Heat without a sauna

Hey all,
Heat has always been my downfall. And with my A race (TT) in the middle of July, I need all the help I can get.
I have read and listened to a lot of content talking about a sauna after a ride for recovery and heat tolerance (specifically listening to the April 30th 2019 episode). But I don’t have room for a portable sauna at home and don’t want to go to a gym or something just for it.
I’m wondering if I wear lots of layers on the trainer if that would provide the same benefits?
In my case I can wear a base layer, two sweaters, and a jacket, along with thermal pants, and no fan.
I’ve tried it a few times and when I was done I could wring out all the clothes, so I know heat is generated.
But is this enough? And if so, how long should I do it? Would it be best to throw the layers on after a workout for about 30 minutes, or should I do my two easy days (1 hour recovery rides) like that for the entire time? I know it’s about core temp for a specific period of time. So could this setup work or is it not worth it?
And yes, I’m aware you can’t workout like that, which is why I would do it on recovery rides or extra endurance after a scheduled workout.

You can use your bathtub as well.


Is not riding the trainer indoors without fans sufficient? The pros are doing indoor trainer blocks using a core temp sensor just before big races to get a plasma volume boost.


Yup, ditching cooling by eliminating fans will make a big difference. Adding layers of clothing is the next step. Potentially elevating room temp is a third, but maybe tougher one depending on the training area in use.

What about closing the door, keeping the fans on, but also running a dehumidifier? I have temp/humidity sensors on each floor of my house because I’m a geek but I’ll be damned if that dehumidifier doesn’t spike the heat in my pain cave when I’m training. However 82 degrees and 45% humidity is much much better than 77 and 75% humidity. I haven’t closed the door but I’d imagine I could probably get that room up to a good 85 pretty easily if not higher. (It’s in a basement so before I get on my bike it’s in the low 60s)

EDIT: Ignore this. Humidity is beneficial to raise core temp and promote heat acclimatization.

I ride in our main living area so closing doors and turning the heat on isn’t possible unless I want a divorce…
I add the extra layers because I don’t want to do this with any sort of intensity, so noodling doesn’t quite generate enough heat without layers.

I live in Utah. I haven’t seen a single humidity in over a decade.:sunglasses:


A PVC sauna suit (multiple cheap options online) will be superior to layering clothing for expediting the process as heat won’t escape.

All else equal, adding humidity to air will increase the perceived temperature not decrease it. This is why air conditioner strip out moisture from the air. So a dehumidifier is going to the opposite of what you are suggesting.

Closing the door might help but running a dehumidifier would probably cool you off more because it would make your sweat evaporate easier

1 Like

Wow, yes you’re absolutely right I think. (I’m no expert)

I was focused on the idea that core temp needs to rise for heat acclimatization so I went right to air temp, but core temp would rise faster in an environment (high humidity) that didn’t allow the body to cool itself off as well.

Thanks for noting that!

1 Like

I’ve been considering using my car as a make shift sauna. Why not? Put some towels down, do your workout, then go sweat it out. or, has the science been shifting towards heat while exercising is better? Obviously the car idea is limited to when it’s actually hot outside, but that’s usually when acclimation would make sense?

1 Like

Maybe don’t do that without telling someone? At least a sauna has a timer that will turn it off after some time if you passed out. A sealed up car on a super hot day could be dangerous.


I’ve been wondering - does heat adaptation come equally from working out with a raised core body temp or from sitting in a saunas. Have there been studies?

When you listen to what the pros are doing, it’s mini blocks of indoor trainer training with an elevated body temperature. They seem to do it right before a big race. I’ve never heard about a pro using their sauna religiously to acclimate to heat.

…this all sounds horrible :joy:


Search Dan Plews (or endureIQ). He’s a PhD, as well as the fastest ever amateur in IM Hawaii. In short, yes there have been studies (he’s running lots of them) and he’s done some solid dumbing of things down to a level non sports scientists can use and apply

So no fan, more clothes indoors, sauna… Then what? How do you know that you are getting these adaptations? How do i know what is enough? How many times a week etc…

The easy way to tell is the same as knowing you’re improving with other means of training - increased power per same HR in same conditions, decreased rpe for same power, etc.

What I’ve read timing wise is 10-14 sessions from around 3.5 to 1 week out of key race day (at least from a triathlon perspective)

If you can, start riding outside when it’s hot.

Was just about to say that lol. Riding in the heat has always been a limiter for me, so I will easily be able to tell if I can stay strong when it’s hot out. That’s what I’m hoping for.