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bonk vs fatigue

Old 06-25-21, 12:52 PM
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Awesomeguy
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bonk vs fatigue

I'm someone in general whom tends to be prone to low sugar symptoms and can't go fasting and i never can workout on an empty stomach\hunger. I typically eat 3 main meals, and one snack in between, so i end up eating every 3\4 hours (3 meals, and 2 or 3 snacks) and generally hard to go without food for longer . I always generally have to plan my workouts such that they are an hour -90 min after a meal , any longer after, i kind of dont like it and am prone to low sugar feeling.
With that said, couple months ago, i had gone for a run an hour after lunch for about 2 miles, was totally fine, then a couple hours later (maybe 2.5-3 hours since lunch), i went for a ride for about 10 miles and bonked on the 10th mile. It was the worst feeling ever, luckily had a clif bar and got me home, and felt like **** for quite some time after that. Prior to the bike ride and post run i had a light snack , just a banana, but i suppose it wasn't enough.

how do i prevent bonk surest way and how do you tell bonk from fatigue (though surely in the above scenario, i definitely bonked because i had no legs left at all, they felt like jellow and no energy like just weak)?
*also , i'm not diabetic, and generally in good health.

Last edited by Awesomeguy; 06-25-21 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 06-25-21, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Awesomeguy View Post
how do you tell bonk from fatigue
To me, a bonk feels very different from fatigue. I'll go from agitated, to shaky, to nauseated, to woozy, light-headed, and unsteady on my feet.

If I get some nutrition and rest for 15 minutes, I'm good to go again.
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Old 06-25-21, 01:16 PM
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Fatigue is when I can't motivate myself to turn the pedals at a faster rate, have sore muscles, or can't put down a strong effort.

Bonk is when I can't keep the bike going in a straight line, I feel like I am going to pass out, and stopping to take a nap in the ditch seems like a reasonable idea.
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Old 06-25-21, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Awesomeguy View Post
how do i prevent bonk
During a ride, I like Clif Bloks and various energy gels. They get absorbed quickly and they don't fill you up. Bananas and fig newtons are my go-to solid foods. You also might put some electrolyte tablets in one of your water bottles, or even some flat Coca Cola.
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Old 06-25-21, 01:18 PM
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I also run out of gas easily. My guess is your are right that you did not eat enough to recover from your hour-long run and you started off the bike ride in the hole. I know I would be in trouble if I did what you did..
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Old 06-25-21, 01:24 PM
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Bonks, if there really are such a thing are probably when you go so deep into your energy at a very hard effort that you body just can't recover quickly enough when you slack off.

How long do you ride at a time? If over two hours at a moderate pace or better, or you just do one hour rides at an all out effort, then you'll probably benefit a little by putting some carbs in your bottles. And take a swig every 10 minutes or so. Don't make them sickly sweet though. I only put about 100 to 150 Calories in my bottles unless I know I am going to ride extremely hard for a long time.

Also if you are doing long rides, you need to learn what your all day long power is. And you don't need a power meter to do that. It's just a level of effort that you can ride without tiring. When you are at that level your body will be resting so to speak, so it will be ready for the next hill or hard effort.
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Old 06-25-21, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
Fatigue is when I can't motivate myself to turn the pedals at a faster rate, have sore muscles, or can't put down a strong effort.

Bonk is when I can't keep the bike going in a straight line, I feel like I am going to pass out, and stopping to take a nap in the ditch seems like a reasonable idea.
Apparently I am having fatigue and not bonking at the end of rides lol.
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Old 06-25-21, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Bonks, if there really are such a thing are probably when you go so deep into your energy at a very hard effort that you body just can't recover quickly enough when you slack off.

How long do you ride at a time? If over two hours at a moderate pace or better, or you just do one hour rides at an all out effort, then you'll probably benefit a little by putting some carbs in your bottles. And take a swig every 10 minutes or so. Don't make them sickly sweet though. I only put about 100 to 150 Calories in my bottles unless I know I am going to ride extremely hard for a long time.

Also if you are doing long rides, you need to learn what your all day long power is. And you don't need a power meter to do that. It's just a level of effort that you can ride without tiring. When you are at that level your body will be resting so to speak, so it will be ready for the next hill or hard effort.
SO i would say i ate lunch around 1130, ran for like 20 minutes around 12:30pm, then went on a bike ride at 245pm. When i experienced the bonk, i was on the tenth mile and had been riding around 40-45 minutes.

What do you mean you take a swig? after how many minutes of bike riding, do you start to "swig" at 10 minute intervals?
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Old 06-25-21, 01:48 PM
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Do you drink anything while riding? You really need to drink at least water while cycling at anything more than a very easy effort.

Swig is generally less than a gulp Probably about the amount of fluid in the neck of a long neck beer bottle.

I gulp. In fact I take a two or three good gulps and a 24 fl.oz. bottle will last me about 50 minutes in the current hot weather we have here. Though yesterday I did stretch two bottles out long enough to last a 2hr 8 minute ride.

Generally every 10 minutes that I ride, I'm drinking from my bottle. Whether it's water or mix. Usually its mix so I get a steady supply of carbs.
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Old 06-25-21, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Awesomeguy View Post

how do i prevent bonk
.
Train your body to burn fat for energy...Human body has very limited glycogen storage capabilities but enough fat storage to keep supplying energy for hours and hours.
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Old 06-25-21, 01:51 PM
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I could make a few guesses, but I really need more information before I can comment intelligently.

When you say you went for a two mile run, how long did that take? 10 minutes of running or twenty? Also, if you're riding 10 miles in 40-45 minutes, is that steady state on flat ground, intermittent sprints, or charging up some hills along the way? Finally, is this a daily workout schedule for you, or was this a more-than-usual workout day?
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Old 06-25-21, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Train your body to burn fat for energy...Human body has very limited glycogen storage capabilities but enough fat storage to keep supplying energy for hours and hours.
I heard this before but , usually people have to do keto for this, its just not practical for me to do keto, for cultural Reasons and just based on what my family eats ,
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Old 06-25-21, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Train your body to burn fat for energy...Human body has very limited glycogen storage capabilities but enough fat storage to keep supplying energy for hours and hours.
Wow, this is so WRONG.

Bonking is when your glycogen reserves are GONE. The marathon runner guys call this "hitting the wall" and this is a good analogy because when this happens it's close to a hard stop because your body shuts down.

For me it takes about 2 hours of intense riding.

I used to have a regular riding route that was 50 miles and at about the 37 mile point I've bonked several times. Fortunately, there was a store near this point and I would stop buy and grab a coke or two and chug them, which almost immediately restored my energy and allowed me to make it home. Yes, I was an idiot for allowing myself to get to that level but I was just learning about such matters back then. Anyway, there is no amount of "training your body" that can get you through a hard bonk once your glycogen levels are depleted.
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Old 06-25-21, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Awesomeguy View Post
I heard this before but , usually people have to do keto for this, its just not practical for me to do keto, for cultural Reasons and just based on what my family eats ,
Keto is an unhealthy fad diet and whoever told you that you have to do Keto to be a fat burner is 100% wrong...You can eat a normal diet which includes sugar and carbs and still be a fat burner...There is no need to follow dangerous fad diets.
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Old 06-25-21, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Train your body to burn fat for energy...Human body has very limited glycogen storage capabilities but enough fat storage to keep supplying energy for hours and hours.
Exactly.

Originally Posted by Awesomeguy View Post
I heard this before but , usually people have to do keto for this, it’s just not practical for me to do keto, for cultural Reasons and just based on what my family eats ,
See below. Keto dieting puts you into ketosis all day and is difficult. Ketosis during a ride is easy and exactly what we train for.

Originally Posted by Nessism View Post
Wow, this is so WRONG.

Bonking is when your glycogen reserves are GONE. The marathon runner guys call this "hitting the wall" and this is a good analogy because when this happens it's close to a hard stop because your body shuts down.

For me it takes about 2 hours of intense riding.

...Anyway, there is no amount of "training your body" that can get you through a hard bonk once your glycogen levels are depleted.
Right about what bonking; wrong about training.

The enzyme systems for generation and consumption of ketone bodies, and the synthesis of glucose from non-carbohydrate fuels including fats and proteins, are easily inducible by training. This is how trained athletes can train and compete long, long after complete consumption of liver and muscle glycogen stores. All that's required to spin up all that gene transcription is regularly riding past the point of complete glycogen consumption and not stopping for a while or stuffing your face with sugar. If you can't ride 50 miles without eating or bonking, you are not trained for that distance or have some sort of rare genetic defect.

This is not to say that consuming carbs on a long ride isn't helpful for performance. Keto- and gluconeogenesis are inefficient compared to burning carbs and a gel gives an immediate boost for this reason.
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Old 06-25-21, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Awesomeguy View Post
I heard this before but , usually people have to do keto for this, it’s just not practical for me to do keto, for cultural Reasons and just based on what my family eats ,
You don't have to do a keto diet to burn body fat. The more you exercise the more your body will get better at converting fat to energy. No keto diet required.

In fact, probably most of your steady power output energy is from burning fat. That's why I feel like I'm resting when I'm at that all day power output. My energy levels for hard output are being topped off from the carbs I consume via food or drink while riding. But at lowered power output, fat is probably supplying most of the currently used energy.

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Old 06-25-21, 02:27 PM
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I've had 3 instances of a ride where I seemed to have 0 energy, muscles extremely fatigued and an overall feeling like I just can't get enough air - nothing like just being tired with less fuel in the tank on a recovery ride. I have an irregular heart beat and throw out a lot of PVC's, but one of the reasons I exercise as often as I do is that getting my heart rate up seems to stabilize my arrhythmia. If I go several days without exercise I feel "anxious".

This last episode a couple of weeks ago was the worst and after what wasn't a difficult 25 mile ride (on a no drop night) where we were doing 14 ish I had to call for my wife to pick me up as I knew something wasn't right after a small hill climb about 12 miles in, but I was struggling the whole ride. Subsequent rides were fine and I'm back to normal. I was able to move up my annual cardiologist appointment to next week. EDIT - I did go to my PCP the following day and was sent to their Covid "respiratory center" and was able to get a lung X Ray and made them aware of my heart history.

Has anyone ever heard of an allergy causing this type of symptom? I've been looking for external factors hoping my heart condition isn't getting worse. On 2 of the weak days I had mowed grass. I can tell I'm getting more sensitive to grass "dust" in the air both with coughing and scratchy eyes. I wear a mask now but have trouble with goggles fogging over my glasses. The 1st instance I can't remember anything suspicious I had done the day of the struggling ride.

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Old 06-25-21, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Right about what bonking; wrong about training.

The enzyme systems for generation and consumption of ketone bodies, and the synthesis of glucose from non-carbohydrate fuels including fats and proteins, are easily inducible by training. This is how trained athletes can train and compete long, long after complete consumption of liver and muscle glycogen stores. All that's required to spin up all that gene transcription is regularly riding past the point of complete glycogen consumption and not stopping for a while or stuffing your face with sugar. If you can't ride 50 miles without eating or bonking, you are not trained for that distance or have some sort of rare genetic defect.
This is BS. Do you actually ride? It's extremely difficult to ride past the point of glycogen depletion and it's ignorant to say that you can train your body to simply go through that point. And genetic defect? Are you joking?
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Old 06-25-21, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Nessism View Post
This is BS. Do you actually ride? It's extremely difficult to ride past the point of glycogen depletion and it's ignorant to say that you can train your body to simply go through that point. And genetic defect? Are you joking?


You might consider putting the shovel down at this point and doing a liiiiitle reading.
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Old 06-25-21, 03:18 PM
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I can ride all day, day after day, fasted. In fact I'm planning a cross-Canada ride (hopefully 2023) where I expect to ride fasted every day. The challenge will be to able to consume the calories I burn off daily in just one meal. lol

I haven't bonked once since all but completely eliminating carbs. Used to bonk - a thing of the past now. Gladly.

If your liver (and possibly kidneys) works properly it will produce all the glycogen you need as long as there isn't an external source to interfere with the production.

Keto is as much a "fad diet" as cycling is a "fad activity"
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Old 06-25-21, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Bearhawker View Post
I can ride all day, day after day, fasted. In fact I'm planning a cross-Canada ride (hopefully 2023) where I expect to ride fasted every day. The challenge will be to able to consume the calories I burn off daily in just one meal. lol

I haven't bonked once since all but completely eliminating carbs. Used to bonk - a thing of the past now. Gladly.

If your liver (and possibly kidneys) works properly it will produce all the glycogen you need as long as there isn't an external source to interfere with the production.

Keto is as much a "fad diet" as cycling is a "fad activity"
Well, as long as we're on it, under carb-depleted/restricted conditions, the liver and kidney produce glucose (not glycogen) through he process of gluconeogenesis from non-carb biochemical odds and ends. Muscle, however, gets most of its fuel from ketogenesis, whereby the liver (mainly) and other tissues produce "ketone bodies" from fats. The brain can both produce and use ketones too and ketogenic diets have been used for decades to treat various brain disorders, but, unlike muscle, the brain has an absolute requirement for glucose and relies on the gluconeogenesis as the source during carb-depletion.

Oh, and what you're planning is completely nuts, but interesting!
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Old 06-25-21, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
ketogenic diets have been used for decades to treat various brain disorders
That is true. Keto diets have their time and place to treat various disorders such as epilepsy under medical supervision or to produce rapid weight loss in certain individuals...But I wouldn't call Keto a health diet and I don't think it's a good idea to practice Keto diet long term. Keto isn't sustainable long term...For me personally eating carbohydrates hasn't prevented my body from burning fat, so I'll just continue doing what has proven to work for me.
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Old 06-25-21, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
That is true. Keto diets have their time and place to treat various disorders such as epilepsy under medical supervision or to produce rapid weight loss in certain individuals...But I wouldn't call Keto a health diet and I don't think it's a good idea to practice Keto diet long term. Keto isn't sustainable long term...For me personally eating carbohydrates hasn't prevented my body from burning fat, so I'll just continue doing what has proven to work for me.
I cant argue with what you say because I dont know the data, but ketosis does seem to make starvation a lot more bearable and I have seen family members do well long-term with pretty stringent carb restriction. Like youit sounds like, my burn rate keeps me what non-athletes keep saying is a little too skinny, despite an unrestricted diet.
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Old 06-25-21, 04:56 PM
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I have never heard the word bonk used in Australia, the way it is being used here. So this is another lesson on how words are used in other places.

I have only ever heard it used as something you might do with your girlfriend.
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Old 06-25-21, 05:10 PM
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As all that have stated above, a bonk is a whole lot different than being fatigued. The worst I have ever had was 3 years ago on a 35 mile ride. I was riding with a pretty strong friend, into a strong headwind, and I was just not feeling it a short way into the ride. I bonked really bad at about the halfway point. It was early morning but already hot. I had a very difficult ride back home, including nearly crashing and having to stop a couple more times. I was not sure I was going to make it on the bike. I felt terrible the rest of the day. It struck me that night, I remembered I had donated double red blood cells just 5 days before. Not because of that, but I do not do the double red cells anymore.
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