Shape Studio: Outdoor HIIT Routine for Hot, Muggy Days

Sweltering temps don’t mean you need to cancel your workout all together — it just means you to move smarter.

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If it feels like you've been living in a literal sauna for the past three months, you're not just imagining it. June 2021 was the hottest month on Earth in 127 years, with record heat waves blasting swaths of the United States.

Despite higher-than-normal temps, though, for fitness fans (which, if you're here, there's a fairly solid chance you are!), this presents a predicament: How are you supposed to workout without keeling over from heat exhaustion?

The simple solution? Find an expert-curated routine that's been designed to allow you to move (safely) in the heat, like this 35-minute blast from Lucy Sexton and Tracy Carlinsky, founders of Bonded by the Burn.

Though Sexton and Carlinsky workout is technically categorized as a HIIT routine, don't expect to see the types of bounds, leaps, and limb-flailing you might see in a typical boot camp class. Instead, the pair (who teach Bonded by the Burn classes in tandem from two locations in the U.S., with Carlinsky in Colorado and New York and Sexton in Florida) walk you through a series of concentrated, controlled movements with mild cardio — making the session totally doable on even the muggiest of days. (Related: How to Protect Yourself Against Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke)

The star of the show? Resistance bands, both medium- and heavy-tension mini bands (Buy It, $9, amazon.com) and large-loop resistance bands (Buy It, $17, amazon.com). Both work your muscles from a multitude of angles, according to Sexton and Carlinsky.

ICYDK, training with resistance bands is a great way to build strength without needing much bulky equipment. Plus, free weights (such as barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells) can be particularly hard on your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, upping your chance for injury (which is something to definitely be concerned about when your brain might be a big foggy from the added heat). With resistance bands, however, your muscles control the movement throughout its entire cycle, reducing the chance of hurting yourself. (More here: The Benefits of Working Out with Resistance Bands)

How to Stay Safe Sweating in the Heat

Although having a heat- and humidity-approved HIIT routine is a solid start for working out outside, taking some extra precautions before lacing up can help stave off heat-related issues.

First and foremost: Make sure you're properly hydrated. The American Council on Exercise recommends guzzling 17 to 20 ounces of water two to three hours before moving, eight ounces every 20 to 30 minutes leading up to, or during the warmup for, your session, and seven to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes while exercising. Slap on a cute cap for added sun protection, wear light, loose clothing, and slather on plenty of sunscreen, too. (Related: The Best Sunscreen Sticks for On-the-Go Application)

The most important factor for staying safe while sweating in the heat, though, is listening to your body. If you're thirsty, take a drink. And if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or start cramping, stop. Carlinsky and Sexton will be waiting for you when you return!

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