Advice Please: Training in the Heat

I’m living in Seoul, South Korea, and summer is here. This means bright, beautiful sunlight most everyday and daytime temperatures ranging between about 30C/86F and 35C/95F with humidity.

This has had a significant effect on my training:

  1. Field work. In June, when it was cooler, I could do ten laps around a soccer field (around 350m or so) at 63 seconds each with a 1 minute break between each rep. Now I can only do this three times before I start slowing down (toward the end I have trouble doing them in 90 seconds!)

  2. Hill sprints. I do five reps with 3 minutes to sprint up and jog down. In June I could get to the top in 42-45 seconds for all five reps. Now I can only do it twice, followed by 50 seconds for three (this hill is in the shade, which helps considerably).

  3. Weight training. My gym is in the basement at my university. Because it’s free, administration doesn’t air condition it. The first few exercises I do are still okay, but halfway through my workout performance drops a lot: longer breaks required, lack of focus on later sets, etc.

What should I do? My focus is on not losing my speed and strength and to wait out the heat (it should cool off by October). Should I focus on doing only a few sprints really fast? Should I focus on a few compound lifts in the gym with intensity and neglect lesser exercises? Thank you for your advice.

Stop being a pussy. And stay hydrated!

Work out in the early morning before it gets hot.

And x2 on the comments from hrdgnr.

[quote]hardgnr wrote:
Stop being a pussy. And stay hydrated![/quote]

Big time

Metroflex where Ronnie use train is a good example of people doing what you have to do, roasting hot summers, with no air-con and Ronnie is in there blasting it out winning 8 Mr.Olympia titles. Theres even vid on youtube where he talks about how hot it is.

Down water!

Agreed. I’ve trained in places with higher altitudes and much higher temps than that and have been fine. So you work up sweat…drink a ton of water and press on. The human body is amazingly efficient at adapting to new environments…it just takes a few weeks.

-Stay hydrated through the day, hydrate the night before
-Work out early morning or at night so you avoid the heat
-It could help to lay a cool towel (think of keeping a rag in a cooler of ice) on your neck/wrists, since the veins are either major or close to the skin, which will help cool your body.

Otherwise it is natural that as you are in a hotter climate your body will have to work harder to cool itself, which will negatively impact your performance. The books I am reading point out that heart rate will be higher at submaximal exercise intensities than they would usually be, which means you will not be able to reach the same intensity you could in a cooler environment. Avoid the heat would be the best option. If you cannot avoid the heat, you will have to either cut your workout short, drop the weight, or otherwise have worse workouts, which you don’t want.

I wish it was only 95F, I would run during the day. Instead I have to wait until the sun goes down so at least that isn’t beating on me. It’s 101F and pretty close to sunset right now.

Hell it was 82F when I went to work at 7am this morning. I keep my A/C at home set to 80F and my A/C gym isn’t much cooler than that. I still do all my cardio outside, I just do it when the sun isn’t beating on me.

Grow a set and stay hydrated. Workout in the early part of the day if it bothers you that much.


The humidity in the state of GA is worse than the temp. I try to not do squats or deadlifts first or the rest of my workout is crap. I workout in my carport all year so as the weather changes I become acclimated slowly until end of June then it is hell, even at 7-8 am. I drink a lot of gatorade and try to arrange my exercises so I don’t have 2 demanding movements back to back.Legs and back are the worse.

When I was in the Marines, I spent a summer in Korea. The heat and humidity can be brutal. We made sure to stay hydrated. And that was difficult to do in that place. We constantly drank water and hardly had to pee.

But, like the others have said, change your schedule if you can and just make sure you are drinking water constantly. Drink plenty before your workout and during.