So the first time I go to the gym and do much of anything, I nearly pass out. This is not a good sign.
And this is annoying, since one of the reasons I wanted to start going to the gym was because I figured this near-fainting thing was just due to me being incredibly out of shape. But by this point, I’m thinking there must be more to it than that.
I could rule out a couple theories about feeling faint after exercise: things like dehydration (symptoms were wrong and I’d drank lots), low blood sugar (I’d eaten more than enough), heat exhaustion (it’s not that hot), etc. None of them really matched up.
I’d been poking around and doing research about this for a few months now, since it’s been happening more often lately. The one thing that stood out is I’m always fine when I’m sitting; it’s when I’ve been doing work with my legs and then standing up, that’s when I feel it.
The symptoms are all basically the same as fainting, and you faint when you’re not getting enough blood to the brain. It’s the body’s way to get you to lay down so it can get oxygen to your brain so you don’t die. Very handy.
I figure the muscles, unused to exertion as they are, are taking more than their fair share of oxygen. So the answer is get the muscles more used to exertion.
Even so, there are lots of people who are way more out of shape than I am, and they don’t nearly pass out after a little bit of bike riding.
I went in for a follow-up orientation to finish going through my routine with a different guy. I explain to him the situation, and he is almost ready to turn me away and make me get a doctor’s note before we can proceed. What I’m describing may, after all, be a sign of low blood pressure. He takes my blood pressure, and it’s pretty much okay.
I’d realized something since the first gym trip and decided to bring it up. My caffeine intake was kinda high. Like 5+ cans of Coke (Zero) a day high. We get free pop at work, you see, and since the start of the whole diet thing, I’d been drinking an awful lot of diet pop. And I know diet drinks are bad, and I don’t really like them. As Marion Nestle points out, they’re introduction hasn’t seemed to have a positive impact on obesity at all. But they’re “free”, both in terms of money and effort and calories, which made them too tempting to avoid.
I think I’m going to avoid them now.
When I mentioned the diet Coke thing, he backed off from the doctor’s note idea and explained how caffeine can dilate the blood vessels and how artificial sweeteners are amino acids which require more water to flush out of the system.
I am planning on bringing this stuff up with my doctor, but laying off the pop this week, I’ve been to the gym twice so far with no ill effects. Wednesday I actually pushed it kinda hard, and came out okay. So I’m hoping I’ve got this thing figured out.
I’m planning on going to the gym three times a week. This month is going to be a bit iffy with the number of trips home and back, but I think I can get into a routine which will help me out with stage 3 of the diet…