Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

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Frimble
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Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Frimble » Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:47 pm UTC

(first post in about 3 years, Hi everyone)

For three years I have been training in a martial art. I recently moved to a different town and attended training at the local club.

The training was much more vigorous than at the club I usually attend and after 30-45 minutes (there was no clock I'm not sure) of almost constant physical training my vision started to go black and my balance was deteriorating. My heart was beating very very fast and was hurting. I felt sick and was dehydrated. After the training I drank almost two liters of fluids over the next two hours and my heart rate was barely not back to normal after this time.

I have two questions for the good people here:

1) Is this bad for me? ie is this likely to cause injury, death or long term health problems?

2) What fluids is it best to drink during and after vigorous training given the amount of fluid I am loosing? eg: pure water, saline solution, glucose solution etc. (including rough concentrations)

Thanks,
Frimble

PS. I eat a healthy diet, walk fast and reasonable distances frequently and train in martial arts 3 hours a week. My leg muscles are well developed (from walking/running) but most of my other muscles are not. I have very little body fat and no health conditions to speak of. There is no history of heart problems in the family.
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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Ulc » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:32 pm UTC

Blacking out is significant, please don't write it off as "unimportant", it is entirely likely to cause long term problems.

First of all, talk with you sifu. Explain that you need 5 minuts of break for water for every 20 min. of training. He (or she) should be perfectly understanding of that. And most likely also capable of saying "I've seen this before, here's how to deal with it".

Next thing, if you're capable of drinking 2 litres of water fast after training, it sounds like your hydration level in general is a bit on the low side. Try to start drinking a litre extra each day of water - at the very least three litres every day.

Unless you're doing really intense workouts for several hours in a row, pure water as liquid serves perfectly well.
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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Frimble » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:43 pm UTC

Thanks,

I didn't drink the water fast. It was in small amounts over 2 hours or so. 3 litres of pure water would be dangerous in its self to my knowlege. Where did you hear that one?
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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Nath » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:40 pm UTC

Sounds like you got dehydrated and hypoxic. This often happens when people suddenly increase the intensity of their training. Used to happen to a lot of people when I grappled in a poorly ventilated basement gym. In the absence of existing health problems (e.g. undiagnosed heart conditions), it's not necessarily harmful, but sudden increases in training can cause other problems such as rhabdomyolysis (a.k.a. Crossfititis). It also makes training less productive, because you can't learn stuff while blacked out.

The fix is not to drink more water during and after training, but to drink before. Hydration takes several hours; for a 7pm training session, I start drinking extra water when I wake up. You probably don't want to drink too much water during training -- just a quick sip now and then to wet your throat. Too much will cause nausea. You can drink as much as you want after training (within reason; a couple of gallons of water will cause water poisoning, which is a whole other thing). I don't add any electrolytes or glucose to this, because I get some food within an hour or so.

Coming in well-hydrated might be all you need to address this problem, but if you still find yourself getting fatigued to the point of being incapacitated, you should dial down the intensity and work your way back up. You'll still need to push yourself hard to adapt quickly, but when you start to hear the voices of departed ancestors, you've pushed a little too hard.

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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Tomlidich » Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:12 pm UTC

yeah, generally blackouts are not normal, even dehydrated or doing strenuous activity. you may want to see an actual doctor about this.

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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Evengeduld » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:48 am UTC

Frimble wrote:The training was much more vigorous than at the club I usually attend

Problem one. your body isn't used to that amount of punishment in a short amount of time. Build up slowely until you can follow the rest of your group and you should be able to complete trainings faster then you think :)

Frimble wrote:and after 30-45 minutes (there was no clock I'm not sure) of almost constant physical training my vision started to go black and my balance was deteriorating.

Great now you know where your baseline limit is. :) unless you completly blacked out then you have a problem. I also had this a few times during the crash weeks on my athletics trainings. This is a good mark to stop training though

Frimble wrote:My heart was beating very very fast and was hurting. I felt sick and was dehydrated. After the training I drank almost two liters of fluids over the next two hours and my heart rate was barely not back to normal after this time.

Problem 2 you were dehydrated. The hearth rate taking long to drop to the normal rates is normal after recovering from a massive blood pressure drop nothing to worry about it is your body protecting you from experiencing the same thing. it is only a problem when it takes more then 3 hours to completely recuperate from the training. (hbpm above 75-80% max)

Frimble wrote:1) Is this bad for me? ie is this likely to cause injury, death or long term health problems?

2) What fluids is it best to drink during and after vigorous training given the amount of fluid I am loosing? eg: pure water, saline solution, glucose solution etc. (including rough concentrations)

1) Bad? Well yes and no. Yes as in if it happens again you have a problem and need to go see a doctor. No as in you just blew yourself up and your body quiet clearly told you it was time to stop.
Will this one event cause injury, death or long term problems? No it will not unless as stated before it happens again.

2) Water is best for short training sessions but if you want something with some taste you can drink the conventional sports drinks.



Solution:
Build up the speed and amount of training you do slowly until you can keep up with the rest of your group. there is no shame in hanging behind the rest of the group in order to protect yourself from hurting yourself :)

On the days of training take a big water bottle (1.5l) to work/school and make sure it is empty by the end of the day. If you can you can also drink green tea instead of water. It adds some taste to the day :mrgreen:

And last but certainly not least!! for each hour of sport you need to drink half a liter of water/fluid to keep up the lost water. If you sweat alot you might need to drink more.
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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Frimble » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:38 am UTC

Thanks folks, I knew that the sudden increase in exercise was the problem but I have a suspicion that the instructor was doing it deliberately. There was only three other people at the training I arrived late and they weren't doing anything like that until I turned up. Then again, maybe they were just waiting for me.

One thing sounds strange to me though. If I drink a 1.5 litres more than usual in the day before training won't that just mean that I need to urinate 1.5 litres more than usual? I didn't think the human body could store up water in advance particularly well.

I was really wandering if it would be dangerous to keep doing that, which you have answered.

I will probably check with a GP anyway just to be sure.
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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Nath » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:28 am UTC

Frimble wrote:One thing sounds strange to me though. If I drink a 1.5 litres more than usual in the day before training won't that just mean that I need to urinate 1.5 litres more than usual? I didn't think the human body could store up water in advance particularly well.

We don't store water indefinitely, but we also don't urinate the moment we drink water. It takes several hours for water in your stomach to get where it needs to, and then make its way to the bladder. A quick Google Scholar search didn't find me any relevant studies, but the anecdotal wisdom is that it takes two hours for the water you drink to start affecting your performance. This means that none of the water you drink in a two hour workout is at all relevant until after the workout has ended (except to prevent discomfort from a dry throat, if you've been breathing hard). I do take a bottle of water to practice, but that's mostly to rehydrate after training.

I'm not sure what the upper end of the window is. Like I said, I start drinking extra water on the same day. Some people recommend starting the day before, at least if you're competing and need to be at your best. A quick search finds recommendations for as much as 48 hours; this seems high to me, but hey, water is cheap and delicious.

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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Tomlidich » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:51 pm UTC

Nath wrote:
Frimble wrote:One thing sounds strange to me though. If I drink a 1.5 litres more than usual in the day before training won't that just mean that I need to urinate 1.5 litres more than usual? I didn't think the human body could store up water in advance particularly well.

We don't store water indefinitely, but we also don't urinate the moment we drink water. It takes several hours for water in your stomach to get where it needs to, and then make its way to the bladder. A quick Google Scholar search didn't find me any relevant studies, but the anecdotal wisdom is that it takes two hours for the water you drink to start affecting your performance. This means that none of the water you drink in a two hour workout is at all relevant until after the workout has ended (except to prevent discomfort from a dry throat, if you've been breathing hard). I do take a bottle of water to practice, but that's mostly to rehydrate after training.

I'm not sure what the upper end of the window is. Like I said, I start drinking extra water on the same day. Some people recommend starting the day before, at least if you're competing and need to be at your best. A quick search finds recommendations for as much as 48 hours; this seems high to me, but hey, water is cheap and delicious.


damnit scottie, your an engineer not a doctor!

sorry i had to.

really, i would suggest seeing an actual MD about this just to be sure there are no issues.

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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Ulc » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:09 pm UTC

Frimble wrote:One thing sounds strange to me though. If I drink a 1.5 litres more than usual in the day before training won't that just mean that I need to urinate 1.5 litres more than usual? I didn't think the human body could store up water in advance particularly well.


Most people in our society walks around with a mild dehydration *all* the time. As a general rule, if your piss have any colour at all, you're dehydrated and need to drink more. Combine this with a lot of sweat during exercise, and starting from a mild case of dehydration very quickly turns into a pretty severe case.

People seriously underestimate the need for water, and sticks to thinking that as long as they don't get dehydration headaches, they aren't dehydrated.

Combined with loading up on water as Nath describes should stand a very good chance of removing the problem entirely.

During days with heavy exercise in the summer, I generally find that I need to get 3-4 litres each day.
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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:24 pm UTC

Ulc wrote:As a general rule, if your piss have any colour at all, you're dehydrated and need to drink more.

That seems a little extreme. Is that true?

I know for example that after a hard cardio workout, I generally have darker urine, which I assume is a combination of upping circulation, needing to offload a lot of metabolic by products, and burning off the not awesome parts in my blood stream.
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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Ulc » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:44 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Ulc wrote:As a general rule, if your piss have any colour at all, you're dehydrated and need to drink more.

That seems a little extreme. Is that true?

I know for example that after a hard cardio workout, I generally have darker urine, which I assume is a combination of upping circulation, needing to offload a lot of metabolic by products, and burning off the not awesome parts in my blood stream.


It's what I've been told by doctors and and physical trainers, they might be wrong of course, but I don't really think so.

http://www.urinecolors.com/dehydration.php

Is a pretty decent chart for it. And yes, when you are done working out, odds are that you're a little dehydrated - same when you wake up, since you've still been sweating in your sleep, but haven't drunk any water in 6+ hours.
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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Tomlidich » Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:13 pm UTC

Ulc wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
Ulc wrote:As a general rule, if your piss have any colour at all, you're dehydrated and need to drink more.

That seems a little extreme. Is that true?

I know for example that after a hard cardio workout, I generally have darker urine, which I assume is a combination of upping circulation, needing to offload a lot of metabolic by products, and burning off the not awesome parts in my blood stream.


It's what I've been told by doctors and and physical trainers, they might be wrong of course, but I don't really think so.

http://www.urinecolors.com/dehydration.php

Is a pretty decent chart for it. And yes, when you are done working out, odds are that you're a little dehydrated - same when you wake up, since you've still been sweating in your sleep, but haven't drunk any water in 6+ hours.


i agree also.
this is what they taught us in scouts, especially when going to higher altitudes, you dry out faster up there and need to drink ALOT of water every day.
it should optimally be clear

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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Shro » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:59 pm UTC

Frimble wrote:my vision started to go black and my balance was deteriorating

Was there a lot of head movement? These symptoms could be the result of your inner ears just not being able to adjust to the quicker changes in orientation, and this causes dizziness, light-headedness, tunnel vision, etc. People forget that part of getting fit is also training your balance.

Things you can do:
Pick a spot to focus on on each wall when you're facing each direction. Direct your attention immediately to that spot.
If you're picking up your head from a below your heart position, do it slowly.

It's called orthostatic hypotension, and surprise! It's made worse by dehyrdation.
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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby Frimble » Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:13 pm UTC

Shro wrote:
Frimble wrote:my vision started to go black and my balance was deteriorating

Was there a lot of head movement? These symptoms could be the result of your inner ears just not being able to adjust to the quicker changes in orientation, and this causes dizziness, light-headedness, tunnel vision, etc. People forget that part of getting fit is also training your balance.

Things you can do:
Pick a spot to focus on on each wall when you're facing each direction. Direct your attention immediately to that spot.
If you're picking up your head from a below your heart position, do it slowly.

It's called orthostatic hypotension, and surprise! It's made worse by dehyrdation.

Yes, head movements are a big part of the martial art. Without exception we move our head every time we block an attack to the head area. We don't move the neck though. The head simply moves laterally and sometimes a little up or down.

However I have been training in this martial art for 3 years and other balance based sports (sailing, fencing) for much longer. I think I would probably have noticed this by now.

PS. I do get dizzy after I have done a lot of breakfalls though.
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Re: Blacking out during exercise, Is this bad?

Postby nightbird » Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:17 pm UTC

This is what happens when you're dehydrated and train really hard. There is (unless you have general health issues) not horrible, it just means you needs to drink more and work on your endurance. It won't kill you. And I may be a bit hardcore saying this, but it does NOT mean you should take it easy, at least from a competitive/ambitious perspective. Do not aim for exhaustion, but don't go crazy if it happens once in a while.
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