I am sure you all have felt like losing the contents of your days food intake at least once during a training session.

The occasion that comes to mind for me, most vividly was during my 3rd year of University, in our Sports Science Prac. class. It was a hot Friday afternoon, around 2pm, and we were learning about the various tests of the Anaerobic energy system.

I had just enjoyed some delicacy prepared by the good folks at the University cafeteria, and was already looking ahead to the weekend.

Being the only cyclist in the class, I was selected to be the guinea pig for the first test, which would become the most physically challenging 30 seconds of my life.

To learn more about the mechanics of this test, you learn about it HERE.

After the test, I literally fell down, threw up and fainted all at the same time. This is a pretty extreme example of how the body often responds to an exercise intensity that is to high for it to tolerate.

You might have experienced this sensation doing a track session, or in a Strength Training session, perhaps in a cycling Criterium race.

The bottom line is that you can only expect your body to perform at the level you have trained it to be able to tolerate. If you are in the Base Conditioning phase of your program, your Anaerobic Capacity will not be near to its potential, and that is fine. Do you remember the Principle of Energy System Specificity?

When you push the body beyond its current its current level of conditioning. there are certain physiological responses that occur.
  1. You move into the Anaerobic energy production pathways a lot faster (due to not yet being highly efficient when it comes to energy production), and the accumulation of Lactic Acid, begins to occur much sooner.
  2. Your respiration rate increases rapidly, which reduces the amount of O2 filling the lungs, and ultimately entering the body. Dizziness sets in.
  3. The muscles that are being called on to work harder, require more blood to be delivered to them, and this blood gets re-routed from non-essential systems (The digestive system), and constriction in the Digestive system causes you to experience nausea.
All these changes that occur leave you feeling:
  • dizzy, light headed and experiencing a head ache.
  • sick to your stomach and, potentially, like throwing up.
  • very tired.
The solution to this is a very simple:

1: Know what your limits are.

If you are getting back into your training program, start slowly. Don't expect to pick up where you left off 9 months ago - because you have lost most of your fitness and conditioning (The Principle of Detraining), and it will take a few weeks to regain it.

2: Be patient.

Unfortunately it takes longer to get into shape than it does to get out of shape, so take your time (Why not just stay in shape year round?).

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at MyPypeline.com, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
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