Judge by feel or pee

Meyken Houppermans, PhD. CrossFit Level 3 Trainer.
Founder and Head Coach
Summer time and it's freaking hot outside. Should you push yourself at the gym or is there a more effective way to workout?

Slowing down automatically

During a hot summer, our energy levels and nutritional intake can be a bit low. Our body automatically adjusts to the circumstances. Which is great, because this slowing- down is a self- protection mechanism against too much stress. You can’t expect your body to perform 100% all the time, no matter the circumstances.

But, what if you’re an athlete and you still want to workout? (hard,  preferably). What do you do if you arrive at the gym and the Workout Of the Day demands you to do a seriously heavy training, while it's over 30 degrees outside?

Always judge by feel

The most important thing we always need to do, but we most of the time forget, is: judge by feel. Judge by feel means waking up in the morning and assessing yourself: Do you feel well- rested and strong, or are you still exhausted and have some pains here and there?

By assessing yourself, you have the opportunity to create the most effective workout there is. Because 85% of your one rep max may feel ok when you’re well- rested and well- fed, but not if you are tired and didn’t get a proper meal. So 85% can feel totally different on different days.

In that case, should you stop whining and just push yourself to lift that 85% anyway?  No! What most likely will occur is an injury. Maybe not immediately, but big chance it will happen in the long run. Simply because you’re pushing your body over the edge. So, if today 85% feels too heavy, you go back to 75% and work on a perfect form and technique. In that way, by the time you feel ok again, that 85% will be a piece of cake!

Judge by feel. Have the balls to be humble. Step over your ego and lower your weights or intensity. This will definitely give you more results in the long run.

It is far more effective to stick to what your body tells you, than to go blindly for what is prescribed on the whiteboard. Respect your body by taking 5 minutes to listen to it, and to make smart and healthy choices that contribute to your training journey. Train to keep training. You are not a sheep that has to follow everyone else without using your brain.

Judge by pee

One of the important aspects of judge by feel is your (morning) pee. In case your morning pee is is yellow or brown before a workout, you will definitely not perform at your best because you are dehydrated. Low energy, muscle cramps, low blood pressure, high heart rate, and a headache are follow- up symptoms of dehydration.

You want your pee to look like water.  Therefore you need at least 2 liters of water per day and one liter for every hour of exercise. You want to prevent being thirsty. Do not delay having a drink, but drink throughout the day. Fluids do not only come from drinking water, but also from eating vegetables and fruits. And if you combine that with some protein and healthy fats, you can be sure to be at your best during a hot summer. (Why you need a hydration plan)

Create your own health!©