Tips for Staying Cool During Summer Training
It’s hot out there. Like, really hot. The kind of hot that saps any motivation you might have for doing anything, let alone training. If you’re like me, you’d love nothing more than to reverse-hibernate, splayed out in front of the air conditioning, binge-watching the latest television series until it’s time to sleep
But summer is also the best time to get in some awesome jiu-jitsu training. Whether you’re getting ready for the major Fall tournaments, or just staying bikini – or mankini – season ready, you have to change your training regime to adapt to the higher temperatures.
Even if you’re one of the lucky few whose academy offers A/C, you might appreciate the following tips for staying cool during summer training.
Drink Plenty of Cool Water
It goes without saying that during the summer you need to drink more water than you would have during any other time of the year. The average person should drink about two liters every day (that’s about half a gallon for my ‘Merican friends). During the summer months, that should be increased to 2.5 liters. But that’s the average person. If you’re training every day, you should drink another 1-2 liters, packed with plenty of electrolytes to replace the salts that are lost through your sweat.
Of course, putting ice in your water will help to cool your internal body temperature faster than regular water. There are two different camps on whether ice water is good for you when you’re overheating. Public media cautions against it, suggesting that you might pass out. But generally, medical professionals encourage cooling down quickly. Whichever one you believe, hopefully you’re aware enough of how your body feels to prevent getting to the point of overheating before you hydrate and rest. In which case ice water for training should be totally fine.
Wear Ultralight Gis… or No Gi at all
Unless you’re a masochist – hey, no judgement here – switch to ultralight gis during your summer training. Your typical gi is made up of a mid-weight 425-480 GSM pearl weave jacket and 10oz cotton pants, while an ultralight gi can feature a jacket as low as 375 GSM with 8oz cotton or ripstop pants. It may seem like a minuscule difference, but it does make a difference. Especially at round five or six.
Or… and my favorite option, is to just wear “no gi” at all. See what I did there? I’ve always been a big proponent of training both gi and no-gi during your jiu-jitsu career. Skills obtained in the gi will help your no-gi game, and vice versa. The benefits of switching to no-gi during the summer is no-brainer: less heavy clothing weighing you down and trapping your body heat.
Roll Near the Fan
A super-secret black belt tip to staying cool during summer training? Roll near the fan. I know, shocker, right? Unfortunately, if you’re farther down the totem pole of belt levels, this may not be a choice for you, as the higher belts will likely have already claimed this prime real estate.
But as you probably already know, jiu-jitsu is a dynamic sport. People tend to migrate across the mat. If you’re extra clever, you might be able to slyly direct that migration toward the fan or air conditioning vent. Make it a game. Figure out which techniques might aid in that endeavor (think: berimbolos and ninja rolls). That way, you kill two birds with one stone; you get access to that sweet, sweet cool air and improve your technique.
Staying cool during training isn’t limited to on-the-mat activities. You’ve probably noticed that as it gets warmer, it may take longer and longer to cool off afterward. This can have an effect on your psyche, as you feel less and less inclined to train over the course of the week, because it takes longer and longer to “feel good” afterward. This is especially the case if you actually have a day job.
A cold plunge does double duty. Not only does it provide a quick – and, well, nearly painless – way to quickly cool off after a hard training on a hot day, it also provides numerous health benefits for athletes. And you don’t need a high-tech cold plunge at hand. I’ve seen everything from an inflatable kiddy pool and an agricultural stock tank, to a top-open freezer and even a large trash can. All you need is water and ice.
We all know you’re not going to take a break from training when it gets hot. It’s hard enough to get BJJ athletes to rest when they’re injured. Hopefully these tips for staying cool during summer training will help you stay a bit more comfortable on the mat as the thermostat climbs to those triple digits.