Summer sports require extra attention to sports nutrition to stay healthy and protected from heat specific fitness and nutritional problems. The summer heat can cause dehydration, heat stroke, and gastrointestinal (GI) distress if athletes are not attentive to their nutritional demands during summer training. A dietitian-nutritionist with a certification and background in sports nutrition can help you adjust your diet to fit your training needs.
Endurance athlete nutrition also gets a big overhaul during the summer months to help balance electrolytes lost from sweating and undergoes constant monitoring during competitive endurance events in the summer. Dehydration is one of the top reasons that athletes fall ill while participating in summer sports. Dehydration can sneak up on your body quickly so it’s important to stay on top of hydration during your activities. Not only do our bodies work harder in the summer heat, we also sweat more putting us at a higher risk for dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Sometimes we get so busy and preoccupied with training that we forget to drink enough or don’t realize that we are thirsty.
Endurance nutrition teaches us that early signs of dehydration include having a dry mouth, not being able to urinate often, darker colored urine, and muscle cramps. If you do not recognize dehydration in the early stages, it can progress to severe hydration levels. Severe dehydration can cause you to feel dizzy, have rapid breathing, lack of energy or confusion, and eventually you will pass out and lose consciousness. If your body is in severe dehydration, you will need a trip to the emergency room to replace lost fluids quickly intravenously. If you notice dehydration in the early stages, take a break from your training or sports and drink fluids. Be sure you are getting electrolytes in addition to just water. You can drink a sports drink or take electrolyte tablets to help supplement the lost minerals. Many athletes will set a timer on their watch and will take a sip of fluids every time the watch beeps to help them remember to drink.
GI distress is another problem that summer athletes sometimes experience if their nutrition is not adjusted for the warmer days. Meals eaten before training or competition should be light enough that it doesn’t sit heavily in your stomach. Endurance sports pull blood away from the intestinal track and into the legs and rest of the body to accommodate the extra output and demand you are putting on your body. This causes many athletes to have GI problems during their workouts. Sticking with lighter meals that are easily digestible can help prevent this discomfort. One person’s superfood can be another person’s poison, so be open to trying different nutritional options when experimenting with what works best for you. Endurance nutrition sports training can be challenging since everyone’s body reacts differently.
Contact a dietitian or nutritionist to help you customize your summer nutrition plan if you participate in summer sports. Ready to expand your client offerings as a personal trainer with a certification in sports nutrition? Click below to get started today with ASFA!