Out of Gas

Have you ever run out of gas part way through a workout? I don’t mean that Oh-these-are-really-hard-I-should-stop feeling, which in my case is Cammy-ese for “perfect proof you should do them.” No, I’m talking face first into a wall of overwhelming fatigue. Your body just Will.Not.Move.Anymore.  That ever happen to you? (Please don’t let it be only me.)

Today’s wasn’t an especially pushy workout. A little stretchy, because that’s the whole point, but nothing that should have pushed me over the edge.  Take a peek:

Wednesday Workout

First set:

  • 3×10 Step ups (each leg, obviously) w/40# bar
  • 3×10 BOSU Pushups (<3)
  • 3×8 dumbbell swings (each arm) w/15# weights

60 second rest, followed by second set:

  • 2×5, 1×6 assisted chin ups, 95#
  • 2×5, 1×6 assisted dips, 95#

60 second rest, followed by third set:

  • 3×8 walking lunges, 40# bar
  • 3×10 barbell bicep curls, 30# bar
  • 3×8 incline shoulder presses, 20#

60 second rest, followed by:

  • nothing

I had one set left (jackknife, hamstring curls, and planks), but I was woozy, overheated, and weak as a kitten. I had to sit on the shoulder press bench for a few minutes with my head between my knees (which led to a weird proud moment that I could actually do that) before I could go to the water fountain and then grab my towel.  (Note: Did anyone ask if I was okay? N-O! Not even the trainer who was working nearby with a client!)

Unfortunately, I was closest to the water fountain with tepid water, so I had to make the lonnnng trek across the gym to get cool water for my towel and subsequently, the back of my neck. My plan was to cool down and then complete my workout. I only had the one set left.

Three minutes later I was still sitting there. The workout was as complete as it was going to get.

I’ve had other workouts in which my heart just wasn’t in it, but this was the first time I can remember that the spirit was willing but the flesh said, “I’ve had ENOUGH.” Since I had crossed the 30-minute mark–my minimum daily requirement–I agreed.

As I was cooling down and stretching, I tried to figure out where I’d gone wrong. As I saw it there were three possibilities:

  • Overtraining – Obviously not. :)  I had a rest day Saturday, and my workouts since then haven’t been super strenuous. I’ve been at the END of the workout when my body said, “We’re done,” and that’s the way I like it.
  • Nutrition – I don’t think so, but it’s possible I’ve been a little light on protein lately. I’ve been focusing on healthy foods since Saturday (anti-dote for family reunion carb carnival), so I think I’m pretty good shape there.
  • Water – The more I think about it,  my money is on this one. I don’t work out until about 10:00 a.m., and in this summer heat, I’ve already worked up a sweat at least once by the time I get there. Plus, I don’t use the a/c in my car on the way to the gym (I actually don’t use it much at all) so I’m usually pretty shiny when I arrive at the gym.

I wish I could say I felt all better after a little rest, but that’s not what happened. I’ve been pretty much “done” all day. Not good. So my plan for the next two days is to continue to focus on nutrition and to add in some extra water to compensate for the summer heat. Tomorrow is yard work day, so I’ll be guzzling away during the day. I just need to remember to have an extra glass (or two) Friday morning before I hit the gym again. And maybe add in a couple more sips during the workout, for good measure.

Oh, and I just remembered that I have a little hand-held battery-powered fan that I used to use with the trainers for cooling down between sets! I’ll toss that in my gym bag as well. I don’t care if anyone thinks I’m a wuss or not. I’d rather cool down than pass out, especially if none of them can be bothered to offer assistance to a distressed exerciser.

So what, if anything, am I missing here? Any tips, suggestions, or observations are welcome, along with any of your exerciser-in-distress stories.

17 thoughts on “Out of Gas

    • Ooh, that looks yummy! Thanks, Manuela! (I knew I should have picked up some cilantro at the produce market today!)

  1. I don’t work out like you do, but I occasionally hit the exhaustion wall walking on my treadmill. My sleep (or lack thereof) is a factor.

    I’d bet on the water for you. Sounds like a rehydration effort was definitely in order.

  2. This happens to me sometimes. Occasionally I can narrow it down to lack or protein or water, but sometimes I really don’t know what happens. I just rest a bit or take it easy for the next workout and my mojo comes back.
    .-= Diane Fit to the Finish´s last blog ..Vacation Success =-.

  3. I’ve had that happen before – for me, it was just from being worn from life in general – too much going, going, going, and not enough sleep or rest. Take it easy with the lawn work, okay? Especially in that Memphis heat!

  4. Hi Cammy,

    It certainly sounds as though you had some dehydration.

    Because Mum takes so much medication she runs the risk of dehydration from time to time and it’s quite hard to recognise of you’re not expecting it.

    We keep sachets of electrlytes which dissolve in water and are quite pleasant to drink. If the problem is not dehydration they do no harm and if it is you feel better within minutes of drinking. I would suggest that anyone doing serious exercise in hot weather should keep a sachet handy to pop into their drink of water. If dehydration had been the problem it is common to need an electrolyte boost to recover your normal level of energy.

    I’m a little shocked that a trainer ignored you. They should be trained to recognise dehydration in your climate.

    This web-site has good information. Sorry I don’t know how to turn it into a proper link.

    If it doesn’t work just look up dehydration on Google.

    Hope you get through your next work-out with no problems.
    .-= MargieAnne´s last blog ..I AM MOTIVATED TO DO WELL =-.

  5. lately if that happens to me its allergies BUT before I loved to the great state of georges bush :) it was definitely WATER I NEEDED.

    I sucketh at the water consumption.

  6. Cammie! I’ve missed reading your blog! And thanks for the comment on mine- it helps to hear those reassuring words :)

    As far as your workout, for me I’ve noticed that there are just some days that I don’t have it in me for a number of reasons: I didn’t eat enough before working out, I ate too much before working out, I’m on my period, I didn’t get enough sleep, or my body is just saying “enough!”

    I’ve learned that my body is smarter than me and that I need to listen to it when it’s screaming and take a chill pill :)

  7. Same thing happened to me yesterday. I just ran out of gas. It is nutrition, though. Immediate nutrition, not so much the overall. Sometimes you just need a little more something before a workout. Maybe the carbs were a little too fast digesting, or it just wasn’t enough – particularly in the heat.
    .-= Lori (Finding Radiance)´s last blog ..Strength training move of the week. =-.

  8. Sounds like the consensus is water. I know we need protein for muscles… but I think the carbs help us get through a workout. Don’t they? I know at the beginning of my low-carb diet I really struggled. Now, it is usually more mental for me. Sigh.

  9. Sounds like dehydration but you could have had a dip in your blood sugar…Tag along some peanut butter to your workouts. My sister is hypo-glycemic and a teaspoon of p.b. acts pretty quickly to pick her back up.
    .-= Thearica´s last blog ..Spinach Breakfast =-.

  10. This happened to me once. Almost the same thing. I was going and going, almost to the end, and I started to feel dizzy. I went to drinking fountain to get more water and on the way back I literally thought I might collapse. I literally had to get a mat and lay down on the ground. A trainer brought me juice and fifteen minutes later I was okay but it was scary. I think my body was just spent and I had been pushing it too hard. I couldn’t do anything for the rest of the day. I would say water and some nutrients are the most important. Glad you’re okay!

  11. Hormones???? I just had to since I am having so many probs with the change of life/perimenopause crap!

    I agree, water may be it, meaning dehydration OR have you had adequate potassium in you? That can do it as well as, believe it or not, too little sodium. Many of us hard core workout people may actually limit salt/sodium too much. I know this is a slippery slope to mention here BUT I know somebody that went thru exactly what you did BUT fainted! The doc said it could be that he was limiting his salt intake too much & he is one to take things a bit too far…. I know not you but maybe with the heat & all, you sweated it all out…
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up? =-.

  12. This happened to me yesterday at boot camp, as luck would have it I had a Lara bar with me so took a nibble from that , had some water and finished boot camp. I think it is nutrition, I had been up early and by the time i started boot camp it had been awhile since I’d eaten.

  13. Oh, the hormones could have done it, I wouldn’t have thought about that until reading Jody’s comment.

    Sometimes the body reacts in strange ways and you never can quite figure it out. I’m glad you knew enough was enough and let your body recover.
    .-= Anonymous Fat Girl´s last blog ..One year ago… & other realizations =-.

  14. I’d suggest water and a long nap or a really good night’s sleep. I worked out the other morning and only had a single hard boiled egg and by the time I got home and logged onto the computer my hands were shaking so bad I couldn’t type. I think it’s the first time my blood sugar got so low I HAD to eat something. Wow! Crazy how some things change, huh?

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