Why do athletes bonk?

The short answer is that having sex refers to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and simply running out of fuel for the body and brain. When your body stops in the middle of the race, it's called a “catch”. When scientists debate causes, it's called a food fight. Here's everything you need to know.

Often, people associate the word bonk with hitting the wall during resistance events. For endurance athletes, it's a sudden and overwhelming feeling of running out of energy. You were running or riding at what seemed like a manageable pace, and then, apparently, without warning, your legs turned to cement. With heavy legs, a feeling of fatigue all over the body, and sometimes dizziness, you are forced to stop.

Bonking is a common term for functional glycogen depletion, caused by exercise. In other words, it is the condition in which muscles run out of fuel, with profound effects on performance and well-being. Hitting or hitting the wall is reaching a point of exhaustion where you experience a sudden or dramatic reduction in your pace. It is exhaustion of the mind, body and soul.

To see if the brain is to blame for the catch, the scientists had the athletes exercise until they thought they had hit the wall. Recently, interest has increased in the ability to “train the gut” to absorb more carbohydrates during exercise, with reports of some elite athletes eating more than 100 g of carbohydrates per hour. Therefore, it is not surprising that this is a relatively common practice that athletes must perform before making longer and harder efforts. One of the first instances of the term athletic bonk comes from a film produced by British Transport Films in the mid-1950s in which cyclists noticed that if they didn't rest and eat, they would hit each other.

Experimenting with different types of carbohydrates and intake rates is something that most elite athletes spend a decent amount of time on in an attempt to improve at maintaining high energy productions for hours on end. Sarah is also a nutrition consultant and writes the Bucket List Tummy blog, sharing posts on nutrition, healthy family recipes, and running tips. Sarah also owns the Nutrition For Running blog and co-hosts the Nail Your Nutrition podcast, which focuses on evidence-based nutrition advice for athletes. Then came the much more pressing question: did you do the same during a race, when athletes need the glycogen-sparing effects of rapid replenishment.

Dolores Blicker
Dolores Blicker

Devoted foodaholic. Bacon scholar. Hipster-friendly coffee junkie. Friendly social media expert. Total web enthusiast. Professional zombie maven.