Monday, January 17, 2011

Extreme Exercise Bonk

Well I did it, I hit a wall and "bonked" last week after my intense kickboxing workout, which happened to be my second workout of the day (I double up on Tuesdays and Thursdays).  I seem to push myself to the limit and beyond to prove that this slightly overweight mom can keep up with the fittest of the fit.  With my main focus to lose weight and my constant obsession to track every little ounce I put in my mouth, finally got the best of me.

On my drive home after class my vision started to become blurry which caused me to freak out followed by chills, hunger and exhaustion.  Even though I don't have diabetes, I knew I was having a hypoglycemia/low blood sugar moment as I have experienced seeing these same signs my mom had gone through as she had diabetes.  It literally scared the heck out of me, but luckily I made it home safely and into the arms of my husband armed with high sugar foods (banana, homemade granola & almond milk).

During any workout blood sugar is the primary determinant of how well you feel and perform, therefore it is vitally important to eat during any exercise longer than 1 or 2 hours. The calories burned in these intense exercises must be at least partially replaced during the workout or blood sugar will drop and you will feel tired. Most people misinterpret this fatigue as lack of endurance but very often it's simply low blood sugar. 

Not eating enough during extreme exercise will usually result in "the bonk". At one time or another every serious athlete will experience it. When blood sugar falls so low that further exercise becomes difficult, that's the bonk. Should it happen to you, find something sweet to eat right away and stop. Do not wait to eat and don't do anything more than necessary. It is possible to become so (physically) stressed from bonking that you wake up sick the next morning. Even if you do not get sick, you probably won't derive any positive training effect from the exercise. Recovery generally takes so long that you actually lose fitness, even if the workout had been high quality initially. 

With all the knowledge that I am gaining from my mishaps it certainly is making me stronger and wiser as I go forth on this plant powered journey to a healthy lifestyle.  For now, my gym bag is stocked with vegan lara bars and a banana which I will eat immediately after each workout.  I don't ever want to experience another bonk, that is one bonk to many! 

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you made it home safe!
    I've experienced "the bonk" several times and you are right is no fun. I do the same thing as you are doing now....I down a protein shake or bar after an intense work out and that seems to be a great fix. Of course I haven't had any intense work outs lately....opps. :o) I'm working on that though.