard: especially when first adapting to heat.  Take breaks when you are feeling over heated. There is nothing worse or more scary than heat exhaustion!

Now go get acclimated!

The Best Detox: Exercise

This past weekend I went to Las Vegas to “celebrate life” with my best friends.  After two full days of ongoing alcohol consumption, very little sleep and no exercise (dancing excluded) our bodies were wrecked.  Our raspy voices, under eye bags and off kilter digestive systems proved it.  Today I am feeling a little inspired by our distressed physical state and would like to share how I rid my body of toxins after vacation or in our case a bender…a juice cleanse is not the answer.

detox)Lately cleanses and detoxes are everywhere: “Drink this sugary green juice for three plus days and detoxify your body”.  Everyone who knows me has heard me rant about how pointless and counterproductive juice cleanses can be.  I have advised clients and friends against them.  But all the skinny celebrities do it and they look good, so I am ignored.  This leads them to go through with the cleanse; depriving themselves for a three to fourteen day period followed by a fat and carbohydrate binge.  In the end you are just putting more stress on your body and creating more toxins.

The thing is, your body is naturally designed to detoxify. It is in a constant state of detoxification (or ridding of waste).

  • Ever heard of poop? pee? I don’t mean to be vulgar, but your colon and kidneys do a pretty good job if you let them.
  • Our lungs serve as a  filter.  Debris and toxins are removed before delivering oxygen throughout the body.
  • The lymph system picks up any unwanted substances to filter through your lymph nodes.
  • Our skin rids our body of toxins through perspiration.

Did you know your body detoxes 8 times faster when in motion versus when sedentary? So why does exercise aid in detox?

  • You get your blood flowing, which prompts your organs to do work (liver, lymph nodes, digestive system).
  • You breath deeply and circulate oxygen to through the body, giving off carbon dioxide (a waste product).
  • You sweat, washing out waste and toxins in your perspiration.
  • You move and fire up lymph to circulate through the body.  The lymph system has no pump like the circulatory system, so to activate, you must be in motion.
  • You reduce stress, which has a toxic effect on the body.

In order to be successful in detoxifying you must be drinking plenty of water to help flush out  waste products.  So before you start your exercise, make sure your pee is clear.  When you are looking to rid the body of toxins engage in  aerobic exercise at a low to medium intensity.  This allows you to breath evenly, delivering oxygen to the body.  By getting your heart rate up, blood begins pumping through out the body, activating your detoxifying organs.  You don’t want to be gasping for air, instead you should try the talk test.  If you are able to talk comfortably while exercising, you are at the right intensity for detoxification.  Low Intensity Steady State (also known as LISS) exercise can be performed through briskly walking, running, cycling, swimming and yoga.

Do you exercise with a hang over? It’s sort of my M.O.  I usually roll and of bed, chug water until my pee is clear and get out the door on my run before the worst of it even hits.  It’s usually pretty miserable, but by the time I finish and rehydrate I am ready for my day.

So next time you wake up after a night of drinking or over eating, skip the fad cleanse.  Run long and slow, or engage in a Vinyasa flow.  Drink tons of water before and after to flush toxins.

Below is 30 minute detox flow yoga video. It will help to heat up the body and wring out toxins with twists.  The instructor Clara Roberts-Oss is one of my favorites. I hope enjoy!

For more information on exercise as detox click here.