What NOT To Do

On Saturday, I met my blogger friend Monica for a special two-hour spin class at my gym.

I was psyched. I love intense workouts, I love a challenge, and most of all, I love doing these things alongside friends who share these passions.

(thanks to Monica for the picture!)

(That is literally the only picture I have of the two of us from that day. Whoops.)

Unfortunately, I did not properly prepare. I managed to make myself very sick this weekend. And, honestly, it was all my fault (I think).

Allow me to explain where I think I went wrong.

Mistake number one: Over-confidence.

I work out at very high intensities fairly often, so I didn’t really think twice about taking on this challenge. However, I’d never before done more than an hour of spinning at once (usually not even that), so I was (more than) doubling the amount I usually do. This is especially notable when I take into account that I can actually count the number of times I’ve attended a spinning class on my ten fingers. I’m definitely not invincible, so it was pretty stupid of me to act as though I was.

(Also, I’m not going to lie, it still kind of hurts to sit.)

Mistake number two: Lack of sodium intake.


I’d barely had any salt in the preceding 24 hours. Lunch and dinner on Friday were one (huge) salad split into two meals and snack had been an apple, tea and a cheese stick. That really was not enough food for the day before an intense workout.

Mistake number three: Not Carbo-loading.


As a temporary dietary restriction, I’m not really eating carbs at the moment and thus, following my plan, didn’t eat any that morning. However, I didn’t consider how that would affect my workout. I normally don’t even eat before workouts since most of mine begin at 6:30am, but this class started much later, at 11am.Β  To give myself time to digest, I had a yogurt bowl at 8:30am. Into the mix: 0% Greek yogurt, blackberries, pomegranate seeds, coconut and peanut butter.

Not even half a banana to speak of. That’s just embarrassing.

Mistake number four: not fueling or re-fueling with electrolytes or sugar.


Monica was smart enough to listen to her body and realize when she needed some coconut water. I, stupidly, did not. Not only had I not had a substantial amount of sugar to work with that morning, but I also did not bring any fuel in terms of electrolytes, either.

Here’s what I think happened: I believe had a build up of lactic acid from the length and intensity of the workout without the proper fuel.

I did try to curb this, after the fact. I suggested to Monica that she and I walk to a nearby Starbucks and pick up some iced teas and bananas. This was before I even felt sick, as I was fine for as long as I was still moving. As soon as I stopped moving, however, nausea set in pretty intensely. I had to ask Monica to wait for my iced tea so I could go outside and get some air.

I managed to (slowly) eat my banana and drink a bit of the tea, but I think by then it might have just been too late. I had to cut our time short and head home, where I promptly got sick. It was so awful that I was convinced, at the time, that I had a stomach bug.

However, about two hours later, I was starving. That, of course, is not normal during a stomach bug. Mark was kind enough to pick up some stomach bug supplies (Gatorade, SmartWaters, Saltines, chicken soup & ginger ale), which ended up being my saving grace. In just minutes (seriously), I downed half a bottle of Gatorade and ate an entire sleeve of Saltines. Suddenly, I felt loads better. Between the salt, the carbs, the sugar and the electrolytes, my body started to get back to normal.

Though I spent the rest of the day exhausted and with a terrible headache, I was, altogether, fine. By that night, I was able to eat a big meal of eggs, toast and ginger ale.

That’s an old photo. I had the toast x2.

I woke up absolutely fine on Sunday. In other words, I’m pretty sure I did this all to myself.

The lesson here, of course, is to a) be smart and b) not so rigidly stick to a diet that you end up hurting yourself. I didn’t think my actions through and now realize that of course my body need carbs before such a workout. But, you know, hindsight is 20/20.

So, don’t make the same mistakes!

For the record, despite my stupidity, I had a great time and had a blast hanging out with Monica. I just wish I’d been smarter about it and could have had more time with her!

I’m also interested to hear if you have alternate theories as to what happened (my conclusion just came from Googling the symptoms and possible causes).

Also, do you have any similar stories? Have you made similar mistakes? Share so we can all learn from each other!



Filed under Blog Posts

12 responses to “What NOT To Do

  1. Hi kaity Lynne

    I had the same thing happen (more or less) one time when I did a particularly hard jog after a few weeks of inactivity (and had only had an apple for breakfast). I felt nauseous for the rest of the day and had a horrible headache that day and the next day. Didn’t get actually sick, but I think it was a near miss. So yeah, you’re probably right as to why it happened. (not really sure about the salt and electrolytes, but sounds reasonable! :P)
    ❀ Tara

  2. Two hours of spinning?! Holy crap. I didn’t know such a thing existed! Ya’ll are hardcore.

    I’ve never done two hours of spinning but I have done two hours of running. I definitely always have some watered down Gatorade when I work out for that long. If I’m running I would take some Gu, but I think when working out that long its important to have a little calorie intake before or during the work out. Sometimes a larabar or a KIND bar or Ezekiel bread with peanut butter an hour before helps. And listening to your body. I feel like if your working out that intensely for that amount of time its important to refuel.

    Its happened to all of us πŸ™‚

  3. How scary Kaitlin! I have had that happen before when I used to bike more frequently. Well…when I had a bike 😦 It was not a good time!

  4. I wonder if what happened to you was similar to “bonking” which is better described here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitting_the_wall

  5. I can’t imagine doing spinning for 2 hours… ouch!

  6. I went on a 19 mile run without eating anything that morning. Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be doing that again πŸ™‚

    By the way, I tagged you for a stylish blogger award on my blog!

  7. theguudlife

    I’m on a extremely low-carb diet right now as well (as per Lyle McDonald’s RapidFatLoss book). One of his first rules is to not do cardio while dieting. Since your doctor put you on your diet, I’m really shocked that he didn’t warn you about sustained periods of cardio! In any case, hope you feel better soon!

  8. PS. if you don’t mind me asking, what were the specifics of your low-carb diet?

    • Hey Tracy! I actually don’t really want to put specifics on my diet on the blog for now because I’m not sure how I feel about it and don’t want to set an example that I don’t believe in. Thank you for asking, though, and thank you for your comments! And yes, you’re completely right, my doctor probably did warn me of sustained periods of cardio… but I think that’s kind of what I meant when I said I didn’t think it through and that I acted as though I was invincible. Very silly.

  9. YIKES spinning for 2 hours!! girlllll thats crazy

  10. Yay 2 hour long spin buddies!

    The only way that I knew I would need that coconut water was because I learned the hard way the first time I did a class for over an hour. Sometimes it is hard to hear what our body wants/needs, especially when we are in a state of diet transition, until our body feels the need to basically start yelling at us until we acknowledge that it needs something different.

    Honestly, picking up a book about nutrition (food, macronutrients, digestion) was the only tool that helped me understand how to eat best for my body. WW helps me with portions, but it was pure food science that helped me understand how to piece together meals/beverages to fuel my lifestyle. Still always working to understand more though. πŸ™‚

  11. Pingback: The Comeback Kid | Kaitlin With Honey

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