Here in Texas, it’s officially summer.
If you’re going to do some training or practice in self-defense, there’s a couple things of utmost importance for preserving your life and well-being:
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if it’s taking a day-long class at an outdoor gun range or just spending the day outside enjoying the sun.
Wear sunscreen. This can be a spray/lotion/cream product, or just wearing covering (but cool) clothing, brimmed hats, etc. Protect your skin.
I’d like to think most people understand the need for sunscreen (if you don’t, Google is your friend). But I see it time and time again in classes, where people don’t somehow protect themselves from the sun and by mid-day are turning red, and are nice and burned by the end of the day. If you’ve got a 2-day class, day 2 is going to be miserable.
At KR Training we’ve got sunscreen in the bathroom. Use it, please!
I used to wear my short-sleeve shirt and shorts, which is my normal summertime choice. But all day out on the range, with no shade? It just got to be too much for me, even with sunscreen.
Now I keep myself fairly covered. I wear long pants (and recently picked up a pair of Vertx Phantom Ops AirFlow upon recommendation from Caleb Causey; we’ll see how they go). I used to wear an Under Armour long-sleeve shirt underneath my KR Training shirt, but that got too hot. Now I just wear the KRT shirt with a set of Under Armour “sleeves”; I used to think these looked silly, and I still do, but they are a godsend. They keep me covered, and actually help with cooling. The only exposed skin I have are my hands, face, and neck, and I do put a high-SPF, waterproof (sweat) sunscreen on them. My days on the range are much happier this way. Yes I’m covered, but it’s with cool(ing) cover.
As Caleb Causey is famous for saying: Drink water!
But really, it’s more than that.
Eat well. Make sure your body is well-nourished. This nourishment should be every day, but sometimes life gets to us. If you know you’re going to be having a day or two of heavy physical activity out in the heat, make the effort to get your body well-nourished starting a couple days before. Like if it’s a weekend class? Start at least come Thursday morning, all day Thursday, all day Friday – and then all day through the classes. Keep your body well-fed.
If you don’t have a specific medical condition that prevents you, you should also not be afraid of taking in some extra salt, both before and during the activity. You will lose a lot of electrolytes through sweat. One thing I like to do? That “Lite Salt”? It’s actually a mix of sodium and potassium. I put about 1/4 tsp. into drinks; not enough that I truly notice a salty flavor, but enough that I get a little extra electrolyte in me — and it’s cheaper than sports drinks.
Drink more than you need. If you’re used to just taking a few gulps? Take a few more. Drink 8 oz? Drink 16. Just drink more, because you are generally fighting a losing battle.
Pay attention to your pee. It should be pretty close to clear (tho truly clear can actually be over-hydration and be diluting electrolytes). A faint yellow or straw color is good. If it’s darker yellow, if it’s brown, drink (more) water. If you’re seeing other colors, you may need medical attention (seriously).
Take care of yourself
You’re coming to the gun range to learn how to protect and preserve your life.
Preserving your life starts with your health.
Protect yourself from the sun. Protect yourself from dehydration. Protect yourself from heat exhaustion and other heat-related injuries. They are common and pretty easily preventable.
You’ll have a much more enjoyable and productive day on the range if you do.